I’ve linked a post for this intention which I think sums it up nicely.
2. Broaden my outdoor activity repertoire
I’d like to try XC skiing, snowshoe running, and downhill skiing (as a snowboarder this should be rather interesting!).
3. Write more simple posts
Posts like “take up space“. Just my thoughts. Flowing words. Not paragraphs per say. Just me writing.
4. Create mental space daily
Setting aside a few minutes each day to just sit and breathe and see where my mind wants to wander. Other tools for creating more mental space could be yoga, meditation apps, going for a walk in the woods near my house.
5. Practice enthusiasm
I feel much better when I’m enthusiastic in general about most everything that comprises my daily existence. I lose this a little bit in the winter months because it’s cold and dark, but now is when I need it most. So, I’m putting the intention out there into space to focus my energy on being enthusiastic throughout my days.
“Just simple days. Simple days of laughing lots and breathing deep and loving with my whole heart and feeling that love back. That’s all I’m really looking for now.” – S.C. Lourie
I’m super giddy today. You might ask… why? Still on my nature high from mountain frolicking Saturday with Lawn and Hiker Dad. Also, super looking forward to adventuring again this coming week.
Prior to hiking Mt. Pierce last Sunday, it had been just over three weeks since I visited the mountains. Much, much, too long. That said, it was mostly okay by me as I was enjoying the weather still deciding to be fall here on the Seacoast. But having hiked 1-2 times per week from May-September, the larger than usual gap felt strange. Not bad strange, just off, out of the ordinary. I’m explaining this so that I can tell you guys – it feels really great to go twice within a week – Pierce Sunday and Cabot Saturday.
I’ve been a little out of my groove. I think I’ve actually been super in my groove, but not used to this, so it therefore feels out of groove.
My life will be substantially changing within the next year. I’ve gone from feeling absolutely terrified and uncertain, trying to meticulously plan every bit of this out, to just letting go and growing in. By growing in, I mean growing into myself… my being… my aspirations and goals I have for my life and my being. Don’t get me wrong – I’m scared/unsure/uncertain. I mean, my childhood home will be sold in 7-10 months, I will be moving, I finish school in under 3 months, I’m undertaking a journey of starting my own business to wellness/health coach around eating disorder remission/women’s health/misophonia, and I’m trying to navigate all of this while staying on path with my own personal shit sandwich management. But despite all of this, I feel oddly good. It all feels right. I’m terrified but not concerned? I mean I’m slightly concerned I will be living in my Subaru come next Fall but like… things could be worse.
The two hikes in one week helped me feel back in groove. Mountain time is the best use of my time I’ve found for both personal wellbeing and also personal growth in the sense that it allows me a great deal of space and time to just be (well… just walk) with my thoughts. It teaches me what I’m drawn to most, what things catch my attention and draw it in like no other, and to be one with the process. While definitely out of my comfort zone as I ponder the next moves for my life, I’m beginning to realize there is a difference, a big difference, between being out of groove and being out of my comfort zone.
SO, of course I must actually tell you about this lovely hike.
Mt. Cabot via Bunnell Notch Trail – 9.4 miles (of snowy bliss)
I hiked Cabot back in late August via the Northern trailhead taking Unknown Pond Trail, and that particular hike was #45 for completing the NH 48 4000 footers. I find this amusing because Carrigain was #44 and I have also since repeated that mountain. It’s almost as if I’m trying to reverse my order for round 2. Not really, but I’m definitely ready for some peaks that it’s been a while since I’ve hiked!
This hike, most likely given my feeling out of groove aka out of my comfort zone, felt particularly challenging. Not only from the physical aspect – snowshoeing is HARD work people. My legs were substantially more tired after this hike than after the almost 20 mile Bond hike in early September… yeah. But also mental – between being up early, not loving being in snowshoes for the whole hike, my feet deciding to take close to 2 miles for me to actually feel them, gaiters getting wet through (Lawn has the same ones and hers did too… we need new ones!), being overly in my head about life lately – I found myself just wanting to call it quits and stop and take a nap. That didn’t happen.
I kept going. Walking. Step after step. At one point just before reaching the Cabot Cabin I employed my friend Amy’s tactic of internally counting steps. I literally counted to 200 steps and then took a quick breather and kept going. I didn’t tell Lawn or Hiker Dad what I was doing, but this really helped me to just work with the process. On 99% of hikes I can just go no problem, without question or hesitation or reassessment but this one in particular was different. I definitely attribute this to all of the recent and upcoming changes and an overactive head space.
