Today is World Health Day. The theme for 2017 is depression and the well-being of the mind.
To me the positive effects of camping and hiking to my mental stability are indisputable and I intend to continue practicing both. Potentially, as an entrepreneur (fingers crossed) I also get to take others closer to nature.
This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about my depression and spending time outdoors and how they work together. Your body experiences slight strain and you get fitter, your state of mind improves and gradually rids itself of excess stimulants. Better physique usually leads to a clearer mind.
The forests don’t judge us. They allow us to be who we are.
I personally think the social aspect of camping and hiking is also very important, whether it’s in team spirit, deep conversations or having the opportunity to be alone with our thoughts. This is one of the aspects I try to improve: not all people want to talk.
I still haven’t gone on a long hike on my own but it’s coming. The occasional storm within requires soothing every now and then.
I like to talk about preemptive mental health maintenance. And no, I’m not saying severe depression just goes away by going for a walk but it doesn’t hurt.
Daily grind and mental health
Companies like to use phrases like workplace health promotion and employee satisfaction. But to me, your well-being on your free time and how active you are, gives the necessary ingredients to fuel whatever it is you do for a living.
If your employee gives resources to work planning, management and work conditions, you’re half way there. However, in their end, it’s statutory and only partially actual caring.
Not everyone has a job and those who do and aren’t happy with it, can’t just choose a new career just like that. But if your free time is in order, you have the potential to think of your job from a different perspective.
I’ve been a technical customer advisor for several years now and every contact has always been about some sort of a problem with a faulty connection, device or a billing issue. This has done a number on my memory: I remember every little detail concerning my work and the different software we use but I have severe issues learning fishes for school or try to remember what time I was supposed to go for lunch with a friend.
It’s partially my depression’s fault. It impairs my short-term memory when I’m low on energy and makes an overachiever out of me when I’m hyped to compensate the former.
Then again, the fact that I’ll soon be relieved of the burden of work life, wasn’t exactly planned.
Occupation is an extremely unstable thing. Even large companies have lay offs and terminations and it’s always a surprise to whoever’s affected.
The stress of potentially losing your job added to having to remember all the ever-changing details plus the issues with an open-plan office and the growing demands… no wonder people are struggling to maintain their health and well-being.
As much as the people in my personal social media bubble work in flow states and wow effects and evolving and bubbly drinks and constant selfies with the best work friends anyone could ask for, my job description includes maybe a third of that. So I’m glad I get to try something else now. Wilderness guide studies first and then possibly entrepreneurship.
I suspect I still need to accept a different career at some point in my life but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming.
Even though this day is all about mental health, I find myself discovering how to develop my physical one as well. I’ve struggled and still do with my weight and I’m not in what you’d call good physical condition but nature and my upcoming career as a wilderness guide have both helped me so much. It puts me under a lot of pressure, in a positive way. I want to continue on this road to better physical health to be able to enjoy nature and hiking and camping and skiing. As a future wilderness guide, you need it!
Actually, I’ve established a separate project on Facebook to inspire people to achieve an uphill walking level of fitness. It’s in Finnish and it’s called “Sohvaperunasta eräoppaaksi” (From a couch potato to a wilderness guide) and you’re more than welcome to follow me, should the subject interest you and should you understand Finnish.
We’re not talking about a diet page here. It’s more a ponder on how to cope, how to drag yourself outside and hopefully, how to have successful experiences.
Want to go for a walk? Take the forest trail, it’s more effective and surprisingly, more comfortable too. It’s nothing like walking on pavement. Your balance builds up with all the obstacles. Add a tube backpack for extra effort!
During this spring and summer I’m going to get in shape in the most interesting ways. The fatbiking was a good start, don’t you think?
What the hell is World Health Day?
World Health Day is celebrated on April 7th which also happens to be the founding date of World Health Organization. Each year they choose a special health specific theme. This year, in the year 2017, as mentioned, it’s depression and the well-being of the mind.
During tomorrow people are encouraged to participate, as a community, to take part in health conducive activities. (Source: Finland UN union)
Likelygonehiking and the subject of health elsewhere
I was one of many speakers in the Konnevesi Research Station with the aforementioned theme. The seminar was called “Income and well-being from nature” and it was directed to nature entrepreneurs. They tend to focus on marketing in these seminars so my question is: how did they discover us? They also talked about productization of service and packaging and the strength of collaboration among small businesses. It’s all on video and can be found here. Personally I still haven’t found the courage to watch it.
The whole event was organized by two large projects: LuoKse (Nature-related services from Middle Finland) and Intriguing Landscape – a project to develop Rautalampi-Konnevesi nature travel. The last but by no way the least, JAMK and Visit Finland Outdoors.