Movement is medicine … coaching in motion
Updated: Dec 11, 2019
The old adage that 'movement is medicine' is usually made in reference to physical wellbeing, especially in terms of cardio-vascular strength. It equally applies to mental wellbeing too of course and this week I joined a 'Wellbeing Walk' organised by the Diocese of Newcastle along the stunning Northumberland coast at Druridge Bay.
The Northumberland coast - coaching in motion
We began the walk in silence which gave us the opportunity to absorb the wide open spaces of sky, sea and beach, drawing upon our senses. We centred ourselves in the here and now and noticed the sound of the roaring waves as they cascaded across the beach; the feel of the chilly sea breeze on our faces; the distinctive seaweed smell of the sea air; and the soft give of sand as we strode out across the dunes.
Emptying our minds of the clutter and focussing on the moment helped restore perspective to our 'rushed' lives and bring us back to ourselves and our spiritual roots. A daily walk like this helps our general wellbeing in so many ways. We are exposed to natural light; we share the moment with others in companionship; we experience a sense of accomplishment at having motivated ourselves to put on our coat and hat and face the elements. In our urban, asphalt and concrete lives, a walk like this reunites us with nature, the great healer; we reconnect with our spiritual selves; we awaken to what is around us and learn to notice again (the pebbles on the beach, the seaweed on the rocks, the lapping of the waves); we return refreshed and feel that we have achieved something and earned that cuppa and mince pie.
Most coaching is conducted indoors and sitting down, but how powerful would it be to feel the double benefit of (a) being coached and (b) doing it outdoors as I did last Monday. We achieve greater clarity by being outside. As part of the service I offer I conduct 'coaching in motion' sessions so if you are interested in this please get in touch. You might also like to try these websites for further information https://www.walkingcoach.co.uk/ and https://coachfederation.org/blog/walking-and-talking-coaching
At the end of Monday's walk we shared the feelings we had experienced. For one member of the group they said that it had served to remind them to look at the bigger picture of our lives and to be less judgemental and ready to jump to unhelpful conclusions, to be more humane, tolerant, understanding and forgiving. Another member of the group talked about the spiritual healing that they had experienced by being exposed to the hugeness of the sky and sea. We can then link the walk if we wish to our journals and reflect on the experience and its impact on us.
Riverside walk along the River Wear from the North Bank looking south to the fish quay.
Following up on Monday's walk I completed a second walk on Wednesday along the north bank of the River Wear beside St Peter's Church, walking initially downstream then returning up stream. It was a cold day and the air was sharp, but the sun was shining and warmed my tired limbs and lifted the frown from my face, working its life giving magic on my mind and my body. A river walk is just as invigorating as a coastal walk and next I'd like to try a woodland walk and then a fellside walk. Each brings its own environmental impact, for some it's the feeling of being liberated in an open space, whilst for others it's the sheltered and safe feeling of being surrounded by trees, protected from the elements, of being secure.
If you would like to know more about the Diocesan Wellbeing initiative then you can follow it up at www.newcastle.anglican.org/counselling-wellbeing/ The website contains helpful materials and advice for all people, not just those involved in the Church.
Anybody looking for help over the Christmas season then hubofhope.co.uk is available to help.