Mondays are stressful days for me. All my classes this semester are on M/W/F, and on Monday afternoons, after I've taught all my classes, I also meet with a graduate student who's doing an Independent study with me (in Women's Lit & feminist literary theory, which I'm so excited about and enjoying thoroughly). Then, after we finish discussing the novel or essays of the week and she leaves for her next class, I have office hours until five, which I try to use as productively as possible.
Don't get me wrong. I love my job. It's just that by the end of the day, Mondays especially, I'm usually so wound up that it's hard to turn myself off. My mind just can't stop feeling like there's something I should be doing. It keeps running in circles.
So, last Monday I had an idea. After I got home, I put on my walking shoes and decided to go for a nice walk before I started supper, or washed a load of clothes, or did anything else that resembled more work. I resisted walking down the road in front of our house because that's where I run most every morning, and I didn't want this to feel like exercise. I wanted it to be relaxing.
"I've got it!" I thought. Our house is surrounded by pasture, and behind the pasture are some woods. We had them logged a couple of years ago, and my husband has been slowly clearing trails through the woods, beautiful winding paths that look like tunnels through the trees, decorated with fallen logs, misshapen mushrooms, mossy stumps. "That's it! Exactly what I need," I decided.
So I spent a little time walking through the fallen leaves, listening to the wind blowing through the tree tops, not worrying about time, or pace, or aerobic intensity. I watched the squirrels scamper, saw a rabbit or two, kept my eyes open for deer, although I didn't see any. I was just winding down, living in the moment. Practicing intentionality, I thought.
Only I didn't intend to get poison ivy on my left ankle and chigger bites in various places on my lower extremities. I mean, I had on long pants, thick cotton socks, and sturdy walking shoes.
I guess relaxing walks in the woods will have to wait until after the first frost. Any "unwinding" suggestions til then?