Tools For Sanity
I'm so excited to introduce Jessica as our newest (and really our first) ExploreMore Landloper! Jessica really understands the importance of being outside, exploring and just having fun. She will be leading some Hike, Yoga and Brews here in DFW for ExploreMore. She also is an avid trail runner so maybe some trail running clinics and Trail running 5Ks are in our future 😉.
When asked "Why are the Outdoors Important to You?" Jessy said "Community is one piece of it. The other is it’s a way to find yourself. It’s coming out of the normal day to day life and realizing who you really are, not what your environment tells you you are. I’ve had some pretty awesome experiences with hand drawn maps from someone in a community center in a small Colorado town trying to find a trailhead and then it raining and when I wanted to cry just burst out laughing. Also, if you are climbing a 14er perhaps and you can see all around you, just being in awe that your little tiny body got you to the top and you get to see way outside of what may be a concrete jungle. Goes back to mindset. The outdoors let you remember who you really are as a human.
I want to be a landloper because I want to help people get a taste of those experiences that I’ve described. It’s a basic human need and it’s so overwhelming. If someone can get a taste of that and bring it to their everyday life, that would be something that can spread to others and remind us all that we’re all human. Kindness really and truly comes from that. My trail community has been there for me way more than sometimes my blood family. People need to feel connected."
What better way to welcome Jessica than by sharing with you a short article she wrote regarding where our world is today. This was on Jessica's heart and I hope it touches your hear as well.
Tools for Sanity
Author: ExploreMore Landloper Jessica
COVID-19 and, more directly, the stay-at-home order, has given some of us a chance to slow down or maybe to compensate for what we feel like is a forced slow down. I am 100% one of those that is blowing full steam ahead all the time and trying to achieve this and accomplish that so this forced slow down is like a nightmare. This time of being confined behind a computer screen feels like I've been chained to my large, pink yoga ball chair. These chains have made me stop, think and really explore the question, how do I really deal with stress? I think about several years ago compared to now and I know that something is different. My life is changed (outside of the pandemic). The pandemic has certainly helped me see myself in a different light. So, what has changed?
I have no shortage of physical challenges that I've given myself in order to "feel." These include running, yoga, CBD, sports and meditating. Hiking and being in nature have given an almost prescriptive way to deal with stress pre and post COVID. Those tools haven't changed. I have though. How I use the tools has also changed. Similar to when my kids were learning how to use a spoon. The tool was there for them, but they had to learn how to use it properly to get the food from the bowl into their mouths. You have to make adjustments to how you use the tools for them to work for you. Otherwise, they can work against you.
You make the lifestyle changes. You find the tool that serves you. You think about where you are trying to go and find a tool to help you get there. You do all that! I used to do some form of exercise for hours as a way to punish myself. Punish myself for the way my body looked, to feel exhausted in my body to give my mind something else to focus on or to literally "run" from whatever I was trying to procrastinate dealing with.
Those tools, used properly though, not only have been helping me get where I want to go (I'm definitely not there yet), but they have helped lead me to other people. Those people help me with my tools and I can help them with theirs. It's the tribe that it led me too. It's that human connectedness. The other day I was experiencing so much grief that popped up at the 6 month anniversary of my sister's death. I went for a hike (with a full backpack because we will get to do our piece hike one day) and at first was so frustrated that EVERYONE seemed to be there. I wasn't mad that people were being healthy, but I certainly was hoping for some solitude. Luckily, the trail wasn't crowded where I was and as mountain bikers passed, I felt the wind from their turns. It was such an amazing grounding experience. Mountain bikers are also ridiculously friendly. I left that experience with the perspective of us all being out there together and something that I might have previously used to punish and drain myself, became an experience of renewal.
I've been watching everyone's posts about how "X" saved their life. I am seeing that people are not giving themselves enough credit. Maybe I also haven't given myself enough credit. These tools you have and how you use them are what can bring you out. As silly as it sounds, YOU did it! You CAN do it. With the right tools for you. Find what motivates you and use that! If that stops working, that means you've grown and that's not a bad thing. Find your next tool for your toolbelt!