You Need a Reintegration Protocol: Adjusting after Wilderness Trips

Returning From the Wilderness Can Be a Big Adjustment

Sometimes, the hardest part of wilderness trips or vacations isn’t the challenge of hiking or long plane rides, it’s getting back home and adjusting back to regular life afterwards. 

Each summer, I take at least one long trip into the Alaskan wilderness. After about three weeks in nature, coming back home to the city often feels jarring. For many years, I struggled with reintegration from the wilderness back to my regular life. The first few days always felt awkward, sometimes even frustrating. More recently I’ve been noticing this after other intense experiences, like a week of nervous system training. Can you relate?

Whether you’ve been on a long wilderness trip, a retreat, or a vacation, it’s totally normal to feel a mix of emotions in the first few days of your return back home. It’s also totally normal not to feel able to jump right back into your routine at full speed.

This...

Continue Reading...

How to Shift Seasons Gracefully: Coming Down from a Busy Summer

From High-Energy Summer to Cozy Fall

Up here in the northern hemisphere, summer alread passed us by and fall and winter are moving in fast! Especially in northern latitudes like Alaska, temperatures and daylight hours are dropping quickly… we even have frozen lakes and ice skating season underway!

We’ve talked before on the blog about the concept of “wintering,” including how the colder, darker season has inherently different energy and emotions compared to summer. But sometimes it can be hard to let go and flow with the seasons.

Summer is a very high-intensity season, which means it can be fun for a while, but isn’t sustainable. 

Especially in the high north like Alaska & Canada, the long daylight hours and short summer season lends itself to a fast pace & pressure to make the most of the light. Fall sometimes feels like that feeling of stepping off of a moving walkway and onto regular ground — a bit jarring and hard to prepare...

Continue Reading...

Bikepacking and Personal Growth: Building Strength One Ride at a Time

Embracing Strength through Bikepacking

This is a guest blog by Mind & Mountain friend Oliviah Franke. Oliviah (they/she) is a biracial Cáhita person who is living on Dena'ina lands and works in Community Education for Native Movement. They are a cyclist, cat mom, gardener, and are very passionate about racial equity and community building. 

Read on for more of their story:Strength is a concept that is not entirely foreign to me, but physical strength specifically is something I never assumed to have. I have known that I have emotional fortitude; a stubbornness to persevere and thrive despite all odds. As a child in the foster care system for the first 6 years of my life, my mental and emotional strength was tested and strengthened time and time again, and even as I grew older and found security and love through adoption; life still demanded a certain strength of me. But it definitely wasn’t physical strength that I focused on building. Because of...

Continue Reading...

Beyond the Visible: Adapting to Life & the Outdoors with Chronic Illness

Reclaiming an Active & Outdoor Lifestyle with Chronic Illness

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...

Continue Reading...

What I Learned about Body Liberation from Chrissy King

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.

Body...

Continue Reading...

Float & Hike: 10 Day Trip on the Tatsenshini, Alsek, and Yakutat Coast

A Fast and Fantastic Trip on the Tatshenshini & Alsek Rivers

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...

Continue Reading...

Podcast: Mindset, Perfectionism, and Resilience in the Outdoors

Replacing Self-Doubt and Perfectionism in the Outdoors with Compassion and Inclusion

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,...

Continue Reading...

Titration in Practice: A Backpacking Trip in the Baird Mountains

Alaska’s Baird Mountains

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.

Planning Our Trip

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...

Continue Reading...

Podcast: Having Fun and Managing Stress in Winter Sports

Why Outside Challenges Like Harsh Weather Can Feel Bad and What to Do About It

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...

Continue Reading...

How to Practice Self Care: Winter Wilderness Adventures

Self Care for the Winter Season

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.

Tool #1: Using Titration to Grow without Overwhelm

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...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3
Close

50% Complete

Yes! So glad you're here.

Add your email below to open up your access to the 20-Min Busy Day Workout. 

You'll also be included on my email list, where I send out updates & resources on fitness, mental health, and adventure. It's low-pressure, lighthearted, & easy to unsubscribe at anytime should you wish to.