It is very easy, given the situation we are facing right now to feel incredibly disheartened when it comes to adventure. There is a good chance that any plans for adventures you had this year have been put on hold with no real idea as to when they’ll be able to happen. Even though we know that staying home is the right thing for us to do in order to flatten the curve, you’ve likely felt a little lost over the last few weeks about where to direct your energy.
As many will surely tell you, we can of course see our forced stay at home orders as an opportunity, which isn’t always easy when you’re itching to get outside. There are, however, many things you can work on right now that will significantly help you when you can return to the outdoors in the big ways you were planning. Below arethreetechniques for you try out and to help you to become more evolved and developed in whatever your beloved outdoor passion is.
Mindfulness is something we talk about a lot, but that is because the benefits we’ve seen on our lives from using these techniques has been profound. Right now, thinking down the line can feel terrifying. As things evolve and change so much on a daily basis, we can get sucked into a tunnel vision of catastrophizing and thinking the worst. Mindfulness, in its barest form is about sticking with the moment as much as possible, and this is usually done by becoming aware of our breathing. There is a lot of science around this idea and the benefits of mindfulness in adventure can have a significant impact on your performance. If you find yourself concentrating on a particular section of an adventure that you need to tackle later on, this can start to prevent you from progressing to where you’d like – sometimes even making you turn around. Concentrating on your breathing and using your senses to ground yourself in the current moment are techniques that can massively transform your experience of the outdoors. Starting to work with mindfulness techniques now so that you can call on them in the outdoors will be incredibly advantageous to you. We developed a mindfulness exercise to help with this recently, which you can findhere.
Resilience in Shelter
It might feel tough to stay indoors as much as possible right now, but the reality of big expeditions (and not so big expeditions) is that there is a very real chance at times that you can be held up by a weather storm, for example. We were stuck in a mountain hut for a number of days on an expedition last year due to a Siberian blast and had to get really comfortable with ourselves and minds over the three days we took shelter there. One of the things that we’ve noticed makes people feel a lot of fear around expeditions is wondering how they’ll cope if they’re confined to a small space for a prolonged period of time – this is a perfect opportunity to show yourself that it is actually possible and that you can do it. Working with some of the mindfulness techniques listedaboveand below are great tools to have alongside the resilience of hunkering down.
Negative Self Talk and Visualisation
We’ve all been there – those low points where you start to ask yourself what on earth you’re doing out there and thoughts around whether you’ve got what it takes. Have you ever noticed just how much those thoughts affect your physical limits and tiredness levels? It is well known that competitive athletes acknowledge negative self-talk as one of the biggest problems they face in their progress – so much so that they will often work with a coach to help them concentrate on getting their mindset into a positive space for a particular goal. We’ve spoken with many long-distance adventurers who’ve told us that the main challenge they’ve faced whilst taking on big challenges is what they will often refer to as the ‘prison of their mind’. Right now, it can be really easy to go full on into negative thinking, but recognizing your thoughts, being gentle with yourself and reaching for a more positive thought are incredible ways of helping you to feel more positive, in whatever situation you’re in right now so that you can make decisions from a clearer perspective. Visualising how you want to feel is also a great way to trigger your brain into releasing those feel good chemicals that’ll help you move past places of resistance quicker. These two techniques will help you get to a calmer place and are practices that you can develop now to help you in the outdoors when you are struggling.
Your adventures don’t have to end just because you’re at home, because you can choose to look at this time differently – think of this as no differently to needing to train. If you let it, this can be a time where you can practice and explore in many ways that you probably wouldn’t allow yourself time for normally, so see it as a gift, amongst all the chaos.
The mountains will feel all the better when we’re able to return to the hold they have on us all.