On day 111 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I took a hike while listening to an audio book.
I’m obsessed with reading. It’s one of my favorite forms of entertainment. In fact, I would choose a book over watching TV any day.
I like that books are portable. I can tuck one in my purse just in case I need to fill a few minutes while waiting for an appointment, and reading before bed also helps me settle down after a busy day.
Recently, though, I’ve grown to appreciate the versatility of audio books. Unlike bound books, they allow me to listen on the go, learning something while I’m also working on other tasks, like taking a walk or cleaning.
While it’s true that you cannot be fully present while multi-tasking, I would argue that it depends on what exactly the task is. Ever dial into two conference calls at the same time? I have. (I don’t recommend it.) Ever been on the phone with someone who is clearly distracted by email or social media? Same thing. It’s awful.
You simply can’t focus on two things at once.
Even so, there are many tasks that can be combined quite well, especially when they don’t require your full attention. Yesterday, I took a walk in the afternoon to clear my head, and I decided to bring my audio book along. Exercise? Check. Learning on the go? Check. Being surrounded by nature’s beauty? Check.
As I listened to the words of the narrator, I noticed beautiful spring flowers emerging on the forest floor, I felt the sun warming my body and I gazed at Mount Rainier in the distance. I was the little things going on around me, but nothing required my full attention. That’s what made it so lovely.
I felt rejuvenated afterward. That’s exactly what self-care does for us. My spirit had been fully recharged and my mood was lighter. Ultimately, that 30-minute walk and dose of learning allowed me to be more efficient when I eventually returned to my project.