Self-Care Challenge (Day 311): Raking Leaves

Large leaf Maple leaves in the fall

On day 311 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I raked leaves.

Raking leaves (or any form of yard work, for that matter) has become my substitute for meditation – a practice that I’ve not been able to completely fall in love with yet. I’m never quite sure what I’m supposed to be doing while I sit in silence with my legs folded beneath me.

I’ve read Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book, Wherever You Go, There You Are (Amazon Associate Link), and I’ve even taken some classes devoted to the practice, but it’s never felt natural to me. And I know I’m not the only one who struggles with finding a groove; it’s a pretty common point of frustration for newbies.

In the meantime, I’m exploring activities that are similar. Yesterday, raking leaves was my 311th experimental self-care practice.

At the entrance to our driveway, we have a large maple tree. Its leaves are enormous (some could probably wrap around my head completely), and in the fall, it drops its gigantic leaves like a confetti machine, completely covering the driveway. I learned the hard way during our first year here that when the heavy rains and cold temperatures collide, the driveway becomes a sheet of ice (and sliding down my driveway is not how I like to start the morning).

So, this year I decided to clear the driveway in advance to prevent it from happening again. Yesterday morning I hit the gym early, and when I returned home I noticed how thick and soggy the driveway was from the layers of leaves that had been slowly gathering there. Feeling properly energized after my workout, I decided to get the job done between rain showers.

In the 20 minutes it took me to rake the leaves out of the driveway and spread them beneath the trees on either side, my mood had lightened significantly, not to mention that I had accumulated a few more minutes of physical activity in the process. Not too shabby when my primary purpose had simply been to minimize the likelihood of the driveway becoming a slip-n-slide in the wintry weeks to come.

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