I don’t know about you, but I want to stick it to “the man” when I am in a bad mood. And that man? Well… he’s unfortunately my dreams, my responsibilities, and my healthy habits. When I am (enter your negative emotion here), I want to say “screw it”! I want to shove my work and homework aside, and bust out ALL the pizza, ice cream and beer. When I’m upset, I want to revolt!
And to be honest, I used to take action in sticking it to the man! I was the queen of turning to food and booze for comfort, pushing off work, and vegging in front of the T.V. because I was over dealing with life. And you know where that got me? Further deep down the “bad mood” hole. Because on top of the bad mood, I now felt like crap. Physically from junk food, mentally from realizing I still had all that work ahead of me, and emotionally from staying stuck in a never-ending cycle I so desperately wanted to get out of.
I spent years in this cycle. I’d read all the magazine articles talking about the benefits of exercise and eating right, and think, “Ya… tell me something I don’t know”. I liked the thought of waiting for the magic pill rather than taking the hard look deep inside myself or taking that scary action. It took me getting to “rock bottom” (literally) before deciding I had to make a change. The very first step I took was going on walks in my neighborhood. My mom went with me, every morning at 5:30AM. Dark, cold, and bundled up in beanies and gloves. Those walks eventually become solo as I gained my confidence and started my own routine. I started getting creative with the loop I took. Then I started venturing out onto trails. For those of you who don’t know me, I grew up in the most outdoorsy, adventurous family. Hiking was by no means “new”. But I had lost myself so incredibly over the years, that I didn’t know which way was up anymore. Each hike brought me closer and closer to myself. Each hike brought me energy and confidence and creativity. I would come back from each hike with new ideas, new dreams, a new attitude, and a new outlook on life.
The best part is you don’t have to hike the Appalachian Trail to find this freedom and release. If you don’t live near a trail system, find a neighborhood with little vehicle traffic, or a street that has pretty trees, and just start. Start with a walk before work. Start with a walk just to let your dog do his business. But start! The first step is the hardest. It is the scariest. I know this from experience. But I also know from experience the freedom I have now. The freedom I gained from taking a scary step, and finding an outlet that saves my soul over and over again.