This is a guest blog by Mind & Mountain friend & member Rachel Collins. Rachel is a skier, park ranger, & mom, and in the last few years has been learning how to navigate the challenges of chronic illness alongside her active life. Rachel leads our Spoonie & Invisible Illness Affinity Group inside of Ski Babes!
Read on for more of her story:
December 2022. I woke up with big plans today- big breakfast with the kiddo, Ski Babes workout, deep cleaning the house for guests, but as I crack my eyes open I realize none of those are going to happen today. I feel lethargic, nauseous, and despite my best intentions, my brain feels like molasses. I know this feeling now, my blood pressure is too low and my nervous system is on the fritz again. Is it the storm rolling in? Did I hit my salt targets yesterday? Did I eat something new? Maybe I overheated in my sleep again?
This is life with a chronic...
A couple of years back, we invited Chrissy King for a conversation with our cohort of Ski Babes. Chrissy is a fitness trainer, author, and thought leader, and she had so many amazing insights to share.
Chrissy’s work centers around body liberation: she literally wrote the book on it.
This summer, we’re having Chrissy back to lead us in a book club on her new book! Summer Strong members will get the chance to read the book and share reflections in community, and then we’ll have Chrissy join us for a live session to debrief all we’ve learned.
If the term Body Liberation is new to you, body liberation means that we are inherently worthy because we exist. It seeks to liberate us from the time, energy, and harm that comes from trying to “fix” our bodies, when in fact we are not broken at all. It recognizes that our bodies aren’t the entirety of who we are, but our bodies are what enable us to have this human experience.
The Tatshenshini–or “Tat” for short–is an epic journey starting in Canada’s Yukon. From there, you float and paddle downstream on the Tat through the Tatshenshini-Alsek Wilderness Park, merging into the Alsek River, and ultimately ending up in Alaska’s Glacier Bay area.
Along the way, the river carves through pristine wilderness. Getting permits for this long, international trip is one of the most competitive permits to land, and it’s not hard to see why! In fact, this is the only float trip in Alaska popular enough to even require permits. Between the towering mountain ranges on either side of the river, the many glaciers alongside, and the icebergs floating through the river, the scenery is unforgettable.
We were lucky that some very motivated friends of ours navigated the permitting process and the itinerary logistics, meaning we could just tag along. Taking turns with the...
I recently joined Jacalyn Gross on the Women Empower Active podcast to chat about our outdoor stories and mindset reflections. The podcast is a production of UR Sportswear, a running apparel brand for women. Jacalyn and I had an open and honest conversation that we hope will normalize the messiness of each of our outdoor journeys.
Jacalyn and I focus on different outdoor activities in very different environments–she’s primarily a trail runner in the Pacific Northwest, and I’m a skier, backpacker, and nordic skater in Alaska. We had a great time chatting about the themes that are common to both of us, and we bet you’ll relate to our stories, too.
We focused a lot of our chat on how mindset matters in the outdoors, and what a difference it can make for our experiences. We talked about the power of community and our hopes for inclusivity and acceptance in outdoor spaces. Plus,...
For the last several summers, my husband Luc and I have been taking three-week long outdoor backpacking trips through the wild parts of Alaska. We look forward to this time as a way to both restore our spirits from our busy lives and connect with each other. These trips are a foundational piece of our relationship and a time we both cherish.
This past June, our big backpacking trip took us through Alaska’s Baird Mountains where we did some hiking and paddling. We had some magical moments plus some big learnings.
Right off the bat, we knew this trip would look a little different from our past summer trips. As we’ve been navigating fertility challenges, I wasn’t sure how my body would feel when the trip came around. We knew we needed to build a lot of flexibility into our trip plan.
To stay adaptable, we designed a basecamp-style trip. This way, we could flex the total mileage and intensity of our trip depending on how...
Amy Bushatz and I love to talk about cold weather! A couple of months ago, I joined Amy on her podcast, Humans Outside, to talk about cold weather layering. If you missed it, here’s what we talked about last time and where to listen.
We wanted to continue our conversation on cold weather with another episode! This time, we took a different angle, focusing specifically on the emotions of cold weather. Have you ever noticed how stressful outdoor adventures can feel in the winter? Amy and I sure have.
Learning to have fun outside in the cold weather is a practice, but there are a few tools and tricks we’ve found over the years. Through this conversation, we hope to spark some ideas for your own time in winter wonderland.
Like me, Amy also lives in Alaska. She started the Humans Outside Challenge, which creates structure to help folks spend at least 20 minutes outside for one full year. Amy...
Taking good care of your body and mind is important in both everyday life and our outdoor lifestyles. Self care is an especially important concept for winter, when sometimes our mood and energy level can drop. So what does that look like? Here are four tools for wilderness lovers to practice self care this winter.
Titration is one of our most important nervous system concepts here at Mind & Mountain. It’s originally a term from chemistry, but when applied to the nervous system it means adding challenge slowly, in small, and manageable doses. Picture adding liquid one drop at a time into a beaker: that’s titration.
Like a chemical reaction overheating or bubbling over, doing too much too fast can flood our nervous systems. When our brain gets flooded, it literally changes how it functions: the rational part of our brains shut down while our fear and survival zones kick into high...
Winter is here and it’s time to hit the slopes! As we get our winter gear out, it’s important to think about how to tune up our minds & bodies for the season, too.
One of the best things you can do to stay strong and injury free this winter is to prep with a little strength training. Doing some exercises at home, even in small doses, is a really effective way of staying healthy on your skis. Nothing ruins ski season like being sidelined with an injury!
On top of that, practicing functional movements at home can build the muscle memory to help your technique come together early in the season. By building your endurance and practicing healthy movement patterns in pre-season, you can jump start your season and ski strong all winter long.
We’re going to take you through three moves we love for building strength for ski season. Each of these movements imitates an action that we...
Everything in life happens in cycles, in both nature and our inner worlds. Not everything can be a time of high-energy growth like summer. Seasons change, whether we want them to or not, and some seasons bring a slower pace.
If winter is hard for you, you’re not alone. It’s normal and common to be affected by the dark, cold seasons. Changing seasons can be hard! We can get comfortable in the season we’re in and we don’t want it to end. But we can learn to get through those tough changes with grace.
Let’s talk about how to navigate both natural and personal winters.
There are two types of winter transitions we’ll talk about. First, we have the literal changing of the seasons that we in the Northern Hemisphere are moving toward right now. Temperatures drop, the days are shorter, and the sun is weaker. During winter, we often sleep more. We might not want to leave the house as much. Our overall...
Weakest Link Syndrome refers to the experience of feeling like you’re the slowest one in the group and that it’s harder for you than it is for other people.
The origins of this term are under debate - I learned it from my husband Luc who credits his friend Erica, but Erica says it didn’t come from her! It’s a hot debate. Regardless of its origins, the experience of Weakest Link Syndrome is extremely common, very relatable, and there’s no shame in having it!
Let’s unpack what Weakest Link Syndrome looks like and the strategies we can use to work with it.
Whether we’re out skiing, biking, or backpacking, many of us have felt like we’re the slowest person in the group. Think of it as anytime you feel like you’re the ‘weakest link’ in the group. This could be struggling to keep up, learning new things, or being a beginner at something when you feel like you ‘should’ be further...
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