In our world with a fast paced modern lifestyle, we find ourselves caught up in the relentless rhythm of a fast-paced life. From bustling cities to high-speed internet connections, everything seems to move at an accelerated pace. We rush from one task to another, constantly juggling multiple responsibilities and deadlines. The constant demands of work, social commitments, and personal aspirations leave us little time for reflection and self-care. In the midst of this frenetic pace, we often forget the importance of slowing down, taking a breath, and reconnecting with ourselves and the world around us.
The consequences of this relentless pursuit of productivity and achievement are far-reaching. Our mental and physical well-being suffers as stress and burnout become all too common. Our relationships become strained as we struggle to find quality time for our loved ones. We miss out on the simple joys of life—sunsets, laughter, and meaningful conversations. The art of savoring the present moment slips through our fingers as we constantly chase after the next milestone. It is essential to recognize the importance of slowing down, reclaiming our time, and cultivating a sense of balance in order to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.
In this article, we will remind you to slow down and enjoy life this World Sauntering Day!
What is Sauntering?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines sauntering as ‘to walk in a slow and relaxed manner, often in no particular direction.’ Remember those aimless walks you’ve done in parks or malls? Yes, that’s sauntering. Those nights you went out for a midnight walk without really having a plan on where to go? Yes, sauntering.
This June 19 marks the celebration of World Sauntering Day. This international holiday was first formed by W.T. Rabe in 1979. According to Days of the Year, it is Rabe’s ‘response to the sworn enemy of the Saunter, jogging.’ The idea is believed to have started at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan, USA, which happens to have the world’s largest porch– 660 feet or 200 meters.
Rabe conceived the holiday to encourage people to stop and appreciate the world around them. Days of the Year adds that ‘in 2002, Rabe’s son told journalists, ‘Sauntering, as my father would say, is going from point X to point Z, which means you don’t care where you’re going, how you’re going or when you might get there.’
Fun Things to Do During World Sauntering Day
We’ve listed down fun things for you to celebrate world sauntering day!
Take a leisurely stroll in nature
Find a nearby park, garden, or nature trail and go for a relaxing walk amidst the beauty of the natural world. Take your time to appreciate the sights, sounds, and smells around you.
Explore a new neighborhood
Saunter through a neighborhood or town that you haven’t explored before. Wander through its streets, observe the architecture, browse local shops, and discover hidden gems along the way.
Practice mindful walking
Instead of rushing from one place to another, practice mindful walking. Focus your attention on each step, the sensation of your feet touching the ground, and the rhythm of your breath. Engage all your senses and fully immerse yourself in the experience.
Capture moments with photography
Bring your camera or smartphone along and use it as a tool for mindful observation. Take your time to capture interesting details, unique perspectives, or beautiful scenery that catches your eye. This allows you to fully appreciate and document the moments you encounter.
Enjoy a picnic in a scenic spot
Pack a delicious lunch or snacks and find a picturesque location to enjoy a leisurely picnic or a quick lunch break. Whether it’s a park, a beach, or a peaceful garden, take your time to savor the food, relax, and soak in the surroundings.
Engage in slow, mindful activities
Use this day to engage in activities that encourage a slow and deliberate pace, such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation. These practices can help center your mind, relax your body, and bring a sense of calmness and balance to your day without all the rush.
Connect with others
Sauntering can be a shared experience. Invite a friend, family member, or loved one to join you for a leisurely walk or explore a new area together. Use this time to engage in meaningful conversations and strengthen your bond with them.
Disconnect from technology
Dedicate this day to disconnecting from the constant buzz of technology. Put your phone on silent or in airplane mode, resist the urge to check emails or social media, and allow yourself to fully immerse in the present moment without distractions.
What are the Benefits of Sauntering?
Walking slowly to admire the environment around you provides lots of benefits to your physical health and can improve your mental health. Here are some of the benefits of taking a leisure stroll, according to experts:
Sauntering provides a much-needed break from the fast-paced, stressful nature of our daily lives. It allows us to slow down, relax, and unwind, reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of calmness.
Mindfulness and Presence
By sauntering, we cultivate mindfulness and presence. We become more aware of our surroundings, savoring the present moment and appreciating the small details that often go unnoticed in our hurried routines.
Slow walking, according to Dr. Sonal Anand, a psychiatrist at Wockhardt Hospital Mira Road in India, helps burn calories in the body without putting too much strain on the knees and legs. It is a motivating and enjoyable exercise that can be appreciated by people from all ages and walks of life (pun intended).
These gentle activities like walking and strolling contribute greatly to improve our cardiovascular health, increase our mobility and enhance our overall fitness.
Mental Clarity and Creativity
A lot of thoughts and worry filling your head lately? Why don’t you go out for a couple minutes of walk? Sauntering provides an opportunity for introspection, reflection, and mental rejuvenation.
Similarly, if you are having a writer’s block or artblock, take a break for a couple of minutes and head outside. According to Cano Health, walking is a physical activity that ‘can help you clear your mind and trigger new ideas.’ It allows our minds to wander and opens up space for creative thinking, problem-solving, and generating new ideas.
Connection with Nature
Sauntering in natural environments, such as parks, open spaces, or along the beach, connects us with the beauty and tranquility of the natural world. It has been shown to reduce stress, increase feelings of well-being, and foster a sense of connection to our environment.
Sauntering with friends, family, or loved ones promotes social interaction and deeper connections. It encourages meaningful conversations, shared experiences, and the opportunity to strengthen relationships.
Improved Productivity and Focus
Taking regular breaks for sauntering can actually enhance productivity. Stepping away from work or daily tasks and allowing our minds to rest and rejuvenate can improve focus, attention, and overall cognitive function when we return to our responsibilities.
Joy and Appreciation
Sauntering brings a sense of joy, wonder, and appreciation for the simple pleasures of life. It allows us to slow down and experience the beauty, sounds, and smells of our surroundings, leading to a greater sense of gratitude and contentment.