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Mental Fatigue

Carza

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese "August 2016"
#1
Hi all!

My partner and I are starting our Camino a week from tomorrow (leaving from Porto) and after some practice walks, I'm a bit concerned about the mental fatigue of walking for so many hours a day. We did listen to some podcasts and such on some of the practice walks but I didn't know if anyone had some advice about how to pass the time. I understand that many use the time to consider their own personal journey but I noticed that just being in my own head for that long made me feel more tired and moody.

Appreciate all the help,

C
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#2
Ah, yes, for me that is the biggest Camino challenge, even more difficult to deal with than plantar fasciitis.

With some luck you will meet people along the way whose company you enjoy and will converse with them which will prevent your mind from asking "are we there yet?", "look at the map again, surely we have walked 12 km in the last 5 minutes", "get to that tree and then take a break".

Sorry, no tips on how to deal with that. But I would not recommend walking plugged into headphones: you will miss the birds and the frogs, as well as the cyclist zooming by you, sometimes dangerously.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#3
One solution is to wear tight ill fitting shoes. Then you'll have blisters to distract from your 'mental fatigue'.

You won't have a problem unless you've spent your entire life watching Laverne and Shirley or other stupid sitcoms on TV and have become droolingly dependent on such entertainment.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#4
By "mental fatigue" do you mean boredom? Look around you and try to figure out what is happening in your surroundings. If you are walking with someone, you can discuss agricultural practices (even if you know nothing about them), styles of buildings, lives of the animals, habits of fellow pilgrims, what you will eat for dinner, when you can properly take your first cerveza break, or (as @whariwharangi points out) the state of your feet. If you are walking on your own, you can talk to yourself about all of those things!

How long have your practice walks been? I find that as long as I walk over an hour an a half, my state of mind improves. I need that first hour or so to settle my thoughts and deal with life. On practice walks, you have different expectations and are distracted by what you need to do in your regular life when you finish your training walk. On the camino, that attitude changes.

You might consider mixing things up by walking alone for periods, walking with other people for periods, etc. I rarely listen to music but do it occasionally when it is safe to do so and I have a tedious section to get through. Personally, I don't think I'd like to listen to podcasts or books unless they closely related to the culture of the Camino or Spain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
In 2014 - From Gdansk (Poland) to Avignon: Ökumenischer Pilgerweg - Via Regia - Via Mosana - Cluny - Lyon - Valence - Avignon.
In 2016 - From Warsaw to Santiago and Gibraltar.
#5
Long time ago, when I started long distance hiking, mental fatigue was a most difficult thing. Specialy in long straight roads. IHMO the best way to avoid that is singing simple march songs. :) Another, but more difficult method is be calm and starting listing yourself.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
#6
I had not really considered that. I have just always enjoyed walking, feeling the path under my steps, the sun or the breeze on my face, looking at the landscape.
About thoughts....maybe some walkers are more disciplined, but most of the time I am not trying to think about some particular thing. I spontaneously put my mind in a kind of passive mode and let disorganized feelings, random thoughts, and memories (good and not so good) flow freely. My main deliberate thoughts are about practical, immediate things (food, lodgment, restaurants, health, places that I want to visit, etc).
Also, usually the first days I try to walk alone, but after that, I enjoy the moments of “social talk” with other pilgrims. There are people of many nationalities, ages and professions in the Camino. I don’t usually talk with my new (and really, occasional) friends about “profound” topics, but after some days, they become a liked company and we share tips, diners, albergues and paths.
Mental fatigue? Not really. Yes, there are some bad days (I chose the wrong albergue, diner was expensive and not very good, this vague pain in my knee seems to be coming back, the weather is too cold or too hot. etc. But I have learnt to be patient; I know there will always be a new, more interesting day.
It is a very personal thing. Everyone deals with the grind of daily walk in different ways. Some form a group (it is quite easy), some do the Camino as if they were in a kind of athletic contest, or with a religious purpose, or are glued to their gadgets and phones, or stop all the time to smell the flowers or take photos. You will find your way, I hope.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#7
I sing. I pray. I keep an eye out for waymarks and balises. I marvel at the landscape. I wonder at the architecture. I wonder if it is too soon to stop for lunch, or a snack, or a nap. I check the guidebook map.

If you are willing to be in the present moment, and open to what it offers, you will have no trouble. And it is precisely to learn this skill that you undertook pilgrimage, no?
 

Wokabaut_Meri

merely labeled
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPdP - Santiago (April/May 2015)
#8
I love to walk precisely because it gives my head a rest! Walk, Eat, Sleep, Repeat...

It's wonderful that in your preparation you are considering what can be quite a shock and distraction to some people. Don't overthink it though. Once you're on your Way you'll be fine. I bet that after a day or so, once you have the rhythm of foot travel, you'll be so into your journey that you won't have the time to be mentally fatigued. Other types of fatigue I can't vouch for though!

