People often say to me "I think it is great that you are now running a business that is doing something that you love". I nod enthusiastically and tell the world that I am living the dream. Walking has meant the world to me for many years but I am no longer walking for me, I am walking to get people outside and feel the same benefit that I have known for so many years.
But, there is a bit of a dark side that I have not spoken about. Since selling my Marketing Agency back in April last year I have felt a bit lost. It wasn't until I was sitting in the doctors on Monday thinking that I was perhaps suffering with the start of the menopause or that depression was weaving its way into my life that I realised what the problem was.
Dr Supple asked me one question which gave me some hope and made me realise why I was feeling down. What has changed for you in the last six months?
I won't go into detail until I feel the time is right, but one element of my life that has changed rather dramatically is walking. This time last year I had an established morning routine, I was listening to audio books and motivational podcasts during my morning walk. I would spend my Sunday's going out for hours on a geocaching hunt while Matt watched Formula One on TV. I would scope out new walks for Adventure Geek on my own and enjoy discovering new trails. I would spend time making the clouds into big fluffy elephants and enjoyed setting up photo shots to capture the beauty of the walk. Sitting in that doctors office it dawned on me that I no longer spent time with my best friend on an impromptu Salcey Forest walk at silly o clock on a Sunday morning, nor do Rachel and I go for our evening strolls and put the world to right.
That is what has changed. I was no longer walking for me. Walking was now a job, and every walk was an opportunity to do something for Adventure Geek. The old workaholic had crept up on me and was back in full force! When Dr Supple asked me what do I do in spare time nowadays I found myself saying "watching Netflix". That is not me.
How had I got to this point in my life where I had gone full circle. I felt like a hypocrite as I talk about getting outside for good mental health and how walking in nature can revitalise your soul, but sitting in that doctors chair I realised that walking was in my blood. I need it to survive. I need to be outside in nature with my own thoughts and a bit of solitude if I want to flourish as an individual and be true to the real, authentic me.
Ironically, I had walked to the doctors surgery which was just over 2 miles. The walk back home gave me the space needed to make some decisions. I needed to focus on the positives that I wasn't going through the menopause (yet) and neither was I depressed. I just needed to get back to basics and that needed to start with my morning routine.
How to get motivated in the morning?
Tuesday morning as the alarm went off at 5am, I decided that rather than making a coffee and getting all cozy on the sofa downstairs with my journal (and YouTube!) that I would go for a walk instead. This is a bit embarrassing, but I shoved my outdoor onesie over my PJ's, put a bobble hat (with flappy ears) on my head, brushed my teeth and grabbed my airpods then opened the front door. The cold air hit me and a smile spread over my face. My 13 year old Cocker Spaniel dog, Poppy, looked at me and started wagging her tail. Blimey, Poppy also wanted to go for a walk, which is unheard of! I grabbed her lead and shoved a few dog poo bags in my pocket... let's do this.
That is the first time I have been outside before 6am in a very long time and boy did it feel good. I only walked a few miles and it was still dark when I got back. I had my airpods but couldn't bring myself to fill my brain with anything. I just needed solitude. I needed to feel the cold wind against my face and the hear the birds waking up. I waved at the bin men as they made their way to work and smiled at other mad dog walkers who were out at this crazy time.
I got back about 6.30am and Matt had already gone to work. I made a coffee, and wrote in my journal. Today's journal entry just flowed. It didn't feel forced and I wasn't rushing to get it done so that I could crack on with my emails and my very long to do list, I just let it happen. A new idea sprang to mind and I could feel a snippet of the old magic appearing.
We all need alone time to make space for peace in our lives and to ignite those creative juices. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my job and it is by far the best business that I have ever created. The people that join me on my walks are like minded souls, fun loving and genuinely lovely people and this is the best part about what I do. I now have a small team of volunteer walk leaders, which gives me the space to spend time with the people on my walks. If I am not leading a walk, then you will often find me in the middle of the pack or at the back in deep conversation with my fellow hikers.
Moral of the story, if you are feeling a bit down in the dumps, then go for a walk and clear those cobwebs away. Don't let the cobwebs build up, and take a walk in nature as often as you can.