Spend time outside alone

I recently went on a two week hiking/camping holiday alone. I can’t recommend it enough.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

Spend time together!

My husband is my favourite climbing partner. Period. BUT, the times I spend working climbs and going on climbing trips with just women have been inspiring and empowering. Spend time with women. Empower and encourage them to do their best. I believe this makes us stronger and happier!

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

Keep going

If something scares you, definitely try it. That’s how I got really into kayaking and climbing. That’s how I got better at snowboarding. And if you fail, keep going. The outdoors are an incredible place to play, but sometimes training can be harsh and it has to be harsh, so you can explore the wild safely and knowing as much as you can, to enjoy being outside.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

For the enjoyment

Why do we get into the outdoors?

There maybe a list of reasons but usually the biggest one is for the enjoyment. Yet somehow, after some time we seem to forget that. It becomes about how hard we can push ourselves, how high we can climb or how hard we can paddle and due to that, our enjoyment can be lost. The outdoors is not about testing and comparing, but about the freedom and adventure we can find there. I’m not saying we should never try hard, just that we need to be enjoying the time spent out there too. So if you’re feeling a bit blue about your sport, just go have fun for a bit, try a new activity or have a play on something a bit easier with your friends and jog your memory as to why you got into the outdoors in the first place- to have fun.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

On Adventure and Mental Health

First of all, no matter who you are or what you are doing, I want to say that you are amazing and that you’re doing so well. But to those who are suffering from mental illness in particular or who are supporting those that are, please, please remember, that to admit it and to feel comfortable enough to be able to talk about it openly is incredible and extremely important – and I hope you feel like you can continue to do so. You’re doing the right things, you just need to keep going. It does help. I promise.

I suffer from bipolar, and along with that comes anxiety and a whole host of other problems. I realised early on that no one else will have the answers for you – it’s different for everyone and we all cope in different ways and the best thing I can say to you, if you are reading this and looking for help or advice, is that you just need to be kind to your self (and patient), and find the ways which help you most. And yes, I’m afraid that means experimenting.

It has taken me years until I have found some of the things that help me cope. I’m sure these will change throughout my life and I know that they still don’t ‘cure” me because my illness can be very physical at times. However, along the lines of being kind to yourself, I find that the bottom line with me is that I need to be honest. Not just with myself, but with the people around me too.

I love planning big adventures like a two-week climbing trip to Jordan back in April. But I also know that certain situations can make me extremely tired, and sometimes, in particular, those situations can include social ones. So I know that there are times where I just can’t deal with people, times where I just can’t go outside, and times where I will be just too tired to get out of bed and do basic things.

So I try to plan contingency breaks as well, and I’ve become a lot better with saying to my partner or the people that I’m with, simply: ‘look guys, I can’t do this right now’, or: ‘I’m getting really tired, I need to take a break’. And I don’t think I’ve ever really encountered a moment where anyone has not tried to help and make sure that I’m ok, to the point where I get asked now – whether I feel up to going outside today or whether I feel up to being sociable today. And that’s a really lovely thing to have; that they may not understand what I’m feeling or what I’m going through, but they understand what might help or make me feel better.

This means I don’t run myself into the ground too much to the point where I can’t function anymore. And all it is is being honest with people before it gets to that stage. Part of this is me also learning that sometimes it’s ok for you to need to stay in bed for half a day, or get a really long sleep in or take a few naps. That’s ok. Your body needs it and it helps you cope a little bit better in the long term – don’t beat yourself up about it! You’ll thank yourself later for it.

But I also found that, at the same time, you have to be sensible about it. Staying in bed all day or for days at a time doesn’t help. And even if it’s a little thing like brushing your teeth or making some tea or relocating to the sofa, you didn’t stay in bed all day and that’s a little win. Because staying in bed all day ways leads me down a pit. And I think I’m lucky in that I take motivation from the people around me, the plans I have made in the future, etc. To be able to keep going in those situations. I find that if I make a plan I am passionate about, my self-care actually becomes better leading up to it because I really want to be well enough to carry it out. I struggle sometimes with eating as well, but I know that if I want the energy to be able to do something, I have to make sure I eat and that I eat good foods. Otherwise, it’s not going to happen. So my friends are also quite good and trying to make sure I’ve eaten properly and if not, that it’s ok to order a takeaway every once in a whole if it means that you’re going to eat to fuel your body.