Mental fatigue and boredom can just be head games as well. It's a huge change and undertaking for your grey matter to suddenly find itself on holiday.

Sometimes it depends on what kinds of busyness usually fill a 'typical' day in your pre-Camino life. The space in your head that opens up when you walk can be fatiguing and even frightening at times. For me it's a chance to get re-acquainted with mySelf.

Everyone finds their own method of dealing with this as the Forum members have posted. Music helps, companions help, new landscapes, a different culture... they all help.

At worst, if you find yourself overly mentally fatigued, just rest as you would if you were physically tired. I find though, that it's usually just a distraction and pushing through and on can be quite amazing.

The Camino has a beauty and poetry all its own. It will ease all sorts of tiredness soon enough.

Buen Camino!

Go Well!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#9
Also, if it can help a bit, I find there is a big difference on the psyche when walking on day after day vs walking to point A and then walking back home a while layer. When you are walking a new route all the moments are of discovery, unlike walking in circles in your neighbourhood.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata, Seville to Santiago de Compostella via Astorga, then Finisterre... April and May 2016
#10
I found practice walks quite hard work (never walked more than 24km on a practice walk) but once I started the Camino itself, it was much easier. On average I walked 25-35km/day, my longest day was 48km (I walked the VDLP from Seville to Astorga, then to Santiago and Finisterre, just over 1100km in 40 days).

The mental distance from my life at home, and the ever changing landscape, was fabulous. Try learning to meditate before you go... Whilst I didn't actively try to meditate whilst walking, being in the moment, paying attention to what was happening around me, and at times just walking whilst lost in thought was the greatest gift that the Camino gave me. Learning to meditate helped me to get the most from this. So much time and space to breathe, in a psychological sense, was a wonderful change. Don't think that the practice walks are the same as the Camino. Maybe it was just my experience, but the Camino was so different from other walks I've done, that I don't think you can figure out what it'll be like until you actually do it... Just make the most of being in the moment. I mostly walked by myself, at my own pace (there were a few exceptions to this) and I almost never had my headphones in.

My advice is this: try to go without expectations and live in the moment. Just being able to do a camino is a wonderful gift. Everybody is different and often, the experience you get is the one you need, but until you actually do it, you can't know in advance what you need, and what you want is another thing completely. Just try and make the most of the time you have, whatever that means for you. Enjoy, and try not to worry about what might or might not happen when your on your Camino. There is no way you can predict what your experience will be, and if you could, you'd just be limited by your own imagination...
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#11
Also, if it can help a bit, I find there is a big difference on the psyche when walking on day after day vs walking to point A and then walking back home a while layer. When you are walking a new route all the moments are of discovery, unlike walking in circles in your neighbourhood.
I listen to podcasts on my practice walks because they are rather boring - I'm basically walking the same routes over and over again. I haven't walked the Camino yet, but it seems to me that walking somewhere new and meeting new people to walk with will make all the difference.
 

MichaelB10398

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
#12
Hi all!

My partner and I are starting our Camino a week from tomorrow (leaving from Porto) and after some practice walks, I'm a bit concerned about the mental fatigue of walking for so many hours a day. We did listen to some podcasts and such on some of the practice walks but I didn't know if anyone had some advice about how to pass the time. I understand that many use the time to consider their own personal journey but I noticed that just being in my own head for that long made me feel more tired and moody.

Appreciate all the help,

C
Hello Carza,
Good to hear from you. That is an excellent question. A pilgrimage is done on many levels - some would say that a pilgrimage has as many layers as an onion. There is certainly the physical layer that is demanding and can be problematic for some individuals that either are not in good physical condition or they meet with physical trials along the way.

There is the mental layer, which you are addressing in your question. What to do with all that time "in my own head"? This may not be as much of a problem once you begin in Porto. This Way has been growing in numbers over the past decade and it does not have long stretches where you will be alone. More importantly, there is a lot to observe. Some are better than others at observing the world around them. My wife is one that is challenged to look beyond her immediate path and direction. She is highly goal oriented and focuses on her daily objectives almost to the exclusion of all that is around her. You may be like her and if you are I suggest going slower, study your daily path in advance and then set some goals up to see sites and/or sights along the way. It is hard for me to give advice in this area because I am not challenged in this area. I have only observed my wife as she goes about her way.

Another layer is the spiritual. You have your own spiritual life. A pilgrimage is a great opportunity to lengthen your spiritual stride if you are open to it. It might be worth exploring your own spiritual traditions about pilgrimage for guidance. Suffice it to say that almost every major culture in the world has their own traditions on pilgrimage and we can learn from all of them.

