On Mountains, Time and Head Space…

Sometimes I think too much…. Actually, most of the time I think too much! I am very much guilty of allowing my head to become filled with all too many thoughts and getting more than a little lost in there.

After six days on the highest mountain in Africa, I found that I had spent a long time in my own head. Over the long days of hiking, my friends and I covered most conversational and philosophical subjects. We reminisced, joked, laughed, philosophised and theorised for hours on end. But when the conversations went quiet, and the climb more difficult, we all became lost in our own thoughts.

Each of us, in our own way, were climbing our very own mountain. A personal mountain where you fight your own thoughts and fears. Even though we were taking this challenge together – this was our own battle.

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When things become tough, you start to give yourself a stern talking to in your mind. I remember talking myself through every step, telling myself that you’ve come through tougher things than this, that you can do this, and that you are stronger than you feel right now.

I also remember reliving tough events in my life – a strange comparison test. What was worse? While some of the things I was comparing had absolutely no real link, I couldn’t help but fall deeply into that strange, dark place that I usually keep locked up – compartmentalised so as not to become a place I stay.

One of the strangest things about the mental after-effects of this is that it has taken a few weeks for me to be able to step away from that place in my head. Going straight back into work without a break was probably not the best plan post-mountain – I went from an emotionally busy head space to a busy working head space. I found myself getting stuck in my own head when I needed to be sociable, focused, and on my best form.

It is easy to forget that, after a physical and emotional battle, you need time to process and place everything back into their boxes and compartments. You need time to yourself – not to talk, but to just be.

Thanks to a school trip duty, I am unexpectedly getting a chance to do just that. I am currently out in Mombasa, Kenya, looking out on the Indian Ocean from my balcony. Due to the fact that the swim coach needs me only as an additional adult at the hotel, I am able to ‘just be’ while the five students I am supervising are competing in their competitions. It is valuable time to catch up on my head, my heart, (not to mention catch-up on work!) and take in the beauty that is this coast. I did not realise how much I needed this until I got here…

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