Mental health and physical health are long time partners in wellness. Over the years we have all recognized as a nation how important it is to eat right and exercise. Being physically fit helps to ensure the possibility of a longer life, less doctor visits and more energy. We all know that right? So what's up with this mental health correlation? What's all the fuss about?
The biggest thing we have neglected as a nation when it comes to health care is mental health, not enough information, not enough resources and to top it all of it was a TABOO topic!
I have a multitude of friends and family who battle depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more but are too embarrassed to talk about it. I have battled with depression and anxiety myself and was humiliated and certainly could not afford health care or therapy. So like many others I was stuck. I would drink and party to cover up all of those feelings, then wake up with that old familiar friend depression again. It was a never ending loop. Late nights, bad decisions, mornings spent hungover, afternoons of eating salad and promising this was the last time I was going to feel this way, only to lather, rinse, repeat that evening. Day after day, year after year, binge after binge. I lost jobs, relationships, apartments, respect and had some close calls with the law. The depression worsened and so did the anxiety with NO foreseeable help or cure. I was a Trainwreck.
So what do you do when financially you do not have the resources to go to therapy twice a week? I began searching for ways to help my mental health for free or at the very least low cost. I stumbled over articles and know it all keyboard “clinicians” .. I suffered through click bait testimonials who wanted to sell me prescriptions. In the end I just got frustrated and fed up, so I went for a hike. A funny thing happened…. I instantly felt better. So the next day I went on another hike, and day after day I hiked. I found that my anxiety level went down, I found that my depression lessened. ALL FOR FREE. This is how my journey really started, one foot in front of the other on trail.
I began to drag my friends along, to annoy them with calls and texts to join me on my next expedition. . My friends began to realize I had caught some sort of :exercise bug” and that I was probably not going to let up. One even suggested it might be a good idea for me to become a trainer. I had literally NEVER thought of that. ME? A PERSONAL TRAINER?!l I was a party girl, a bartender, a functioning disaster if you will. How on earth would anyone take me seriously in that world? I didn’t even take myself seriously… BUT low and behold I couldn't shake that idea. I loved the way I felt being outdoors and feeling the sun on my skin, the fresh air, the racing heart beat from the challenging hikes.
It was time for a change and a big one. I put on my big girl pants and admitted defeat, the old way wasn’t working so It was time for a new set of rules. I relocated to a ranch in West Virginia to go to school to become a trainer and spend more time with my family. I dedicated the rest of my free time to being outdoors, I took up trail running, rock climbing and began sharing this passion with others. The more time I spent with my foot on a trail, perched on a rock or up in a tree the better I felt. After about a year, I had all but eliminated anxiety and depression. I was eating well and pumped the brakes on drinking for the most part. It was exhilarating, fresh air, clear mind and a strong healthy body. I felt like I was really on to something. I was determined to create a business that shared this with others, I wanted to help people feel better, I wanted to be real about my journey. Thus Venture Active was born.
It doesn't matter how you get outside, just do it. Here are a few of my favorite ways to put a smile on your face outdoors…
Hike (obviously )
Go for a Run
Take a Walk
Learn to Rock Climb
Ride a bike
The thing is, it doesn't matter what you are good at it matters how you feel doing it. Take it from me, open your door and take that first step outside, take a good deep breath and let your feet take you on an adventure into nature. You wont be disappointed, and if you need a buddy to go with the Venture team is always here!