The Emotional Benefits of Hiking
There has been a lot written about the benefits of hiking (and walking). It’s not just the physical benefits either. There can also be fantastic emotional and psychological benefits.
This past week has seen me tested. While still recovering from a nasty virus, I was dealt a blow.
The kind that negatively affects your finances. And the kind that is out of your control.
As the only breadwinner in this household (Mr 5 isn’t yet ready to earn an income), suddenly losing a big part of your wage is scary. It also made me feel like the effort I’d put in over the last couple of years hadn’t been appreciated or valued. This may or may not be true, but it’s how I felt.
A text from a family member saying ‘I heard what happened. Please let me know if I can do anything’ made me feel loved and alone all at once. Worthless and important all at once. Scared and comforted all at once. I went between wanting to unfold into the comforting arms of loved ones, and wanting to run away and hide from them.
I had stopped wanting to write. I had stopped wanting to take photos. I had stopped wanting to hike, or go for a walk. Even though I know that all of these things make me happy.
Yesterday I’d had enough already. The pity party was over. I laced up my shoes and went hiking. It was a trail I know well. A trail close to home. A trail that wanders along past huge gum trees that I always find so soothing.
It was enough. It was enough to make me want to go for another walk today. To face up to the challenges I’m facing. It hasn’t made them go away, but I feel stronger, and better equipped to deal with them.
This morning on my walk I saw a rainbow. Believe it or not, I felt it was a sign.
This past week has been a rollercoaster. I’m pretty sure I’m finally over the virus, but the emotional healing is a work in progress. I’ll keep up with the hiking and walking. And will spend time with family and loved ones. I WILL be OK.
What about you – do you find that hiking has helped you (or someone you know) through an emotionally tough time?
Bio: Sam is a daydreamer, storyteller, and hiker. She loves getting outside, and you’ll often find her on the bushwalking trails close to her hometown of Geelong. You can follow along with her on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. If you have any questions that she can help with, or would like to chat about possible sponsored opportunities, advertising, or affiliations (that will benefit her audience) please drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.