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Getting some exercise is a step in the right direction, but Baumgartner cautions that you need to be reasonable about what you expect of yourself.
The quiet companionship of the walks made them even more soothing.
But I tell you, for a little while after he passed away, I just couldn’t do that,” she says.
“So I would tell myself, ‘Let’s do five minutes and see how that feels.’ And sometimes, that’s all I did, and then I would turn back while my neighbor continued on. I never felt like I had to do something that I wasn’t capable of doing.” Baumgartner is now living in a different home than the one she shared with her husband, and she has found another neighbor to join her for regular walks.
Over time, Baumgartner says, “I began to see the walks as a time when I could put a moratorium on my grief for 30 minutes a day.” The birds, lizards, trees, flowers and panoramic vistas captured her eye and drew her focus outward.
For a half-hour, she took a much-needed breather from thinking about the terrible void in her life. The friend with whom Baumgartner walked seemed to understand her need for respite.