I read Austin Kleon’s Keep Going: 10 Rules for Staying Creative in Good Times and Bad for the third time this year. It’s that good. Kleon is one of my favorite writers and bloggers. When I discovered him earlier last year, I read his blog all the way back to 2012 and devoured four of his books. I couldn’t get enough of his timeless advice. His work is terrific and inspiring.
I came across the quote, demons hate fresh air, in Keep Going and it has stuck with me ever since: “No matter what time you get out of bed, go for a walk and then work, [Ingmar Bergman] would say, because the demons hate it when you get out of bed, demons hate fresh air.“
My husband and I discovered the beauty of going for long walks and enjoying fresh air during one desperate day in quarantine. Who else remembers those long dark days of endless Netflix shows and excessive drinking in quarantine? That fateful day, we went for what we taught would be a short walk with our dog. A few blocks in, my husband asked if we should start walking back home. I wanted to keep going. We kept on walking, one block after another. We had a lot of fun.
For the rest of quarantine, we spent most of our days going on long walks, covering 4 to 8 miles each time. We discovered neighborhoods, downtown areas, parks, restaurants, shops, etc. It was a great adventure. Not only did those long walks made our time in quarantine enjoyable, but we got in the habit of going on long walks. It is now our most cherished and favorite way to spend time together.
Going outside, enjoying a long walk, and immersing my senses in nature is the best way I have found to deal with negative moods and general lethargy. It is what keeps me going. A walk in nature is an antithesis to the blues. Besides going for leisure walks, I try to incorporate walks into my daily routine.
Get your partner, or a friend, or a sibling, and go for a walk around your neighborhood. Talk about what you like about the things you notice around you. Leave your phone behind. As Henry David Thoreau reminds us, “it is a great art to saunter!”
Incorporate walking into your daily commute. If you take public transportation, get off a stop or two before your destination, or park your car a block or two away, and walk the rest of the way. Ignore your phone. Whatever works for you, find a way to incorporate daily walks into your routine, because the demons hate it when you go outside.
The demons hate fresh air.
Until next time,
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