Monday, 19 June 2017

Why the outdoors is good for my mental well-being and confidence …

15 years ago I was working full time teaching in the outdoors with a fledgling company, a young family. Having just completed a trip of a lifetime on the Grand Canyon … life was pretty good on the whole! Sure, not everything was perfect, my wife at the time was from England struggled with the cultural differences and distance from her family and I didn’t really get it and was/am not the best communicator, but we were making a go of it.

My confidence/well-being (I see these intrinsically linked) was high! When life got turned upside down in a moment. For those who don’t know a client drowned while I was instructing … not the work story you want to live out …

I see confidence is like an egg shell … press on it one way it is incredibly strong but smack it from the other direction it shatters … my life-dream on kayaking full time, having it as a family business disappeared overnight … along with my confidence and well-being … it was a dark and moody place one at times I just didn’t want to see. At times I just wanted it to end or I end it.

I withdraw into myself … trying to answer the why, how, when, what … not communicating well with anyone … eventually, I went back to what I knew … sitting in a boat or on a bike or running, racing as an individual the only focus was me … it was how I could survive … one session at a time … it felt familiar … it allowed some of that eggshell to be repaired, to grow stronger.

I ended up, back building, not by choice but a necessity, I did not enjoy my apprenticeship and really struggled with going back on the tools. It felt like life was one big deep dark rut with no way out.
Racing in multisport and triathlon events certainly gave some hope, it got me back into the hills and rivers back into areas where I felt at home, it grew my confidence, but the demons were still there.
I started to identify what I required to be in a positive frame of mind and kept looking at where I could do this …

The first was to surround me with people who had a positive outlook on life … get rid of the negatives … this meant not seeing or minimising contact with some friends and family or work colleagues.

The second was to create goals, firstly in the area of recreation as it was the most familiar area, secondly in my career.

The third was to learn what triggers the dark periods … this is an ongoing process …

The fourth was to learn how to minimise the effect of those triggers … removing myself from a situation, withdrawing to think about what has gone on – sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.

The fifth was to learn how to get out of the spiral … which is the second step … set goals small steps.

Along the way the goals became bigger and bolder, the went from being solo to being duo/group/team goals. Each time I went back to my roots of being in the outdoors, being active in the outdoors, sharing activity in the outdoors … the stronger my confidence and the better my well-being has become.

So, what is about the outdoors which builds this confidence and well-being, I believe it is life becomes simplified, less complicated back to the basics of shelter, warmth, food, companionship, shared experiences, trust and reliance on yourself and others.

Where has it lead me to … a point in life as I enter my 52nd winter, where I am nearly back to the point I was 16 years ago with confidence but a stronger and more knowledgeable way of dealing with the dark holes. I still recognise that I am not the best communicator but I am working on it!

Life is not easy, it is full of challenges – some we choose to take on and others we have no choice to take on – but what is our choice is what we can learn from them, sometimes the learning does not appear immediately …


Monday, 1 May 2017

Wow! Where did the last 12 months go?

It has been 12 months since I last wrote anything, can't believe where that time has gone.

Last may I hadn't long returned to living in Nelson again, I am still here, settling back into the Nelson lifestyle and loving it!

During that year I set up and continue to develop and run my own business. I knew from having lived in Nelson previously, there are not a lot of jobs going so knew I had to create work ... so West Wind Projects Ltd was born.

One year down the track it is starting to feel like a full time job ... so what am I doing?
I specialise in Property Inspections mainly Pre-Purchase, so when someone is purchasing a house and requires a building report. Other reports have been Pre-Sale, Earthquake Damage and Certificate of Acceptance.

While it was slow last year, I took the opportunity to upskill myself and through the New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors, have been studying for a Diploma of Building Surveying. This has been great in giving me a stronger professional network, access to a large number of resources and expertise.

Too say the last year has been challenging is a bit of an understatement! But I have loved just about every minute of it ... there is always tough times ... but that is often where the most learning was.

Meanwhile on the recreational side of life, my mountain biking skills have developed ... just that there is no choice living here in Nelson :-) After seven years I got back on the river to do some whitewater paddling, slipped into the hills for the odd walk, Found some coastline to explore sea kayaking. #lifeisgood

If that wasn't enough we purchased a VW van and fitted that out for trips away ... GAV as he affectionally known (Get Away Van) ...
Meanwhile we spent sometime at Project Remeka planting trees and building a bridge. I also manage to get away for a few days to work as crew on the NZEnduro race one of the wettest vents I have worked on ... but helps of fun!

So what will the next 12 months bring Helen and I ... plans for a new house are currently being drawn up at the moment ... I think that will keep me busy and loose some of this extra waist line I am developing while sitting behind a desk ... more on that as it happens.

Also we have signed up for Tour Aotearoa again ... yep once in a lifetime event  ... twice!
Cheers Brett