Once we reached the Cabin my brain space and mental clarity underwent a shift for the positive. I felt a lot better for the remainder of the day. First off, I was nice and toasty which is always helpful. But mainly, I had the time to process what I was feeling, to work through it all. Those previous 200 step increments did more than just physically move me up the mountain, they allowed me to focus on ONLY the steps, nothing more, nothing less. I just walked. And counted. I walked and I counted.
There is something truly magical about thinking only about the present moment – nothing in the past, future, or even thoughts per se. Just thinking about what action(s) your currently undertaking. In these moments I was hiking. I knew I had two great hiking pals, that the trail was broken out, that I was safe, that I’m healthy, and that I had the necessary experience for the day – those were my facts. I knew these facts, trusted them, and kept on walking. I kept walking away from fear and doubt and into understanding more about what I was feeling and more importantly why I felt the way I did at the start of the hike.
This hike may have been one of the more challenging ones to date. Not out of miles, elevation gain, or weather even – but because it challenged me from many angles I’m not used to experiencing when hiking. For these reasons, it’s now one of my favorites. Don’t get me wrong, I dig hikes that go super well, where I am in a total flow state (and are in the summer)… but the ones that push me past mental and physical comfort zones – those are the best of hikes.
Per usual with recent hikes, I’ve been asking my hiking partners to quickly recap the day – Lawns thoughts of our trek up Mt. Cabot:
“Good call on bringing the snowshoes.
Bad call on wearing gaiters that weren’t waterproofed.
FIRST SUMMIT WITH SARDOGG.”
“One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.” ― Ziad K. Abdelnou
Hi all! As promised I’m back with a post between the spring semester ending and summer classes beginning. I literally cannot believe another semester is done. It feels like just yesterday I was frantically deciding whether to change my major from Neuroscience –> psychology or outdoor education and last minute sneaking my way into classes.
The decision was made and I’m good with it. While I’m extremely interested in a outdoor education, having a solid background in outdoor adventure groups and communities growing up it’s something that I’m really passionate about. On the other hand, it isn’t something that I felt like I wanted to major in “enough” to put myself in a position of taking that many more classes. The way I see it is, if that is the direction my life is meant to go it will happen regardless and psychology is also a great background to have for the field of outdoor ed/adventure therapy.
One year left, one year left. I keep telling myself this on repeat and it helps. It’s not that I’m “bad” at school. I’m for the bulk of my college career a straight A student minus the period I attempted balancing school + work + treatment. Rather, it doesn’t feel right. I enjoy learning, I love it and feed off of it. Increasing my knowledge base and understanding of both the material I’m studying and the world in general makes me feel grounded. However, sitting in a class full of other students with numerous stimuli and distractions doesn’t jive well with my brain. I can rarely focus and while that was okay the past two semesters, I’ve been apprehensive about the upcoming school year. So I’m doing something about that and choosing to be proactive and supportive of my needs rather than just being in la-la land and pretending I’m a perfectly productive student in the classroom.
. Four FULLY ONLINE summer classes. There is the money honey. I honestly dig online classes, I feel that I’m able to grasp the material equally as well if not better than in-class lecture format because I’m not wasting time sitting in classes unfocused and angsty only to go home to teach myself everything I supposedly just learned in class. I feel very uneasy in classes/on campus which fascinates me because it’s only been like this throughout my time at my current university. It could be the school (size), it could be that my mental health is in a different place now than before and I tend to actually feel my feelings, not feeling like I fit in AT ALL, a combination, or none of the above.
Life is said to be this balancing act – a see-saw if you will. I agree with this, there are good days and bad days, days of growth where you thrive and break down walls, then there are days when the going gets tough and honestly I think the best way to manage these days is being able to take care of yourself. Life isn’t giving in or giving up. It’s not hiding from the world or holding yourself back. It’s owning up to yourself, being present, and showing up in the world.
As I mentioned in a couple posts back when discussing the process of overcoming an injury, “count your rainbows not your thunderstorms.” – Alyssa Knight
In addition to this, I think it’s being capable of accepting and honoring where you are at now, which may be an entirely different place than a month ago, a year ago, or two months in the future. As human beings we constantly are growing, evolving, and increasing our depth of understanding – having the mental flexibility to allow this and accept/be okay with it is HUGELY IMPORTANT.
I am not where I though I would be at 23, almost 24 years old and that is okay. There is no universal law saying that I need to be doing X or have accomplished Y by the time I’m 24. These are my own self-imposed guidelines/goals/expectations. They are the feelings that strip enjoyment out of life. The feelings of being a failure because I decided that I don’t want what I once thought I did, or wondering why I’m unable to roll with the punches the way society expects me too.
