Using Hiking to Unwind

One day I was asked by a friend to go for a hike after work.  When she first asked me I hesitated to say yes.  Going for a hike on a week night? How could I do that when I have a hundred other things I have to do after work? Dinner, homework, household chores, preparing lunches for the next day, the list goes on and on. Plus, I am always drained after a busy day at work, how could I find the energy to go for a hike.  The other side of me did want to miss an opportunity to hit the trail so I agreed to meet her after work. 


As usual, it was a busy day without much down time.  As I changed from my work to my hiking clothes, I thought to myself, why did I agree to this, I just want to go home and crash.  I had made a commitment and needed to stick with it.  I met my friend at a local hiking trail. As we hit the trail the first ten minutes felt very difficult, I continued thinking to myself why I am putting myself through this torture.  As we started walking through the forest enjoying the tranquility of the moment, my mood changed, I started feeling more relaxed and started feeing that this was a great way to unwind after a busy day.  I started to feel all the stress of the day come off my shoulders.  We discussed our love for the outdoors and our favorite spots to visit, as well as the importance of having girl time and unwind after work.  We talked about self care and how hiking was a great way to take care of ourselves physically and mentally.


I hear so many women say they love to grab a glass of wine to relax after work, there is nothing wrong with that as I have partaken in an adult beverage from time to time after work, but there was something about being out in the woods that made me feel so much better.  We flushed a partridge, listen to a flowing stream, smelled the freshness of the air and enjoyed each other’s company while sharing our love for the outdoors.  One of the best parts of the hike was on the way back we bumped over a dozen deer, I have never seen that many deer up close before, I have to admit it was pretty cool. 


As I drove home I was surprised with how energized and relaxed that I felt.  We were only on the trail about an hour, but it was a good hour.  I got home with plenty of time to complete my normal tasks.  My husband noticed I was more relaxed than I normally am after work.  Now that it is getting lighter later I plan to do more hikes during the week.  I learned so much about the benefits of doing this, it helped me unwind from a busy day, I was well energized for the nights daily tasks. It felt good to talk to another woman who shared the same love I have for the outdoors. The next morning it was easier to get out of bed and I had more energy throughout the day.  My advice to other women: I know our lives are busy, but make time for yourself whether it is a solo adventure or with a friend get yourself out there to help relieve stress from our busy lives, your mind and body will thank you.