I think you will find when you are on Camino you will not have any problems passing the time. Be open to new experiences; explore; step outside your comfort zone when meeting people and locals.

Keep us updated as you begin walking in Porto. I look forward to hearing from you.

Buen Camino,

Michael
 

hampshire!tim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013), Ingles (2014), Finisterre (2015)
#13
In my experience, mental fatigue sets in from the repetitive cycle, day after day after day, eg SJPdP to SdC. Individual days were not a problem, landscapes, navigation, pace management etc all combining to keep reasonably fresh.

I don't personally like podcasts - they require attention of at least some level which for me distracts from the journey. Music on iPod however was not distracting. Maybe only 1 hr p/day and often not at all.

My guess is that 'practice' is totally different to actually doing it - being immersed in the experience will change your engagement. Just my 2p
 

jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (1994)
Camino Francés (2013 - 2017)
Camino Portugués (2015 - 2017)
#14
Hi all!

My partner and I are starting our Camino a week from tomorrow (leaving from Porto) and after some practice walks, I'm a bit concerned about the mental fatigue of walking for so many hours a day. We did listen to some podcasts and such on some of the practice walks but I didn't know if anyone had some advice about how to pass the time. I understand that many use the time to consider their own personal journey but I noticed that just being in my own head for that long made me feel more tired and moody.

Appreciate all the help,

C
Time with yourself is a blessed thing, and walking alone may be the closest you come to mindfulness without the effort. The time will pass much faster than you expect, the physical fatigue won't. Buen Camino and good luck.
 
Camino(s) past & future
August 2016 - Primitivo
#15
On your practice walks have you just been following you partner if so taking the lead with map and guide book in hand where you have to be alert to you surrounding should help change you mental state. It could just be the choice of practice walks that you have chosen. Have you thought of trying a longer practice walk that includes a couple of night away. It would give you a chance to tune yourself to life on the trail.

From experience mental fatigue is like walking with it ups and downs sometimes you just have to dig deep and find the resolve to keep going.
 
#16
I find that tiny details of the physical environment become are enhanced , engage ones thinking, increase observation. The walking pace heightens awareness , enables (if not full conversations ( which are frequent ) , simple greetings and exchange of smiles with pilgrims and residents alike... Enjoy !
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
#17
Coming to think of it, I have had some experiences that can be attributed to “mental fatigue”. They come (sometimes, not always) when I have walked too many hours (I can do easily up to 8 hours, but in some isolated Caminos albergues are sparse, and stages can be longer), I am alone, weather is turning to bad, and the night is coming (yes, arriving by night in winter has happened to me).
I call that “the last hour despair”. The end of the stage is near, maybe just four or five kms, but the Camino seems to be longer and longer, my legs feel heavy, every step is difficult, and I am not really enjoying the landscape. Yes, I am tired, but it is not a physical thing; it is really a kind of mental fatigue. I walk anyway (what other thing can I do?), try to go a bit faster (adrenaline is good!), remember things that are dear to me, straight up my head and force myself to watch the trees, the fields and the horizon. A bit of chocolate does wonders, also; it is good for the soul. This state of mind goes away when I see the first houses of the village with the albergue, but I have come to recognize it as a part of some journeys.
 
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basquelady

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2013), CF Pamplona to V del Bierzo (2014), Baztanés, then CF (2016), CF Sahagun to SDC (2017)
#18
Also, if it can help a bit, I find there is a big difference on the psyche when walking on day after day vs walking to point A and then walking back home a while layer. When you are walking a new route all the moments are of discovery, unlike walking in circles in your neighbourhood.
Absolutely! I find it can be quite a chore to walk already well-known routes from home and spend time trying to find new variations. On Camino, no problem, because a large part of the fun is walking into the unknown. Even when we walked again, the days were interesting, as we mainly stopped in different towns from the first time.
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo (2018) if all vital signs working
#19
Singing definitely helped me along the Meseta.....sounds strange and perhaps a bit dramatic to say, but an image came to me from ?? I found myself thinking about the days of slavery; how singing must have lightened their souls and made their burdens more bearable.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago May 21 to June 3, 2014
Ponferrada to Santiago September 2015
#20
Carza,
Thank you asking the question. I wonder about the same thing. I plan to walk CF next May.
I have walked parts of the Camino in 2014 and 2015 with friends. There was seldom time "in my own head". The walk next May will be mainly on my own, meeting my husband in Sarria. So I wonder how I will deal on my own. I'm an extrovert and really get my energy from others. And must admit I get bored easily. So in some ways I am looking at the next Camino as something of a discipline and challenge; can I do it?
Times on my last Caminos when I found myself walking alone, I listened to and sang along with my music, prayerd and talked to myself (silently I think LOL). And looked for neat things to photograph. And it was fine and even sometimes good. So I think the next Camino will be fine but I know I will have to seek out fellow walkers while walking and/or for meals to balance my "alone" time.
So good luck and Buen Camino. I hope you update us on your progress.
Diane
PS I hate training walks. My neighbourhood is boring when you walk the same 7 to 10kms everyday. But I was recently in Paris and walked 25kms one day and no less than 15kms the other days and was NEVER bored. Change of scenery does wonders.
 