Adventure sports has helped me massively, in respect to my mental health in particular, but I’ll be honest, with respect to all areas and aspects of my life. Trail running – no people, cheap, outdoors, fun. AcroYoga – super relaxing, builds lots of strength and flexibility and focus, and communication. Climbing – helps me deal a lot with my head and my head game because it’s a very mental sport. It can be done inside our outside, part of a massive, incredible community, builds strength and flexibility, transferable skills, and has lead to an entire lifestyle change for me. Most of which has really helped me to cope. Slacklining – again a lot of mental stuff, focus especially, balance and strength, good community and easy to set up. All of these things seem to have the mental aspect in common (albeit some more than others), and I think finding a sport which requires your mind 100% to focus on something else for a time whilst looking badass to everyone else around you, has been the biggest factor for me.

Those moments of focus when I’m on the wall or walking the line or thinking about my posture and lines – those entire clearings of thought, help me cope in that I don’t need to think about anything else in that moment. I can just be right there. And that’s ok. And it’s doing my body good at the same time.

To anyone out there struggling right now, no matter what it might be, I hope you feel better soon. I hope that you find your way of coping. If you ever want to chat there is a whole community of women in adventure there who are ready to chat to you, accompany you on your dream adventures, and also just to listen to you when you need it. You’re a strong woman, and yeah, you totally got this.

Submitted by Georgina Jackson – visit her website or follow her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Live life, love adventure

Adventure can be in all forms. We call our (a)dventures ones with a little ‘a’. Not too crazy scary but totally do-able.

Our passion is for expeditions whether it be hiking, camping, sea kayaking, mountain biking etc. It might be close to home on a local canal, or far away in the wilds of Scotland. To us, the journey is the joy, feeling out there and enjoying the exertion, the challenge and the fun of sharing it with friends.

We can all challenge ourselves to whatever level we chose. The main thing is that we do it. One adventure always seems to lead to the next and before you know it you are really living life and loving adventure!

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

Triathlon

Just start! Don’t be put off by what you think it might be like – you will find your own way – and realise that if you work at it, you will improve and feel good about you achievements! And don’t worry about being amongst people who are much better – it doesn’t matter! I found that I inspired a lot of people to have a go, who might not have done otherwise..they’re all way faster than me now!

Submitted by Siobhan – check out her website.

Don’t just talk about it do it

Life can get really busy and we start the snowball of putting things off.  As much as I am capable of putting off the run/walk/climb I recognise that over time I suffer mentally.

The connectivity with nature, the physical activity and being with others is essential to mental and physical wellbeing.  Many of us are operating in a world that is just getting faster and faster, deadlines, 5-star customer service, next day delivery, the technology that means that we can achieve things faster and do more in the same amount of time.

Timeout for ourselves in nature, whatever form that takes for you, is quite significant in our long-term mental health. It is easy to talk about it, but doing it may take some more commitment.

(Supported by my dissertation on ‘physical activity and wellbeing in the workplace’).

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

Believe!

Always believe! Life is too short grasp any opportunity to try something new.

I’ve never been a runner, but in 2015 I did my first ever trail half marathon. Now I focus on Trail Ultras even though my last one had a DNF what I learnt about myself and how I could push both my body and mind has changed my outlook. Boundaries are there to be pushed and energise the body and the mind.

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.

Trying new things

This year I somehow decided to try doing triathlons. I have loved the excuse to get outdoors and swim, bike or run in lots of new and beautiful places.

My advice is to give something a try even if it seems out of your grasp or comfort zone. Just giving something a go can introduce you to new and amazing places, new friends and you may find something that you absolutely love in the process! In my case, it gave me the excuse to explore more of North Wales and meet some lovely people over there!

Submitted by an anonymous but wonderful woman in adventure.