I love being barefoot.
There are so many benefits of walking barefoot, it has become a life style for me.
People look though. Yes they do! And they comment.. Oh yes.
I’m not sure what to think of that. Some times I laugh, some times I cry. But I’m ALL IN!
One of my funniest memories growing up in South Africa, was our yard full of thorns. My sister and I would step in these little buggers and trust me, they hurt. But we’d pull them out and toss them right next to us … to step in them again. We were so used to it, and there’s no way to fight them. Really, they’re just too many.
Growing up in South Africa children were encouraged to go to school barefoot. At least the younger ones. It made life much easier for teachers and children. When we moved to The Netherlands things changed a little. I would still chuck my shoes as often as possible, but the Dutch are a bit different when it comes to being barefoot ;-). And the cold winters were not my thing.
But now we’re back in South Africa. I’ve decided to go barefoot completely, which means I go barefoot to the mall, to work and to church. I’ve been without shoes for almost 2 years now and I’m absolutely loving it. To be honest, I cheated a little in winter time… it’s freezing in the mornings. This year I promise I’ll do better.
How I started barefoot living
I’m a nature girl. I love the outdoors, camping, hiking and running. I need to be connected, or I’ll go crazy. The ADHD in me needs space and vitamin N to survive ;-).
Two years ago I was overwhelmed with work and our fast pace of life. We kept running from meeting to meeting, teaching, workshops and lots of screen time doing websites and media. I wanted to slow my life down. One way to do that for me was to create a Life Journal. The other was to go barefoot.
Going barefoot slowed me down. Literally! I had to watch where I walked and the feel of earth doesn’t go unnoticed. Becoming more mindful is one of the best things that happened to me. I got more focus on projects and discovered new things about myself.
While trying the barefoot-thing out I found myself more relaxed, less stressed and I seriously have not been sick in the past two years. Not sure if that’s attributed to barefoot living, but I love to believe so.
The benefits of barefoot living:
- Free massage – stimulating the nerves at the bottom of your foot by walking on different grounds, which increases your blood circulation and helps release stress.
- Slowing down – where you can just GO with shoes on, you need to pay attention to where you’re walking when you’re barefoot. It made me more mindful.
- Strong foot muscles – which makes you move easier.
- Improved posture – shoes in general are lifted at the heel. It changes your gait and causes many people to have lower back problems
- Better immune system – studies show that because of the stimulation of the nerves, inflammation and pain reduces, your blood pressure lowers and other healing processes in your body get stimulated.
- Connected with nature – literally! It’s therapeutic.
5 Easy steps to start walking barefoot
If you are one of those people that cannot walk without shoes, start easy!
- Start with 5 minutes a day… outside
- If possible take an off-road, sandy path, rocky road, forrest lane – but the side walk will do as well.
- Go slow
- Smile at your neighbours 😉
It really only takes five minutes a day at first. Notice how it makes you feel.
If you are already more used to walking barefoot inside the house, go for a longer walk. Try different surfaces and play with the feeling of massaging your feet.
Is it safe to walk barefoot?
One of the questions I get asked the most is if it’s not dangerous to walk barefoot. I completely get the question ;-). In my 2 years of being barefoot I stepped only once in a small piece of glass. That was actually last week. I had to drop something off at the office and there was glass in the road. Saw it too late :-).
But you’ll get dirty feet… Isn’t that gross in your house?
You know what… shoes get dirty too. And I know that for that reason some cultures don’t wear shoes in their home. I get that. But here everyone is walking with their shoes in and out, and guess what, they never wash them. At least I give my feet a nice scrub every night.
Don’t you get calluses on your feet?
Euhm… yes, you do. Your soles become a bit harder. But my feet look much better than when I was wearing shoes. Thick socks and boots are not ventilating enough, which makes my feet look worse.
What will people say?
Social pressure is a mean beast. It has been quite a journey for me to go barefoot. People talk a lot and many won’t understand ;-). But it has helped me decide to live out what I value most. Still not easy though. Especially when you are in an environment that expects you to wear shoes. Be strong!
What if it is too hot, or too cold?
This week we clocked 100 F / 38 C here in Worcester. It was hot! But you get used to that. I envision myself walking over hot coals, shouting Tjakka! I can do this. Personally I’m more concerned about the upcoming winter :p. But it really is a matter of small steps…
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