Weakest Link Syndrome: What It Is and How to Overcome it

What is Weakest Link Syndrome?

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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Backpacking Risk and Emergency Planning: What You Need to Know

Educating Ourselves Around Planning and Preparedness

After you have gained a full picture of what risks you’ll be dealing with on your trip, you can then formulate your risk and emergency plan. In order to do that, educating ourselves around risk can build our confidence and mitigate the real risks we might face. For backpackers of all backgrounds and experience levels, the best thing you can do for your own safety is planning and preparedness.

Before diving into this post, read up on the basics of risk management and safety in our previous post, which will lay the groundwork for this discussion. In this post, we’ll get into more detail about specific concerns as well as creating your risk mitigation plan.

Assessing Risk: How Many Lemons Do You Have?

In our last blog post, we talked about how to identify risks and introduced the idea of each major risk as a (metaphorical) lemon. Consider creating a document with a list of risks and how severe the risk is (i.e., how...

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Mindful Summer: Fitting in Adventures and Rest with Less Stress

Mindful Planning for a Full Summer 

Spring is here. The thaw is in progress. The snow is gradually retreating from the peaks and melting its way into streams. Plant life is beginning to burst joyfully from the soil. And we humans are getting our first real taste of the intoxicating effects of brighter days. 

With the promise of summer only a few weeks away, planning warm weather adventures is in full swing. It’s so exciting to feel the anticipation for all of these and experiences on the horizon.

The shifting of the season fills our spirits with renewed energy for life, but as with anything, we can have too much of a good thing. The burst of energy might have us overcommitting, overstressing, and setting ourselves up for a frazzled, frantic summer instead of a season where we thrive.

 Yes, summer is precious. If we don’t make intentional plans, time can slip through our fingers and we can miss beautiful opportunities. On the other hand, swing the pendulum...

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Substituting Sunrise: The quest for the perfect sunrise alarm clock.

Hi everyone! 

A couple months ago I announced on Instagram that I was going in search of the perfect sunrise simulating alarm clock. I've had a sunrise alarm clock for years, but it wasn't perfect: Luc was fed up with the finicky buttons on it, we were both tired of the only 3 alarm sounds it offered, and it always bothered me that the clock light stayed lit -- I prefer a completely dark bedroom.

So I decided it was time for an upgrade. I couldn't believe how many sunrise alarm clocks there are on the market now -- this is a growing market with way more options than 5 years ago. Many of you have been following along on the journey and pinging me to share my findings - I'm happy to say that I've finally come to a conclusion and have my top three to share below! 

What is a sunrise alarm clock?

A sunrise alarm clock (also known as a dawn simulator) is an alarm clock that turns on gradually, increasing light brightness over a period of time - usually 45-30 minutes before your...

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Podcast: Changing Seasons - Using Fall to Prepare for Winter

Happy Autumn Everyone! 

I recently had a last minute chance to sit down with Martha Rosenstein of Alaska Public Media and the Outdoor Explorer Podcast to have a discussion about transitioning from Summer to Winter. This is a big transition across the hemisphere - and feels a little extra dramatic up here in Alaska where you can blink and fall is already over! We discussed some different ways that can make the transition feel less drastic and more sustainable, you can see the list of topics below! 

Closing out the episode, Martha chats for a bit with Heather Caldwell -  a psychotherapist that practices in both Alaska and Colorado. Heather shares some more perspective on how to make a seasonal transition, you can check out more about Heather and her practice here

 

Topics covered include: 

  • Sarah
    • Transitioning from summer to winter - how can we do it in a more mindful way? (3:18)
    • Leaning into plan B and recognizing the energy that takes. (5:29)
    • Cues...
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Podcast: Building Mind & Body Strength

Greetings!

Wow, I just had the chance to sit down with Kaitlyn Kasso and had a really fun time! Kaitlyn is an awesome photographer that helps women develop their personal brands. You can follow what she's up to on Instagram @kaitlyncassocreations. She also runs the Inspired by HERstory Podcast: Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.

We talked in detail about my first time in the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic, both of our experiences with imposter syndrome, and what it's like to be a beginner in the outdoors. I really think there is a bit of something for everyone in this episode! 

