Late afternoons, let’s be honest, we are all tired.
After a long work week on zoom, taking children to doctor’s appointments, early morning and late evening meetings, completing personal to do list items, the last thing I wanted to do was get a good workout. With the rain pitter pattering on the window panes, I was ready to settle in with a nice cup of coffee, turn on my beloved Hallmark movies, and wash away the stress of the week.
But then, I heard. . . “I am ready, I got my jacket, my boots, and my umbrella!”
Oh no, I thought to myself.
I had promised my daughter the last three days in a row, that we would go for an afternoon hike to our favorite hillside lookout point. Each day, something had come up and I would have to make an excuse and tell her why we had to postpone again.
She was ready, with all of her armor to brace the storm ahead and determined to find some snow on the ridge. I quickly said, “Just give me ten minutes. I need to prep for dinner.”
Secretly, I was hoping that the rain would continue and maybe we could wait until tomorrow. I was just so tired from the week.
The ten minutes passed and she promptly said, “Okay, are you ready? I have everything packed.”
Simultaneously, there was a loud crack of thunder right outside our house. Hannah, my other daughter, promptly had ten reasons why it was unsafe to go on a walk in a storm and was quickly trying to convince us to stay home so she could play her Minecraft.
I watched the Chess moves of each family member. EACH one of us had our own angle of what we wanted to achieve from that Friday afternoon.
“Alright let’s do it,” said Scott. “Pack up, let’s go to the hills.”
As we drove up to the trail head, the rain persisted, Hannah’s reasons for why we shouldn’t walk in a rainstorm persisted, and Rebecca’s counter reasons why this was a good idea persisted.
When we began the hike, it was a bit cold, it was a bit wet, and it was a bit muddy, but as we continued, all of a sudden the skies started to lift, so to speak. We all got into a rhythm, we suddenly had our mood change from dark and dreary, to a bit of sunshine and lightheartedness. We paused to watch the small divots on the trail where waterways had formed and picked up random leaves. I was able to admire the plants that are so near to spring blossoms and Scott was able to connect with the Woods. . . He had been so busy all week completing a large customer order, that his time had been spent in the workshop into the late hours of the night.
About thirty minutes into the hike, I looked at my daughter who was leaping across the puddles, refusing to wear a hat so she could soak up the rain, and I just said “Thank you for your persistence. None of us would have decided to go for a hike in the rain this afternoon but we are all in such a better mood now.”
I have always jokingly said that I have two daughters with distinct personalities. I have one who I go to “When I need compliments and need a pep talk.”
I have one who I go to “When I need the truth and an honest opinion.”
On that Friday afternoon, it was Rebecca who gave us a shot of honesty. We were all tired, we were all grumpy, and we needed to get out of our environment.
When we got to the lookout point, the rain had stopped, the mixture of clouds and snow on the mountaintops was beyond breathtaking. I felt so invigorated.
So, where is this going? Well, I have found that the amount of time I spend on the computer these days definitely outweighs the time I am outside soaking up negative ions. When I was little, my dad and mom would whisk us away to the beach and tell us we needed a good dose of negative ions to cure any ailment.
I decided to research what the health benefits are from these ions. When I did a quick search, I found that “Negative ions are molecules floating in the air or atmosphere that have been charged with electricity. Negative ions exist in nature in tons of places, including: ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun.”
However, the perks of negative ions was what I really wanted to research. I read a few different synopses and I found webmd.com was the most straightforward. When negative ions “reach our bloodstream, [they] are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.”
So, this seems pretty simple. Get outside, exercise, go to nature spots and fill yourself up with all of these great ions!
Three months after our New Years Resolutions, We know that our exercise routines might be faltering. Life gets in the way, stress gets in the way, work gets in the way. I decided instead of beating myself up about the fact that I used to run half marathons pre-Pandemic and workout 4 days a week at the gym, I am going to make micro goals for my exercise routines. We have all had to adjust to new work and home environments.
My exercise routine is no longer the 5 am workouts that I used to do. I have had to change them to late afternoon “sprint” exercises. I also am trying my hardest to make the weekends a time that I get out to local trails and hike. I might not have the endurance to run 13.1 miles right now but I do have the endurance to just clear my mind so I can be more focused in my daily life. Whatever exercise you enjoy, I have found that the most important part of it is to be outside and do it. I have stared at my 4 walls in my house for a Long time this year, and that change of scenery, negative ion boost, is exactly what my body is needing!
So, persistence goes a long way. As we get older, that desire deep within us seems to sometimes falter more quickly when we were young. Don’t let that flame burn out. Like my daughter showed me on that wet, rainy afternoon, if you keep your focus, you will see the sunshine through the rain clouds.