#21
[QUOTE="Diane Kinney,
I'm an extrovert and really get my energy from others.
[/QUOTE]

IMO, you've hit the nail on the head.
Extroverts easily interact with others/make friends; any monotonous/mentally fatiguing sections can be alleviated by the initiation of a conversation with the next pilgrim one meets, and if there's no response, or limited contact, the extrovert will stride on regardless to the next person along the way and repeat the process.
Being a 100% introvert (not so much shy, as just find it difficult to approach strangers), I have had major problems mentally walking the camino (Frances twice, Ingles x3), and a couple of times have given up and returned home early due to le grand cafard.
However, being an Aquarian, and not learning from past experience, I keep on returning to the camino - it hasn't all been bad, by any means.
The OP is fortunate in having a walking partner - 90% of the battle won already - even if you walk apart for a while, that other person is always there for you at the end of the day, and for me, it's the evening time after walking which is the hardest to bear if alone, especially in crowded albergues where everyone else seems to be part of a (merry) group......
However, OP, you will be fine - there is so much to see and do - everything is new - you won't have the energy or the time for mental fatigue!! Buen camino!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
#22
Hi all!

My partner and I are starting our Camino a week from tomorrow (leaving from Porto) and after some practice walks, I'm a bit concerned about the mental fatigue of walking for so many hours a day. We did listen to some podcasts and such on some of the practice walks but I didn't know if anyone had some advice about how to pass the time. I understand that many use the time to consider their own personal journey but I noticed that just being in my own head for that long made me feel more tired and moody.

Appreciate all the help,

C
I will probably get trounced for saying this but I could not walk from jpdp to Santiago without my little I pod. I listen to it mainly in the early morning and the beaty music really give me a spring in my step. The iPod does not stop me saying hello to everyone I meet(and I do mean everyone!) if they reciprocate and want to chat then it's switched off. In fact my husband often wonders how we get anywhere with all the chatting but he is a patient man. It's never on at the cafes or in the evening. For me the music helps me appreciate the joy of life. At this stage of my life I'm happy in my own skin and don't need to think too many deep thoughts. People walk the camino for different reasons . Some will need that time for contemplation and others will need a lot of company. everyone is different and "what suits the goose may not always suit the gander" whatever way you walk. Buen camino. Annette
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#23
it's the evening time after walking which is the hardest to bear if alone, especially in crowded albergues where everyone else seems to be part of a (merry) group......
This is so true.

All you extroverts out there:

Lesson 21 (Villarente): if there is a single pilgrim in the albergue, ask him/her if he/she would like to join you when you go out for the evening.

Jill
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#24
Singing definitely helped me along the Meseta.....sounds strange and perhaps a bit dramatic to say, but an image came to me from ?? I found myself thinking about the days of slavery; how singing must have lightened their souls and made their burdens more bearable.
YIKES! Slavery is not the way I think of the Meseta in anyway, shape or form. Your Meseta is not my Meseta. My Meseta is the most peaceful and loving place on Earth.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#25
There is nothing more than the fatigue of reading posts about fatigue. Yes, we walk for 20km+ or bike for 60km+ each day. We get blisters and we get tired, we eat great meals and not so great meals. We sleep in great place and not so great place. We walk in the rain, the heat, the snow and yet we, most of us, make it to Santiago. I have never once considered "mental fatigue" because the Camino is the most "mind blowing" experience I have ever done in my life.
Added later I should have said with out a cellphone and music buds stuck in my ears!
 
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Carol06

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (May 2012)
Frances (May 2015) all going well and with my husband this time.
#26
I have to admit that I was surprised by the theme of this post. Mental fatigue just never occurred to me and was not something I experienced at all. I was just so caught up in the moment, whether it be admiring the scenery, the wild flowers, or dreading the hill that was coming up or managing a sore knee. Every moment was different and boredom never even crossed my mind. Maybe I am one of the lucky ones. We have been home for three weeks now. And now I AM bored.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#27
There is nothing more than the fatigue of reading posts about fatigue. Yes, we walk for 20km+ or bike for 60km+ each day. We get blisters and we get tired, we eat great meals and not so great meals. We sleep in great place and not so great place. We walk in the rain, the heat, the snow and yet we, most of us, make it to Santiago. I have never once considered "mental fatigue" because the Camino is the most "mind blowing" experience I have ever done in my life.
Added later I should have said with out a cellphone and music buds stuck in my ears!
Couldn't have put it better.
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo (2018) if all vital signs working
#28
YIKES! Slavery is not the way I think of the Meseta in anyway, shape or form. Your Meseta is not my Meseta. My Meseta is the most peaceful and loving place on Earth.
I'm putting this out here and hope Moderators are okay with it. I did receive another similar response to yours Don so wish to share this with others what I wrote to another member. They were quite troubled and in hindsight, I can understand why. But please take a moment to read this. Again, to all I wasn't making a comparison; I was simply sharing the experience of an image that came to me uninvited. There could never ever be a comparison, so again…next time, better sense will prevail…here's my quote:

(unnamed), honestly I did struggle with this, but I was giving an honest moment by moment of what I experienced. While I was singing, that image literally came into my head. I didn't invite it... so I tried to state it as best I could. Now thinking about it, perhaps better sense should have prevailed. In no way, did I ever mean make a comparison; there couldn't possibly be one. I know that, believe me. So let me make a personal apology to you and will respond in kind to any other posts that reacted as you did. I appreciate that you reported it. I have the highest respect and admiration for moderators. Even met one face to face at our Camino event here in Victoria last week. Again I regret that I was the cause of your angst. I will do better. Maggie
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#29
I have never felt bored on any Camino except when I was walking with someone who was a bit 'whiny'. So if you or your partner are feeling a bit negative, walk on your own that day and meet up at your accommodation. It's a good idea to walk separately, or with a person you just met, some days in any case, for the variety. I have heard so many fascinating stories you would not believe.

When you walk on your own, all kinds of wider thoughts will come to you, like people have said: big human issues like slavery (I think of it because the chestnuts are supposed to have been brought to Spain by the Romans to feed the mine slaves), depopulation, emigration, inequality, birth, death, old age, whatever. Also your own past will sometimes crop up. All this is normal.

My method is to speak to everyone, be observant of everything. I am lucky to speak Spanish and it makes a huge difference, so if you have time, learn a few words of Spanish. But I wouldn't advise 'hiding' in headphones. Camino is a multi sensory experience.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
#30
I think the "danger" is in the absence of all the distractors we normally encounter. For me, still working, it is the million little things from business needs to the job itself to even studying and learning to become a better professional.
Take all those hours , minutes, seconds, away and I am left in my head. In the past, hikes needed to be one way cause a return trip would would allow thise thoughts to creep in. My training this year had been in the process.
My approach to this up coming Camino is to let it be a walking meditation. To let the irritation of the snorer pass through. To let the uncertainty of the bed ahead to unfold. To be in the present and not even tomorrow.
Studies on PTSD have shown that being fully present is critical. And even listening to a radio while driving puts a level of distraction that takes one out of the present. So while those with PTSD are reminded to feel the car seat behind them, the firmess and texture of the steering wheel under their hands, the noise of the tires. I hope to stay present by the sounds around me. The squeak of the hip belt or the jangle of the shell. The murmurs of voices in languages i can't understand. The crunch of gravel under my foot. For me, an iPod or music stream would take me one step further away.
IMHO Nanc
 
Camino(s) past & future
August 2016 - Primitivo
#31
There are two types of boredom. One is when walking it does not engage you the very act of walking leaves you bored. The other is mental fatigue which can be described like depression. I love walking being connected to nature, discovering what around the next corner. Walking 50km in Holland a few years ago I remember a stretch that seemed to go on forever. With no end in sight a baking sun the km's seemed drag by slowly the act of putting one foot in front was a struggle, even with other people around me I could not find a connection with them. Eventually I reached the next rest area. A long rest and food I restarted the walking as if it had never happened. When mental fatigue happens it can be sole destroying you just have to keep going till it lifts.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#32
I don't think we need to get snitchy with each other. I usually love living inside my head on the Camino - although truth to tell there is often not a lot happening up there. But my husband gets bored witless and he really appreciates an iPod and some music.
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some, and with luck, some more.
#33
Mental fatigue? I guess that would be the same as boredom huh?

I can't recall ever being bored whilst walking to be honest. Tired, hot, thirsty, hungry and wet and cold at times certainly.

If I ever get bored I'll resort to counting my teeth with my tongue, which will without doubt become less time-consuming as the years roll on:rolleyes:.

In extreme cases I will fall-back on my emergency plan and count my noseo_O.

Buen(activity-filled) Camino
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#34
Count your steps! Know how many paces equal a kilometer. Count them. Tell yourself "another kilometer behind me." Repeat.

