To Feel Something

I joined Backcountry Women this morning for a hike around Birds Hill Park but I unfortunately needed to cut my participation short. With the temperature hovering around -28°C, my asthma acted up and I had a hard time controlling my breathing. After communicating with the group leader, I slowly made my way back to the parking lot.

Returning from the way we came along side Kingfisher Lake, I enjoyed the sparkle and glisten of the snow and stared off into the distance where the moon still hung in the sky.

I sipped earl grey tea in my thermos and recalled memories of the Guided Nature Therapy Walk at Nurtured By Nature in Pinawa. For the remainder of my time on trail, I honoured all five of my senses with meaningful motions and thoughts.

I laid on the cold, frozen ground and let my back feel the chill through my winter parka, fleece sweater, and base layer. One of the things about my mental health is sometimes I am emotionally numb. Physically feeling something reminds me that I am present and that my mind still allows me to feel.

I recalled that my daughter and I have a special set of trees grouped together near West Beach. I made my way there and sat on a cold boulder inside the grouping of trees. With my eyes closed, I focused on my breath. Silence surrounded me and it was peaceful. It was what I needed. The trail provides.

I made my way back into the city but not without first stopping at Grand Donuts at the corner of Lagimodière and Grassie. I have been emotionally eating lately and my visit to the donut shop did not end well. I ate three donuts in the span of less than 10 minutes. The plan was to share with my family. I barely tasted them as I shoved them into my mouth like non-stop eating machine. At least I supported a local small businesses so that’s good, right?

I made it home in time to take my daughter to swimming lessons and I decided to spend time on an exercise bike in the gym. As I cycled up and down “mountain peaks” on the reclined bike, I was reminded of a book I want to read, Fat Chick Goes AWOL: 2,600 Miles in an Armchair on Wheels (With a 600-mile Detour on Foot). I felt humbled that even though my lungs couldn’t handle the cold air, my legs could take me along “mountain ridges and valleys” and I had a solo dance party with music blaring in my ears as I moved.

I was reminded why I like going to the gym and why I really should go more often. I like the feeling of sore muscles while trying to keep up with my goals. It feels amazing to push a little more and get over a plateau, just to feel the pain once again. Repeat…repeat. It reminds me that I am present and that my mind can still feel, just like the cold frozen ground earlier in the morning. I am grateful for the movement.

The leader of the hike suggested I look into a face mask for winter hiking. It will help keep the air warm around my mouth and nose. It’s worth a shot so I can continue getting outside this winter. I don’t want to let my asthma stop me.

As for emotionally eating, I’m at least aware of what I am doing. Hopefully now I can stop myself from having another fried chicken and now, donut incident. This time of the year is just ridiculously hard on my mental health and as history has a way of repeating itself, I don’t always make the best decisions for myself. I’m just trying to be gentle with myself.

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