How a Simple Walk Can Make Your Day Extraordinary

How a Simple Walk Can Make Your Day Extraordinary

mindful walking
© David Marcu/Unsplash

Have you slowed down enough to notice that the weather in Paris has shifted? The mornings are colder and darker. The trees in the parks have started to change colors. It feels harder to wake up early in the morning, especially on the weekends. The idea of getting outdoors on a rainy day might not be your ideal. But what if there was more than just rain waiting for you on your simple walk….

What if being outside could give you that moment for yourself, away from all other distractions, a moment to move gently as you release the stress of the week. An opportunity to slow down from the fast pace we all live in and unplug. Mindful walking in a park can be a great alternative to seated meditation. It has the added benefit of being outdoors, which can be an effective way to decrease stress, improve your mood and allow space for creativity.

Mindful walk in Paris, October 6, 2019. Photo courtesy of author.

Walking in the rain

You might think that staying in under the warm covers would be the natural thing to do on a rainy Sunday morning. This undoubtedly was the case for most people the other Sunday when I woke up to the sight of gray clouds covering the sky and heavy rain pouring down. It was wet… very wet outside.

I was wondering if I would have to cancel the group walk that I had scheduled for that morning. I had received a few last-minute cancellations, which I completely understood given the circumstances. I took a few deep slow breaths and packed the muffins I had prepared the day before, a couple of extra raincoats and a thermos with warm tea. I didn’t know what to expect.

While most people may have stayed indoors that morning, a courageous group of women showed up and made my day. They were already waiting for me when I arrived. The mindful group walk was happening despite de rain! 

“Can you imagine what a rainy Sunday morning would look (and feel like) if you had the energy, motivation and courage to get out of bed and head outdoors to meet other women living in Paris who want to make that ordinary weekend morning extraordinary?”

The session went even better than expected because the rain slowed down and we were able to enjoy our surroundings. After a week that for many of us had been packed with activities and a long “to do” list, being outdoors was the perfect way to have a moment to pause and breathe.

Read more of Tania Del Rio’s advice for happy, healthy and zen living HERE

Photo courtesy of the author.

The magic of a mindful walk

We slowly got into the right mindset of being present, away from the phone, computers, work projects, laundry or any other responsibility. We transitioned from “doing” into “being” while taking a moment to truly appreciate the nature around us.

It is a real treat to be able to be there and watch the park wake up while savoring the quiet and calm. This is an opportunity to connect to the environment in a completely different way.

Early morning, we can actually take time to not only see but to carefully observe the beauty around us. We can learn, little by little, how certain thoughts will take us away from the present moment and we can train the mind to come back to the now. We can learn to replace judgment with curiosity.

It is powerful to learn how to train our attention to be where we want it to be and to keep it there. It is powerful to be able to let go of being self-critical about the past or the fear of the future. We can learn to train our attention to be fully present in this moment.. one breath at a time.

Life doesn’t get better than being outdoors early in the morning in Paris while the rest of the city is still sleeping. The light, the air, the quiet and the calm of the surroundings match the peace and tranquility felt inside.
~ Quote from Happy Healthy & Zen in Paris book 

The rainy weather made Sunday’s event even more magical. After the mindful walk, while we were sitting on the grass appreciating the present moment eating homemade muffins and savoring warm tea, I told the group: This is how we can transform an ordinary Sunday into an extraordinary one. Everyone seemed to agree and we all smiled.

Tania Del Rio Albrechtsen is author of Happy Healthy & Zen in Paris, an easy-to-follow self-care guide filled with ideas, inspiration and resources for your daily life. She is also co-author of the snack recipe book Goûter, A Healthier Twist on Snack Time. Tania is passionate about helping others learn how to make healthier lifestyle choices to reduce stress, increase energy, productivity, and well-being. Based in Paris, she is a certified yoga teacher, an integrative nutrition health coach, a wellness advocate, and a happy mom. In 2012 she founded Wellness in Paris and continuously offers mindful workshops and health programs that support families, professionals and students living in Paris.


  1. I love my adventure walks with my ever ready dog Luna because, neither of us know where my mind or her nose will take us. I allow her to sniff her way to all things curious and new to her and I take her to new surroundings curious and interesting for me. Sometimes we are both rewarded for our simple efforts with beautiful images of life that bring a smile, a chuckle or a appreciative soft glance from her. Anyway it can be liberating from the daily grind and bombardment of issues we have no control over. These walks are even more adventuresome if we jump in the car and go somewhere new and are reminded of how precious life can be. BTW, without dog buddy is cool too!


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