I have two takeaways from headphones. The pilgrim does not want to talk. The pilgrim has not accepted the monkey chatter inside his head, and needs to keep walking. Modern restaurants in the USA are designed for high volume. It eliminates the uncomfortable silence between people or inside one's head. Headphones/ear buds have the same purpose. They avoid that uncomfortable silence. If you are a Seinfeld fan, perhaps you recall the episode when Elaine and Puddy are on a plane. Puddy just stares at the seat ahead, reconciled to his surroundings. It drives Elaine crazy, and she breaks up with him on the spot!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#35
I walk alone a lot, and generally prefer to do so. For many years, I have walked in the Canadian Rockies alone. I often recite out loud, long narrative poems that I learned in school. I can get really into this. Sometimes I repeat the poem several times. I don't know if I do this for entertainment, because I am bored. I do find the poems entertaining, like watching an old movie which you like. I didn't do this on camino last fall. I didn't decide not to. It just didn't occur to me. I suppose that the sense of being called to pilgrimage may have been part of it. Things were happening; things were going to happen. I didn't want to miss them because I was watching an old movie. I just took things as they came. I don't remember being bored, but that would be okay too, just part of whatever was happening. Just as coming to an end of my tolerance for boredom could be something interesting happening. I guess I was like a disciple without a guru: the route itself was my guru, and I took in what it gave me with great interest. Buen camino to all.
 
#36
I was bored on the Camino. Most definitely. The Meseta comes to mind - it was great for the first few days and then it was pretty much just a long slog with the occasional item of interest. The wide open countryside was great with wildflowers and the green fields, but there was just so darned much of it. It got really monotonous. I remember getting really excited to find a DIFFERENT wildflower than the ones we'd been seeing. My husband and I walked together and we talked about all sorts of things, but there is only so much talking you can do. There was a lot of silence and being in our own heads. Sometimes that was good too, but it did make me moody and tired at times. And sometimes I was just completely and utterly tired of walking. But, I was in the middle of nowhere, so there wasn't really any other option but to keep going! I don't have any advice for dealing with the boredom, other than to just keep going. I'm used to hiking at home without talking much, just being in my own head, and I really enjoy it, but that's a few hours here and there, not hours on end every single day. We'd walk with others occasionally - it was always great to talk to others while we were walking, but we're short, so we'd have to really increase our pace to walk with most others for any length of time. Its hard to walk trying to keep up with someone, so we'd drop back and walk by ourselves after a bit.

I think its wonderful for those who never got bored on the Camino. For the rest of us, maybe being bored and just dealing with it is part of the learning process.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#37
I think its wonderful for those who never got bored on the Camino. For the rest of us, maybe being bored and just dealing with it is part of the learning process.
Three :); two Gold Stars and, a Buen Camino amiga!!

Stop thinking about your feet; stop thinking about how far it is; stop thinking about cold beer, hot soup, showers, beds, snorers, sock brands or bootlace patterns. Stop thinking about the suffering or the glory. Stop thinking about what he said / she said or whether you should have said it. Stop thinking. And enjoy the revelation...
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#39
Hi all!

My partner and I are starting our Camino a week from tomorrow (leaving from Porto) and after some practice walks, I'm a bit concerned about the mental fatigue of walking for so many hours a day. We did listen to some podcasts and such on some of the practice walks but I didn't know if anyone had some advice about how to pass the time. I understand that many use the time to consider their own personal journey but I noticed that just being in my own head for that long made me feel more tired and moody.

Appreciate all the help,

C
Hi,

I didn't listen to anything on my first Caminos, out of principle. I told myself I would consider my own personal journey instead.

After four years, I was tired of considering my own personal journey each day. And since then I've listened to music - or the radio, not to be forgotten - every day on the Camino. Not all the time, but surely more than 50 % of a day's walk.

And by the way, I realized that having something in my ears doesn't prevent me from thinking about myself or about the world around me! I can let my thoughts drift away even if I'm listening to something, and I can still admire the landscape. So for me, breaking the taboo (my own taboo) about listening to things on a Camino changed my journey to the better!

/BP
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#40
... I'm a bit concerned about the mental fatigue of walking for so many hours a day. We did listen to some podcasts and such on some of the practice walks but I didn't know if anyone had some advice about how to pass the time. I understand that many use the time to consider their own personal journey but I noticed that just being in my own head for that long made me feel more tired and moody. ...
The curiosity about what exciting adventure is waiting just behind the next bend of the road helps ;-)
buen Camino, SY
 

Mailo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy- France- SdC (1998)
San Sebastián- SdC (2014)
Leon- Oviedo (2015)
#42
Hi all!

My partner and I are starting our Camino a week from tomorrow (leaving from Porto) and after some practice walks, I'm a bit concerned about the mental fatigue of walking for so many hours a day. We did listen to some podcasts and such on some of the practice walks but I didn't know if anyone had some advice about how to pass the time. I understand that many use the time to consider their own personal journey but I noticed that just being in my own head for that long made me feel more tired and moody.