Topics covered include: 

  • The story of my first Wilderness Classic: 5:50
  • How my business came to be: 19:38
  • When to confront challenges and when to back down: 22:40
  • Workout Perfectionism & Imposter Syndrome: 26:10
  • Building confidence when you're new outdoors (or at anything): 33:10
  • Building a capacity for failure: 38:12
  • Advice on how to deal with Imposter Syndrome: 42:43
  • ...
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The Packrafting Podcast: The magic of Alaska, mental health, & overcoming fear.

Hello everyone! 

The podcast interviews keep coming and this has been a fun one! Recently I was honored to be a guest on the Packrafting Podcast, sponsored by Alpacka Rafts and hosted by the wonderful human and new friend that is Dulkara Martig

As the title implies, the Packrafting Podcast content is anchored by the guest and host connections to the sport, though, I feel confident that even if you aren't a packrafter you will find inspiration and relatable content within the dialogues that take place here. 

The episode I was on is titled: The Magic of Alaska, Mental Health, & Overcoming Fear.

Topics covered include: 

  • Thoughts on winter in Alaska: 5:01Growing up on the Kenai Peninsula: 12:37
  • My experience in the Wilderness Classic: 14:56 
  • My first experiences packrafting - including a couple of sticky situations: 22:06
  • Some strategies to help overcome fear in the outdoors: 26:40
  • The origin story for Summer Strong and Ski Babes: 42:23
  • ...
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Podcast: It's Okay to be a Beginner in the Outdoors

Hello! 

I loved this conversation I had with Martha Rosenstein on the Outdoor Explorer Podcast! We highlight overcoming barriers to getting started with outdoor adventuring, remembering what it's like to be a beginner again, and how to build functional strength at home in anticipation of winter sports.

The topics we covered include: 

  • What is a mental health informed fitness trainer?
  • Sarah's journey into mental health and fitness world
  • Anti-Bro Culture
  • How can we do better when it comes to creating an inclusive outdoor rec community?
  • Weakest link syndrome
  • Progression of new skills
  • Functional Strength and Adventuring 
  • Defining Summer Strong and Ski Babes 
  • Getting Started in Backcountry Adventures
  • Self-Awareness in navigating nutrition 

I hope you will have a listen and that you enjoy the conversation! If you have thoughts or any of these topics resonated, I'd love to hear from you

You can find the episode in a couple...

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Podcast: Building a Strong Body & Mind

Hey there! 

I recently had the opportunity to have a chat with on the Connect with Sheila Botelho Podcast. Sheila is a certified health coach,  lifestyle entrepreneur, and mom of two, best known for her online wellness programs, mentoring, and self-love passion. Her podcast focuses on how to connect to your soul's calling and take action on it. 

We covered a lot of ground in this short interview, and I hope you'll enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed chatting with Sheila! 

The title of this podcast episode is: Building a Strong Body & Mind

Topics covered include: 

  • My role models for the active life I now live: 3:57
  • How I combined my passion for the outdoors and mental health and started my business: 5:16
  • Cultivating mental strength: 10:26
  • Luc and mine's traverse of the Western Brooks Range: 17:09
  • Gaining courage to step into new experiences: 18:56
  • How to put the nervous system to work for us: 22:41
  • The evolution of faith in my life: 30:50...
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Arctic Refuge 2020

Luc and I had lots of ideas about potential summer trips for 2020, but when COVID hit and rural villages across Alaska shut down-- with rightful concerns about limited medical infrastructure and intergenerational trauma from the Spanish Flu-- we knew we needed to adapt our recreation plans to keep us self-supported, out of villages & on the road system.

Luc put his trip-planning skills to work and came up with a ~350 mile loop that started & ended on the Haul Road, got us out to the Sadlerochit Mountains (which we'd wanted to explore since we floated past them in our 2017 Arctic Refuge Traverse) and incorporated a food drop that some friends of ours already had planned. We pulled in Will Koeppen (the pics in this post are Will's, & I'd encourage reading the daily journal entries he posted on his Instagram, starting here) and hit the road.

My biggest take-away from this trip was how well the nervous system and mind/body...

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