I’m not abnormal. Heck, what even is normal?! I’m working with who I am to develop the best version of me.
There are days where I have to take a step back from everything and just try to enjoy the little things. Focusing on small stuff helps keep the big stuff more manageable. In the past year I’ve come a ways in terms of being able to recognize when I need to do this instead of keeping pushing through which inevitably leads to either becoming burnt out and/or increased anxiety/panic attacks.
SO what have I been up to in my week off from school? A whole lot of nothing. I’ve worked pretty minimally, enjoyed the sunshine and warm temps, spent time with friends, and given myself space to prepare for the hefty load of classes in my near future (tomorrow!).
I think that while I still deal with anxiety on a regular basis I’m much more accepting of it and I understand it better than I ever have. Taking time to just be and really pursue the things which light my soul on fire have been absolutely essential to my mental health. That and forcing myself to do things which while sometimes uncomfortable are only going to help me grow. I believe that there is a difference between doing things which are uncomfortable but promote growth versus things which are just not good for our personal needs (e.g online vs. in-class courses). I believe understanding where to draw the line for yourself and prioritizing this is the base of the pyramid in terms of self-care.
Prioritizing is knowing what you stand for. What are your goals? What makes you tick? What are you willing to put up with, sacrifice, leave behind, etc. etc. Learn to maximize everything that will help get you to your end goal. Look at the end goal and determine what needs to happen to get from now –> then. Focus on that stuff.
“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clotuds, everything.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
Hey all! Happy Monday 🙂 What the what… I’m back here on the blog again… so soon. Also, who in creation says “happy MONDAY”?!? I’ve been posting more lately and it feels right. Does that make sense? Doing what I love and what makes me smile – writing and sharing!
What am I here to talk about today? Coping mechanisms and skills for your mental health toolbox. OK, so, I came across a quote the other day which inspired me to sit down and journal about what I define to be my purpose and goals. I’ve been extremely on edge lately and dealing with way more anxiety than “normal” for me. Knowing this, I knew that I NEEDED to take some time to myself and just write, process, and understand my feels. In doing this, I decided to define what my coping skills are or what could be a genuine coping mechanism for me and my life. Coping skills are a necessity, and in my opinion, the more in-tune we are with our needs and what things are supportive of our needs the easier reaching goals becomes. It’s never a bad thing to utilize skills and cultivate habits which support our goals and fall in line with what we feel is our purpose on this planet.
I am such a quote person it’s slightly ridiculous, not a bad thing, merely an observation. Anyways, “Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.” ― Neil Gaiman
Like I said, define my purpose. Before getting into specifics, I just wanted to share some hiking panoramics which I love to look back at and reminiscence between hikes. THIS is a huge coping skill for me.
All of that said, let’s jump into the primary topic of this post… coping skills. The categories to define various coping skills are some that I learned while in treatment, and honestly, I think they’re gold.
Based on the five senses, what are things that soothe you?
Sound: birds chirping, rain, thunder, the ocean, bells, music
Smell: pine, coffee, mint, smoke from a campfire, lavender, fall leaves, cinnamon
Taste: berry, mint, coffee, cinnamon, vanilla
Touch: comfy clothing, hugs, hot showers, sauna (heat), soft blankets/being under multiple covers in bed, walking barefoot
Sight: sunshine, rain, the forest, waterfalls, mountains, blue skies, the ocean, wildlife
What can you do to reconnect with yourself physically?
Go for a walk
What can you do to reconnect with yourself mentally?
Meditate (guided or unguided)
Write a blog post
Listen to a calming music playlist
What will you do if you need an out?
Remove myself calmly from a situation
Text a friend to call me/call a friend
Accept that saying NO is acceptable
What can you do to distract yourself and/or remove yourself from anxiety (I filled in this question with anxiety to get more specific)?
Meet up with a friend
Work on homework
Plan a workout
Read a book
Listen to a podcast
Take a nap
Take a hot shower
Hold a frozen orange (cool and useful technique learned in my program… keep an orange in the freezer and if you feel a panic attack coming on just sit down and hold said orange, your focus will move from negative and very robust emotions to the fact that your holding a freezing cold non-melting object… if this isn’t enough you can resort to filling a bowl with ice water and sticking your head in… YEP, I have done this (twice), and YEP it does the trick). I do think processing the feelings which led you to needing to utilize this skill in the first place though after the fact is important.
What will you do if you feel stuck?
Attempt to decipher my feelings
Talk with a close friend
Read old blog posts and journals to try to help regain a sense of self and light a fire under my ass
What are some of YOUR coping skills? We’re all different.