Appreciate all the help,

C
Interesting question. I never thought of the possibility of getting mentally bored during a long walk. 'My head gets empty' almost instantly and that is what I really enjoy + of course the nature, historical sites, food, wine, the physical exercise and the mixture of people you meet. Doing the same thing every day: walking, sleeping, eating- with a few essentials in a back pack- in my experience- brings me closer to the things that do really matter in my life- and creates a sense of freedom. A rather fulfilling experience- the opposite of boredom in fact. Sorry if this perhaps sounds all cliche and boring :). I also think that walking a just one day or a few days, or weeks or months, is mentally quite a different. Would not overthink it, just go, trust and see what comes, hope you will enjoy it- let us know how it goes. Buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
#43
I agree with those that say you shouldn't really be bored. But I identify with those that were. It didn't happen often (usually with that long stretch of white gravel that seems to go on forever in front of you).

After a few times, the obvious thought occurred to me (in one of those duh moments) that the person I passed or who passed me was probably having the same thought).

Just strike up a conversation with the next person you see. If they don't want talk they'll tell you. If there is no one around try talking to the pilgrim whose 500 year old footsteps you're walking in.

I did take my iPhone and about 5000 songs with me on the walk and never listened to any of them. Didn't see that coming at all.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portuguese [April 2016]
Via de la Plata/Sanabres [March, April 2017]
#44
I'm putting this out here and hope Moderators are okay with it. I did receive another similar response to yours Don so wish to share this with others what I wrote to another member. They were quite troubled and in hindsight, I can understand why. But please take a moment to read this. Again, to all I wasn't making a comparison; I was simply sharing the experience of an image that came to me uninvited. There could never ever be a comparison, so again…next time, better sense will prevail…here's my quote:

(unnamed), honestly I did struggle with this, but I was giving an honest moment by moment of what I experienced. While I was singing, that image literally came into my head. I didn't invite it... so I tried to state it as best I could. Now thinking about it, perhaps better sense should have prevailed. In no way, did I ever mean make a comparison; there couldn't possibly be one. I know that, believe me. So let me make a personal apology to you and will respond in kind to any other posts that reacted as you did. I appreciate that you reported it. I have the highest respect and admiration for moderators. Even met one face to face at our Camino event here in Victoria last week. Again I regret that I was the cause of your angst. I will do better. Maggie
Why should you regret your post? You were doing the right thing, which is thinking about an important thing. Slavery is abominable. Absolutely. And when you think about the way people tried to live through a life like that--very good. More people should do this. It could keep your mind busy for a long time. Apparently some people think this to be politically incorrect. It is not. Thank you for mentioning it. But do no apologize. Please. It has been a very dark time for some people, so why should we not think about it and try to learn something out of it.
Bom caminho
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
#45
Why should you regret your post? You were doing the right thing, which is thinking about an important thing. Slavery is abominable. Absolutely. And when you think about the way people tried to live through a life like that--very good. More people should do this. It could keep your mind busy for a long time. Apparently some people think this to be politically incorrect. It is not. Thank you for mentioning it. But do no apologize. Please. It has been a very dark time for some people, so why should we not think about it and try to learn something out of it.
Bom caminho
I agree totally, and was going to say something similar, then saw your post. Well said.

Davey
 
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago May 21 to June 3, 2014
Ponferrada to Santiago September 2015
#46
YIKES! Slavery is not the way I think of the Meseta in anyway, shape or form. Your Meseta is not my Meseta. My Meseta is the most peaceful and loving place on Earth.
I think the point being made was singing lightens a situation one finds challenging and as we are all different, what one finds challenging, another finds peaceful. Thank goodness the Camino allows us all to celebrate those differences.
 

tony young

Ulysses ... mostly lost
Camino(s) past & future
september 2016;
#47
... mindfulness practices would have us doing a 'walking meditation' .... conditioning our mind to be 'in the physical moment' ... a unique moment in our existence. Short periods of this tends to refresh me when i come out of my focus, and extend my interest to what is around me, and the mind moves on ..... never fails.
Plenty of books on it ...
 

smj6

Siempre hay que ver el positivo
Camino(s) past & future
Oct/Nov 2016 (Via Podensis/ Frances)
Oct 2018 (Via Francigena stage)
#48
Our daily lives are so full of information and input, that many of us are uncomfortable if we're not receiving constant stimulation (smartphones are a major culprit!).
Walking the Camino is a fantastic opportunity to learn to meditate or to get better at it if you already do meditate. At first, your mind jumps all over the place and it's difficult to slow your thoughts down. Be aware of your surroundings and aware of your body (hopefully not painful feet!), especially your breathing, and try to let yourself relax - even though you're still walking - and stay in the 'now' moment (i.e. don't think ahead).
Buen Camino, Suzanne :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
July 2016
#49
Hi all!

