What ritual can replace smoking weed when I go for a walk?
February 1, 2017 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Almost exactly a year ago, I quit smoking weed. One aspect of my weed habit I find myself missing lately are the winter walks I took every night while coughing on a joint. I miss this ritual so much I seriously considered smoking lemongrass or some other herb. But there must be a healthier option. What ritual can fill that gap, and get me out walking more?
posted by fruitdroid to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Drinking a mug of hot tea?
posted by delight at 5:04 PM on February 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

posted by amtho at 5:06 PM on February 1, 2017 [19 favorites]

posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 5:08 PM on February 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

-Maybe think about what feelings smoking gave you, then before each walk, devise a playlist that evokes those kinds of feelings. Put the list on a music player and as you walk, really soak in the songs.

-Bring a handful of crumbs and feed your local bird friends.

-Challenge yourself to take a set of photos on a theme during each walk.
posted by prewar lemonade at 5:10 PM on February 1, 2017 [4 favorites]

Pick up litter like David Sedaris
posted by oxisos at 5:10 PM on February 1, 2017 [8 favorites]

Lolly pop? But that's probably not great for your teeth.
posted by kitten magic at 5:17 PM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Do you like audiobooks, or have a favorite podcast? Listening to stories while walking is really lovely. If you had a podcast you reserved only for your walks, or a current book you only listened to on your walks, that might be nice.

If you find yourself missing mouth related sensation, you might also want to find something to have in your mouth while you do this, like a cinnamon stick, or be chewing gum while walking.
posted by foxfirefey at 5:19 PM on February 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

A common former (tobacco) smoker thing is a mug of ginger tea. It gives you that bracing throat hit that feels oddly familiar to a former smoker. Bonus: you can make a big ol' jug of it, pop it in the fridge, and heat up just how much you need at a time. Lots of variations on the simple, impossible to bone up recipe out there. I don't usually fuss with anything other than about an inch long piece of ginger boiled for 10-15 minutes in a few cups of water--no sweetener, no mint, no lemon--but those things are nice sometimes. Strain the resulting liquid into a jug and dilute with water to your liking.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 5:22 PM on February 1, 2017 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Congratulations on your year. The integration of weed in everyday activities is one of the things that makes you ache when you give it up.

I suggest mental exercises that approximate some of the cognitive effects that you used to enjoy while weed. I guess that during your weed walks you were more in the moment and more open to sensory impressions.

Spend time looking at the sky, head tilted back. Lift your gaze from the ground before you and look at the treetops before you and to either side. Consciously looking at these things floods you with impressions that can root you to here and now. Listen. Smell. Feel the changes in temperature on your face.
posted by the Real Dan at 5:24 PM on February 1, 2017 [11 favorites]

Blow bubbles?
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:26 PM on February 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Mindful breathing. Maybe take a meditation or yoga class to get a sense of how it feels, then continue your mindful breathing on your walk. I imagine that aside from the effect of the drug itself, there's an element of mindfulness in smoking anything that adds to the ritual and pleasure. Maybe you can learn to notice the breath without needing the smoke to draw your attention to it.
posted by embrangled at 5:47 PM on February 1, 2017 [5 favorites]

posted by zippy at 5:54 PM on February 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

I like to listen to audiobooks and podcasts. It's a much less obnoxious behavior than vaping in public, that's for sure.
posted by My Dad at 6:10 PM on February 1, 2017

Chewing on a cinnamon stick?
posted by soakimbo at 6:11 PM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sounds like you'd prefer to not replace smoke with smoke, but if you're up for it there's a whole bunch of great herbal smoking blends out there these days. Google has a bunch of options right at the top, one of my favorite witchy weed accessory shops carries them (like this one), and your local hippie herb shop will probably stock at least one blend. Many places will sell both the mix by itself and pre-rolled cigs. You can also research up on all the different traditional smokable (non-psychoactive) herbs and play with making your own blend.

My experience with these herbs and blends is as a replacement for tobacco in spliffs, and I love them. I also have smoked them on their own and dig that, too.
posted by wemayfreeze at 6:20 PM on February 1, 2017

Can you clarify why you quit smoking pot? Vaping weed is better than smoking, nonmarijuana smoking alternatives exist, or combine the two and vape nonTHC things?
posted by masquesoporfavor at 7:29 PM on February 1, 2017

The first thing I thought of was a drink. If you're having cravings, maybe one with a straw. When I was trying to quit cigarettes I would sometimes walk to a coffee/tea shop I liked. On the way there I could focus on what I wanted to get and on the way back I could focus on the drink.
posted by Verba Volant at 7:58 PM on February 1, 2017

Chew bubble gum and blow huge bubbles.
posted by AugustWest at 9:01 PM on February 1, 2017

Tea tree toothpicks
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 9:37 PM on February 1, 2017

posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:54 PM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think cultivating an appreciation of walking for its own sake will benefit you over the long term more than finding an accompaniment to walking. So I suggest reading about it (Thoreau and Muir and the nature-lovers but also Thich Nhat Hanh re: walking meditation and walking-related passages in fiction - it could be its own AskMe). Also read up on the biology of walking, how the calves are considered the heart of the lower body because each step acts as a pump to complete your blood's journey through the body. And start exploring how each of your senses experience a walk - how the smells are different on morning walks than evening walks; what sounds you hear, from your own footfalls to that annoying yappy dog (make a game of trying to time your walk to avoid it).

My preference is for walking in the woods and I get bored walking around my city, so I have started a project of discovering and documenting all the places where sidewalks inexplicably end. I am not a disability advocate but it sets off my WTF-meter because my city prides itself on being walkable and healthy and the sidewalks are so unpredictable. So my anger is channeled into something positive and fun because I am on the hunt and walking down new streets and eventually will be able to hand my data off to ... someone.

I find your question surprising because for me and mine, walking is what we do to chill, to clear our heads, to solve problems, to make space for creative ideas. Solvitur ambulando. I strongly recommend trying to find that benefit in it. If you can leave the distractions at home and go out walking with the goal of just walking, you will have an exercise/coping skill/time-killer/creativity incubator/escape mechanism/joy-builder/head-clearer/etc. that you can take advantage of anytime, anywhere for the rest of your life without needing to spend a dime or carry a single thing in your hands, pockets or head.
posted by headnsouth at 6:50 AM on February 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

I pace when I'm on the phone so a natural extension of that has been to call people as I head out the door to take a walk. If no one picks up then I listen to an audiobook instead.
posted by raccoon409 at 6:55 AM on February 2, 2017

Eat an apple?
posted by spraypaint at 11:46 AM on February 2, 2017

Burn an incense stick.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:17 PM on February 2, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers! I'm surprised how much of a response I got. This thread has been really helpful.
posted by fruitdroid at 4:59 PM on February 5, 2017

Response by poster: Turns out the answer was to just walk.
posted by fruitdroid at 10:45 PM on January 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

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