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A free, easy way to add some balance


© Photo by Mary Claire O'Neal

When asked, most people say that taking a break out in nature is a very effective way to bring more balance into a busy life. Time outside, away from activity and technology, can bring more clarity of mind when you are stressed or facing situations beyond your control. Taking a walk in the sunlight, feeling the breeze, and enjoying the beauty around you is very refreshing for the mind and spirit with the added benefit of healthy exercise for the body.

We are fortunate that right in the heart of Lexington is the The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, an ideal place to take a much needed break. It's easily accessible, free and is filled with trails, beauty, and shady places with benches to sit and just be. The trails winding through different landscapes with diversity of plants and trees make repeated visits to The Arboretum varied and interesting. 

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind while taking a break outside to gain more balance:

1. Give yourself enough time so you don't have to hurry. A 40 minute walk is really enough time to refresh the mind and get some good exercise.  If you have the luxury of more time, that's even better!

2. Try to take your walk in silence. Instead of listening to music with earphones (which can draw your attention away from the experience around you), try to focus on the sights and sounds in the environment--the plants and flowers, the wind in the trees, birds chirping, or the rushing of water in a stream or fountain. This will help to keep you in the present moment.

© Photo by Mary Claire O'Neal

3. Have an intent for your walk. Examples of intents can be:  "To bring more balance into my life" or "To give my mind and body a break for pure enjoyment and health." Having an clear intent can help you get the greatest benefit from your break. 

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Mary Claire O'Neal is a communication consultant, coach and author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World:  The Art of Joyful Living.