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...
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,...
Winter is here and many of us are spending as much time as we can playing in the snow and the mountains! As we move through this winter season, let’s talk about how to tune up our bodies and minds for the season, too. Taking good care of yourself isn’t just something to practice in everyday life. We can bring self-care into the mountains too.
Taking time for cross-training both before and during the season can make your days on the mountain so much more enjoyable! Training helps us prevent injuries, keep up with our friends, and have more fun outside. But it can be hard to know how to adequately prepare for winter sports - especially for the backcountry. In this post, we’ll walk you through some simple exercises and mindset tips to practice.
We hope you use these moves and concepts to build your mind & body strength for this winter season!
Let’s start with some simple...
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...
Shoulder season is a key time of year for any outdoor adventurer. It’s that in-between time when it’s not quite good weather for summer activities like hiking, but not cold and snowy enough for winter sports like skiing, either. When we say “shoulder season”, we’re not talking about training our arm muscles! What we actually mean is the transitional seasons between the big seasons of summer and winter, like spring and fall. (Wondering where the term comes from? Us too. Here are some theories.)
Depending on the climate where you live, the exact timing of your shoulder season might look a little bit different from others. The most important thing to remember is that it’s a time of transition. It’s the time when you’re switching focus. We all experience transitions differently. So, tune into your body and take a moment to reflect on when these yearly transitions happen for you and how they make you feel.
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...
Whether you’re dreaming of days in the mountains, along coastlines, or through the desert, planning your first backpacking trip is an exciting process. Congratulations on making moves toward this rewarding new hobby! To make your experience as positive and fun as possible, it’s important to find a beginner-friendly backpacking route that suits your experience level.
Here are some tips for finding the best route for your first backpacking trip.
When looking for ideas for your first backpacking trip, where should you start? Good news: there are lots of great resources to identify beginner-friendly routes. As you’re researching, try to find information about the same route from multiple sources. If you find broad agreement across several sources about a route, you can feel more confident in that information.
Pop into a local...
Many adventurers go into backpacking trips with the mentality that they will “use the trip to build fitness.” While a trip will certainly help make you stronger, striking out on a big adventure with no foundation of training can easily lead to getting in over your head or hurting yourself. Not the best way to have a good time!
While simply doing more hiking can help us build our trail fitness, it’s important to remember that hiking isn’t the whole story. By training our bodies as holistic systems and reinforcing healthy, functional movement patterns, we can be stronger hikers.
Strength training before and between our outdoor adventures helps us build the resilience we need for injury-free outings. When we’re not derailed by pain or struggling to keep up, we can have more fun and focus on enjoying things like the beauty of our surroundings and the great company of our trip companions. As we build...
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