Harnessing the power of the sunshine

Over one year ago I created Backpack Chronicles and in that time, I have worked on a lot of self-development, organized and participated in group hiking and camping events, and went on a number of solo day hikes by myself. This blog serves as a place of focus, where I can write about managing my mental health through immersing myself in the outdoors.

I have had a few people tell me over the last year that I inspire them to step out of their comfort zones, to try something new, and to take care of themselves mentally. I feel great happiness that I have encouraged people to strive for balance and self-care in their lives. I have been inspired by others and I let it be known that we need to keep the inspiration train going.

I met someone at a very trying time in their life. The desire to be further involved in my community brought me to a part time writing job in a small community office. Her and I worked together for over a year, in what turned out to be an incredibly toxic place of employment. We became friends and leaned on each other for support. I honestly could have (and should have) left at any time but I felt the in explainable need to stay.

With the silver lining of an ill parent on the east coast of Canada, my friend quickly made an escape from the clutches of a woman who controlled many aspects of her life. While she cared for her parent, the Atlantic Ocean became a place of healing for her and when she went to Ontario where her sister is, Lake Ontario mended the wounds of almost a decade of damage.

She returned to Winnipeg and has taken an interest in hiking. She is apprehensive yet eager to learn skills needed to be on the trail. On one hike that I have done a handful of times, I encouraged her to hike to a lookout by herself. I sat down on a rock and told her to take her time and to look for the trail markers. When she returned, she thanked me endlessly for giving her the confidence to go on her own. I am mindful that she has a love for water, so I choose trails to hike with her that will take us along rivers and lakes. One day, out of the blue she told me that her goal in five years is to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail by herself!

First and foremost this blog is about advocating for mental health and wellness and secondly about the outdoors. While my issues with mental illness are along the lines of major depression as opposed to situational depression, I feel strongly that my journey can connect with anyone looking to take control and create a life they thrive in.

In the last year I have learned to harness the power of the sunshine. My house is situated in a beautiful spot where my kitchen and bedroom window face east and my living room window faces west. I witness and feel the warmth of the morning sun rising and I am invited each evening to a prairie sunset. Mornings have commonly been a struggle for me and embracing the sun has helped me greatly. Even if the sun is not shining and the day is dark and gloomy, I live in a park-like community surrounded by nature right outside my front door. The outdoors is a mental and soulful experience for me and while I enjoy challenging myself physically, it is taking care of myself mentally that calls me to the outdoors.

I have stepped up my Weekend Warrior game because it makes me feel so incredibly amazing. I nurture every ounce of my being on the weekend and I love the weekends I have created. My mornings are usually spent outside, and the afternoons are inside tending to the household. Now that the weather is getting nicer, I look forward to treating myself to all-day hikes, not only for the air that I will breath in the wilderness but to continue training for my upcoming 10-day hike on the Appalachian Trail.

I am envisioning the continuation of mental health and wellness advocacy, new moments of adventure, and sparking others to love themselves so much they make themselves a priority. Most of all, I look forward to continuing to harness the power of the sunshine.

Rock climbing
Depression Will Not Win when there is adventure and opportunity. Indoor rock climbing with Backcountry Women. Follow the group on Instagram.

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