Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. So I am not qualified to give any medical advice and therefore this following post should basically be considered as hogwash. It’s not to be taken literally or seriously or in any way. So let’s go.

I was diagnosed with a mental issue years ago. But I’m not on any medication, I’m fully willing and able to go to work and to live a fairly normal life. I do suffer from an eating disorder and I am overweight. Although not as much as I used to be.

I didn’t get where I am by doing what the title suggests and just going outside. In my youth I tried all the prescriptions the doctors gave me. I’ve been to therapy for three years in my adult life, which isn’t free, even though KELA helped me out a bit.

After said therapy I gave up the medication, which is not something you should necessarily do. However, for years now I’ve been self-medicating with the me-for-myself/It-will-pass treatment. In other words, I’ve learned to tolerate my depression more efficiently – my good days last longer and I can tell the states of mind apart. I’m able to control the ups and downs and I accept that depression, no matter how mild and sometimes severe it can be, is a part of my basic construct. And that no amount of meds can get rid of it without causing other problems.

Now, after that impromptu rant, let’s get down to business.

Enough sleep, diverse diet and exercise shield the brain’s chemistry and with that, your state of mind. It’s a pre-emptive course of action against depression. Once it’s hits to you, though, camping won’t save the situation.

If something doesn’t interest you, you can still give it a try but it won’t necessarily become your thing, you know? The outdoors, however, has this funny way of accumulating positivity. The more you spend time outside, the more you want. So just try it!

Sleep: I personally sleep best outdoors. I might even snore, which is saying something. A good night’s sleep will give you energy for days!

When you’re outdoors, the exercise is usually long lasting and happens with a slow heart rate. With weight loss, this is most optimal on the efficiency/comfort scale. Hiking is surprisingly nice, even for someone who doesn’t like to exercise.

The food tends to be a bit more modest when compared to your everyday life, even if you’re like me and usually eat more outdoors. But then again, this way you’ll spend time away from the fridge! The hunger, much like the energy, stays with you for a dew days.

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A spiritual ventilation

The most important thing, however, is to find a way to leave the “mundane” behind. The fresh air, the weight of the backpack, a sturdy shoe aiding your foot or leading your ski forward. I dodge a few branches, check my bearings and just enjoy. Even a small shower is often a nice thing.

Your thoughts either run in circles of they don’t but eventually your mind is free of unnecessary burden.

A pleasant hobby increases your freetime well-being and through that, your occupational well-being as well. It makes it easier to cope with the mundane and the stress and lack of time.

I’ll be the first to admit that even if you like your job and find it meaningful, the utter uncertainty of work life and being unsure of you own workmanship – not to mention how every Winter you spend the few hours of light available in a cubicle…it can get kind of hard. No matter how well things are. I mean, I don’t want to generalize but that’s my take on it. It’s also why I’m a bit of a hike-a-holic.

A question on Twitter: can you get addicted to a carrying instrument?

Someone thought the name of our “main” blog Rinkkaputki is stupid (a play on words, the original work being putkirinkka, which means a tube backpack. Putki can also mean a booze bender, so..) He understood the play on words but felt it was meaningless, irritating and that the origin doesn’t show in our communication. I’d hoped that if you’re able to understand the wordplay, you’d also try and get the meaning.

But it helped me understand that I have yet to really bear my soul to you, dear readers. Our content is harmless and light.

I’m not an alcoholic and therefore can’t say that I’ve quit drinking and started hiking instead but I’ve had my struggles in past relationships, in addition to the aforementioned depression.

The word “putki” refers to these as well, these extremely personal details, not all of which are the main reason to go outside. Not anymore.

In the beginning of this hobby, I received encouragement from the Hiking Class, joy from learning and childlike excitement from just seeing green moss.

So I’d go as far as to say that a helpful addiction steered me away from the bad ones.

You will receive feedback when you write a blog. That comment would’ve been harmless to anyone else and even to me, had the situation been different. But it was right after a very stressful chain of events: a radio AND TV interview on the previous day, which to someone with a small case of misanthropy and stage freight, is an ordeal on its own. I’m an odd mix of introvert and extrovert and sometimes balancing with crying under a blanket and shaking with excitement it’s like walking on the edge of the knife I got for Christmas.

But I’m grateful that someone started a conversation. Sure, I’m interested as to why one would reach out in such a way but let’s not get too caught up with that.

Obviously we won’t be changing the name. We like this one. And it reminds me that you should never take outdoor life for granted.

Does hiking help with depression?

To be clear, I suggest hiking and trekking as a pre-emptive course of action. Blogging might not be a part of that unless you do it perfectly with zero mistakes ever without asking anyone their opinion. On its own, hiking rarely does the trick but as additional treatment it’s worth the shot.

With addictions? Yes, because people suffering from addictions need healthy and productive outlets. But again, same with this: seek help.

I hope my future work as a wilderness and nature guide will help me reach out to people who might feel lost in life. Together we can find the very same joy of the outdoors I found. Whether it’s depression, obesity or loneliness – I have an inkling as to what it feels like.

//Anne

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