My partner and I are starting our Camino a week from tomorrow (leaving from Porto) and after some practice walks, I'm a bit concerned about the mental fatigue of walking for so many hours a day. We did listen to some podcasts and such on some of the practice walks but I didn't know if anyone had some advice about how to pass the time. I understand that many use the time to consider their own personal journey but I noticed that just being in my own head for that long made me feel more tired and moody.

Appreciate all the help,

C
Hi
Im just back from my first Camino, from Sarria.
Just savour your surroundings, its all about getting away from everything and just being.
Enjoy the freedom of just walking and if you watch the countdown pillars you will feel you are making progress.
Its not the destination but the journey.
Mary
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#50
I was never bored, there were always so many things to see and hear...Anyone remember the scene in The Way when Tom --edit, sorrry, JACK (from Ireland!) meets the other three pilgrims, and is pondering the significance of a dog fight at a cheese farm...I doubt you will be bored (and hope you are not)...and if so there's been a lot of good advice. I practice meditation, so walking in the moment is pleasant for me. I also practiced my Spanish, looking up words for something I may have stumbled over the night before...since you and your beloved are walking together, you can have real Spanish conversation practice (unless you are fluent, in which case I'm jealous :)). I think it will sort itself out and you will be surprised at how the time passes.

My first marathon, my coach (a sub-3 hour guy) was injured so announced he would just "run" with me instead (at a planned 5-5.5 hour snail pace). It was fun the first few hours, and he was like a private tour guide, pointing out landmarks and telling me what was going to be coming up (and pulling on the back of my shirt to keep me from going too fast:rolleyes: a rookie error). Then, around mile 16, he looked at his watch and announced with alarm that he'd never still been on his feet at this point in a race (as opposed to being back in the hotel and showered already). He questioned whether his mind could take being on the course for 2 more hours. So at mile 21, when I saw a starbucks, I pulled him off the course and bought us both Venti Lattes (which made him REALLY go crazy but he stopped talking about how long we'd been running).
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#51
Yah, no, sorry @smallestsparrow. For me the whole Camino is a mental struggle. Depending on who I meet, who I come across. Bit when on mûy own or with company that is not my cup of tea, it is a struggle. But that is the C., that is why who should not expect C.2 to ne like C.1.

I feel every !&@ step, keep asking myself "when will I get there?". And when I do, shower, do laundry and rest for a bit, I start wondering why I couldn't walk on. How quickly one forgets the pain, pain that will come back in a flash.

I discovered the reason behind "stop and smell the flowers" on the C., but every step is still a stuggle. But I still go back every year for 3 weeks... Or 6% of every year. That has got to mean love, at least of some kind ;0).
 

Annie Little

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept-Oct 2016
#52
It's called " walking meditation " .... Yes there really is such a thing :)....
Once in the zone it is very uplifting, makes one feel light hearted , free and forget the head talk .... I am sooooo looking forward to that ..... At the airport now :D..... Can't wait to let all that occupies my mind fall along the way :cool:.....

Anne
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#53
Ooooh, the problem with my walking medication, oops, meditation, is that I end up walking super slowly, and would make it to Santiago in 42 weeks and not days. Nice practice around home though...
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#54
Yah, no, sorry @smallestsparrow. For me the whole Camino is a mental struggle. Depending on who I meet, who I come across. Bit when on mûy own or with company that is not my cup of tea, it is a struggle. But that is the C., that is why who should not expect C.2 to ne like C.1.

I feel every !&@ step, keep asking myself "when will I get there?". And when I do, shower, do laundry and rest for a bit, I start wondering why I couldn't walk on. How quickly one forgets the pain, pain that will come back in a flash.

I discovered the reason behind "stop and smell the flowers" on the C., but every step is still a stuggle. But I still go back every year for 3 weeks... Or 6% of every year. That has got to mean love, at least of some kind ;0).
You are clearly an extrovert :) If I was walking in the moment, then the place where I was walking was exactly where I was supposed to be, the place where I stopped was the right place, and the people I encountered, the right people (THAT is the hardest for me). and luckily for me, once my twisted ankle felt better by Pamplona, the steps never hurt...bodily needs (pain, bathroom, etc) definitely trumps most other things.

and, like Jack (from Ireland!) I invested way too much time pondering significanceo_O...look at all those rocks, just piled up over there at the edge of this field...who did that, why, does it mean something??? Having now cleared a half acre to put in a back garden, i know yes, it means something...it means there were a lot of rocks in that area someone cleared, and they had to be stacked somewhere...I'm also easily entertained :D
 

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