I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. – John Borroughs
A few years ago, Sean and I went on a road trip through Yellowstone and The Grand Tetons. When we entered Teton National Park, I was driving and Sean was GoProing out the window – as one does – and just as we came around a bend in the road…
Boom. There they were.
In that moment, I did a little thing I like to call: projectile cry.
I was so incredibly moved by these monstrous, resilient babes that I physically, mentally, and emotionally could not keep my shit together. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before, and I felt a tremendous weight of guilt for not making the effort and time to get closer to them earlier on in my life. And when I hiked through them later that day, and camped next to them later that night, I felt completely, and utterly whole. And I’m not even a “mountain” girl. I’m from Maine – I’m a sea witch!
There’s absolutely no denying the fact that nature fills us up, plain and simple. We came from there, and now… we live in condos and high rises and brownstones and cardboard boxes. We’re constantly overstimulated by elements that aren’t natural to us, namely: Instagram. And when you’re feeling blue or overwhelmed by these unnatural stimulants, there is one quick and dirty way to snap out of it:
Go the f*ck outside.
With the proper preparation**, being outside almost makes me forget about my diabetes all together. Fresh air brings my anxious mind to a screeching halt. Within 20 minutes of a hike last week in Arizona…I almost forgot I had diabetes. I was just so grateful to be where I was, doing what I was doing: Walking up the side of a mountain in the middle of the desert, surrounded by nothing by Agave plants and the sky. Although I was huffing and puffing like it was nobody’s business: I was capable. And that was important to keep telling myself over and over and over.
The trouble with seasonal depression is…well…it’s seasonal. And it’s depression. Winter can totally suck. It’s dark at 4pm, it’s cold, it’s windy. I think that’s why “In the bleak midwinter” is literally the saddest song I’ve ever heard (low-key love it, tho). But no matter how much we’ve given winter a bad name, we have to try to go outside more often. We have to let our feet touch the real ground, and our hands sift through the snow, and our cheeks feel the air. When I get smacked in the face with an icy wind I wake up. I can feel the blood rushing to my cheeks and that’s a dramatic reminder that I’m alive and that’s a good thing.
So, my challenge to you today, is that wherever you are – go outside. You don’t have to be a sporty spice, or an avid hiker, or an olympic skier to feel the benefits of being outdoors. Start small – set a timer for 20 minutes. Walk to the grocery store, take your dog to the park, go buy your aunt a birthday card at the far away Papyrus, ride your bike down to the water, sit outside and just sit. Face the sun. Whatever you can do, just go for it. Breathe through it. Let yourself embrace whatever the elements throw at you and soak them up. I’ll do it with you. You’ll be shocked by how energized and refreshed you feel when you come back inside.
**Re: Proper preparation…for hikes, I try to start early in the AM when I’m in the low 100’s. I eat 15-20g uncovered. Suspend my pump for an hour (depending on the length of the hike – if it’s a big guy I might even suspend until I’m at the top of the mountain, I don’t get an AM liver dump like some people so I have to be v careful of lows), on my way back down the mountain I’ll transition to a 30-40% less temp basal. I re-up my carb intake with a little bit of fat every hour or so on my way up the mountain with about 15g of something, and I only allow myself to check my Dexcom every 45 mins to an hour so that I can stay present. It’s different for everyone, but that’s my most recent method to the madness.
Remember! Until the February 15th, I’m doing a daily post with a different way I’ve combated burnout and seasonal depression. But this is a 2-way street! I want to know how you all manage your burnouts or seasonal depression, so tag your photos and help inspire others by using the hashtag #GimmeSomeSugarChallenge.
Check out my Instagram for more, and stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about Befriending a Critter.