If there is one thing I’ve learned from my dog this past year, it’s the importance of getting outside for a daily walk. I give Wrigley credit for interrupting what easily could have been my downward spiral into a binge-watching sloth.
Whenever I sat down to catch up on current events, his head was immediately on my knee with his eyes pleading to get up and go for a walk.
When I didn’t respond fast enough, he’d pretty much insist by nudging me with his nose and whimpering until I complied. His quarantine lessons were clear, “Walk more, watch less.”
Quarantine lessons: Walk more
Wrigley’s love for action and the great outdoors saved me from the discouraging daily coronavirus briefings and the election year squabbling.
After a walk with Wrigley, I felt lighter, happier, and more centered. There was no doubt that a walk was the better choice over suffering through presidential briefings on the pandemic. And thanks to Wrigley’s wisdom, the walks always won. So as we usher in a new year, which honestly cannot come soon enough, I’m wondering what Wrigley is trying to communicate for 2021?
New Year message: Rely on each other
Based on how much he leans on me, Wrigley’s message for the new year is to rely on each other. Wrigs loves to lean on me and let me know he’s there. When we’re eating dinner, he sits under the table and places his head on my foot, signaling, “I’m here.”
While doing dishes, he leans his whole body into my leg as if to say, “Don’t worry, I got you.” While I’m driving, he rests his torso on my arm, reminding me that I am not alone. Wrigley leans on me because he knows he can; he feels my strength and stability, and I feel his love. We nurture and support each other.
Focus on the new year
In 2021, maybe we can follow Wrigley’s lead and lean on one another. If we do, we could try to better understand and help each other. Imagine heading into the new year knowing someone’s there for you, that someone has your back, and you are not alone. Imagine being that person for someone else, or maybe even two or more people.
Even though we’re isolated at times and socially distanced from one another, we need to remember we are not alone. We are all a part of something larger than ourselves, whether it’s a family, a group of friends, or our community. We all have people we can lean on, and we all know people we can support and walk with – physically and figuratively.
Who will you lean on in 2021? As you ponder that question, be sure to get your shoulders ready for others to lean on you.
As we head into this new year and learn to lean on one another, Wrigley also wants to remind you to turn off your TV and get outside for a walk.
Watching less and walking more feels good while we lean on the ones we love. Thanks for the advice, Wrigs.
Amanda Brebach Barnes is a mental health counselor in private practice in Rhode Island. Amanda is a big proponent of the mind-body connection, specifically using walking meditations and mindfulness to help calm anxious thinking, She practices daily walking mindfulness with her dog, Wrigley, who is her constant companion.