Walking to the camino to reduce stress

Walk the Camino to reduce stress and anxiety

Women struggle with stress today more than ever. Finding the right life-work balance is one of their main challenges. Being conscious of how you feel and finding ways to reduce stress are key to keeping you on track.

Strategies like going out for a walk in nature, disconnecting from technology and social media, reducing the amount of caffeine that you consume per day, and sleeping the recommended number of hours can be very beneficial for you.

Many people are also choosing a different kind of holiday. They opt for a walking holiday to disconnect from technology and daily life issues. They walk the Camino as a way to reconnect with themselves.

Stress and anxiety are some of the main concerns that women have to deal with

“It has never been a better time to be a woman”. However, there are still some important challenges that women have to deal with. Challenges like low-self-esteem, gender bias, being treated unfairly in the workplace, can lead to stress.

Stress and anxiety are some of the main concerns that women (41%) are forced to handle, according to a study conducted by JWT, Female Tribes. Some of the main factors responsible for stress are the ones related to professional pressure, finding the right work-life balance.

Also the everyday struggles of motherhood and the health of loved ones are aspects that can cause stress. Furthermore, finding time to have a healthy relationship with their partner, and last but not least finding time for themselves.

It is important to highlight that every person has their own particular way to react to daily life struggles, depending on their personality.

How to know if you are stressed

There are different symptoms that can help you to be aware of how stressed you are, for example headaches, chest pain, muscle tension, nausea, fatigue. Also when you worry excessively and feel overwhelmed with responsibilities it can be an alert for you to take action and learn how to manage stress.

There are different online tests that can help you to measure how stressed you are.

How to reduce stress and achieve emotional balance

The first step to solve a problem is by recognising that the problem exists. After knowing that you are stressed and / or anxious, you have to take action; modify bad habits and work on your mind-body balance.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends trying some of the following strategies when you’re feeling anxious or stressed:

  • Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.

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  • Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthy, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
  • Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
  • Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health.
  • Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
  • Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
  • Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn’t possible, be proud of however close you get.
  • Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
  • Welcome humour. A good laugh goes a long way.
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
  • Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
  • Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
  • Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help

Get a break from technology and social media to reduce stress

In this day and age, it is difficult to get away from technology because everything revolves around it. It is especially hard to disconnect from social media which is one of the main stress and anxiety boosters.

Almost everything people post on social media seems perfect because it is easy to edit photos and they seem to always just post about great times they are having in life. This sets unrealistic expectations for people and that can easily induce extra stress on our life.

Getting a break from everything that is going on in the world and going on a walk is a great way to stop overthinking.

Walking outdoors to relieve stress

Walking is an inexpensive and easy-to-do exercise, and a very beneficial activity for your mind and body. Several studies confirm how beneficial it can be to relieve stress and anxiety.

Spending time outdoors like in a park or on the Camino can boost endorphins improving energy levels. According to a UK study, when walking, your brain enters into a meditative state, meaning that it holds attention while also allowing for reflection.

If going on a short walk can help to reduce stress and be that good for your brain and body, imagine how good a longer walk can be for you. That’s the reason why more and more people opt to go on a walking holiday. The Camino de Santiago is one of the most popular ways.

Breathe and unwind on the Camino de Santiago

unwind on the camino

Going on the Camino has so many benefits that can boost self-confidence and reduce stress. Some of these include physical and mental benefits, making new friends, disconnecting from technology and connecting with nature.

A lot of the time people overlook a walking holiday because they want to lie on the beach or discover a new city, but they do not realise how amazing it can be. There are nine different routes that anyone can walk with different aspects to all of them. This allows everybody to be able to find the perfect route for whatever they are looking for.

The mental benefits from walking the Camino are even more important than the physical aspects. Mental strength is one of the most important facets of life because it allows us to deal with many situations, like stressful times.

The Camino is a beautiful and fulfilling experience, but it also pushes a person to live by the famous saying from Charles Lyell, “mind over matter.”

The Camino, one of the best medicines for stress

To officially complete the Camino and receive the certificate, a person is required to walk at least 100km. This usually takes about a week to complete, so it requires a person to get ready for this.

It is recommended to train for your Camino by going on hikes in the months leading up to this pilgrimage. This is a perfect opportunity to find an enjoyable hobby to get in shape and feel better about ourselves.

Hiking is a great way to build muscle and lose weight because it burns calories and works out multiple muscle groups. It is also an endorphins booster, which can reduce stress hormones and it produces feel-good endorphins resulting in an improved mood and boost in self-esteem.

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Time for yourself on the Camino

The Camino also gives the opportunity to take a step back from life for meditation. There is always so much going on in society nowadays which creates a constant state of stress.

It is useful to make time for reflection because it allows ourselves to deal with situations in a positive way instead of letting them consume us. If you’re now wondering if it is possible to go on the Camino on your own the answer is yes, you can go on your own. Even though, on the Camino you’re never alone!

Lifetime friends on the Camino

friends on the camino

There are very few situations in life that are more exciting than making a new friend. They always have fun stories to tell and give a sense of relief. Oftentimes on the Camino people make new friends and end up walking each other for part of their journey.

There is a feeling of camaraderie on the Camino. No matter the reason why you are walking, people on the Camino look after and support each other as a family. By walking the Camino you are also joining a new family, you are making lifelong friends.

Walking and making new friends are the best medicine to reduce stress. Socialising, spending time with loved ones and developing strong social bonds can be highly beneficial for you.

People close to you are able to help motivate each other to reach a common goal when someone starts to get tired. The Camino is also a great experience to do with your partner, best friend or family. 

If you want to invest time in yourself and to experience the benefits of walking the Camino, contact us. Our experienced Camino advisors will be very happy to help you design a tailor-made Camino for you.

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