There is no shortage of people who look to nature to find their answers in times of suffering. Solidarity with mother nature and her creations can be a wonderful time for reflection and grounding. Although not widely talked about, many people also venture into the great natural wonders of our earth for mental health support. Our resident blog writer, Jess, talks a bit about why she spends so much time outside and how it helped her find herself.
There’s nothing like toughing it through a hailstorm on a hill or trudging through a bog you’ve accidentally wandered into to knowing that once it’s over, you’ll be back to the glorious high of being outside. ‘Embracing the suck’ as it’s often known to outdoor enthusiasts, I find spending my down time in the Scottish hills teaches me a lot about how to endure discomfort for a greater purpose and shows me how resilient I am when I put my mind to it. After all, life isn’t a wonderful ride down the yellow brick road and learning how to endure as well as thrive is a big part of living life.
Something I’ve always struggled with in my life is conforming within the judgement and opinions of others. I’m no stranger to having a bit of an identity crisis because I’ve realised, I’ve been dumbly following along the paths of others without stopping and thinking, “wait, do I want this?”. Taking time out by myself - or with my adventurous canine companions, Caesar and Ed - gives me time to shake people off of my back and go into myself to figure out who I am again. As much as I am a people person, I’m also a lone wolf. There’s a balance between the two for me and ensuring I spend plenty of time in the countryside with my own thoughts never fails to remind me of my intentions.
My partner says to me a lot, “you’re fitter than you think you are”. This used to really bug me when he was trying to make me do more push ups or run further, but now I can really appreciate what he meant. Whether I’m running, hiking or even just going for a walk, it’s just as much about my mental fitness as it is my physical fitness. How easy is it to talk yourself out of leaving your cosy bed to go exercise? Far too much so! I find the same sometimes when I’m out, trying to give in to my mind telling me I’ve done enough and should go home. I surprise myself often at how far I can go and how capable I am in different environments out there, so when I’m in a rut – I remind myself of what I’m capable of. I’m much stronger than my mind leads me to believe.
Whether you live in the countryside or the city, there’s so many ways to introduce outdoor activities into your routine and your wellbeing will thank you for it. There’s also some fantastic podcasts out there where people open up about how their mental health took them to somewhere more wild. Here's some I recommend: