5 Ways To Get Through Lockdown

We’re all finding the current Covid-19 restrictions tough, and it looks like they may be here for some time to come.

But there are great ways to use your #staywithin5km walks to maintain both positive physical and mental well being. Here are some tips about how to benefit from the nature which surrounds us during our daily walks.

Water lapping on the shores of Lough Talt in south Sligo – photo Steve Rodgers
  1. Take some photos and share these with your friends, family members, walking group or just on social media. You may not be able to walk with these people currently, but you can share some of your favourite spots with them, and look forward to enjoying them in each other’s company again – hopefully before too long.
  2. Listen to the sounds that surround you. Take a few moments to take in the environment, especially in places that are free from traffic noise or other walkers. Although we have been going through a cold snap, nature has been waking up recently, and these sounds – of birds, the breeze in the trees, the sound of water lapping on the shore, can all add a real sense of well being and increase the benefits of walking.
  3. Study the plants around you. Do you know the names of the trees and plants that lie along your walking route? We learned all about these in school, but how many of us have forgotten the names of the trees or how to identify them? Sure, we don’t have the advantage of leaves just yet but there are lots of other telltale ways of identifying them. We’ve noticed buds growing already, so Spring is already approaching, and before long we’ll really be able to enjoy all that greenery. So, google pictures of some tree species you expect to see in your locality – oak, sycamore, beech, etc. and then see if you can spot them.
  4. Use the rest of your senses – we’ll already discussed your sense of hearing and seeing, but what of touch? A calming exercise is to put your hands on the trunk of a tree, rustle some leaves through your fingers, plunge your feet (or your full body) into the water at the beach or lake. You might get a jolt from the cold water if you haven’t been swimming through the Winter, so don’t stay in for long, and there’s plenty of advice out there if you do decide to take the plunge. And be prepared, bring a towel, and clean your hands afterwards if picking items up from the forest floor.
  5. Vary it up. We can’t exceed 5km from home currently, but avoid allowing the route you generally walk from becoming something of a hamster wheel. So find new routes, ring a friend to find out about more options in your locality, and try to keep things as interesting and fresh as you can. As the days get longer, and hopefully the weather improves, we’ll see more and more changes as Spring sets in, giving us all a lift. So open your eyes and ears, nature provides all of the answers!
Listen to the sound of nature at Cairns Hill in Sligo – photo Pat Benson