Four walls. Kids. TV. Devices. Cabin fever. No doubt you’re busting to unplug, getting out of the house and breathing some fresh air. If you’re anything like me, you probably can’t wait to go for a long walk in the bush (wilderness) and camp out under the stars for a few nights. Get away from it all and interact with nature again.
In all seriousness, maintaining one’s mental health has proved to be a very real challenge in this Covid-19 pandemic. With restrictions on when we can leave the house, how we can exercise, where we can exercise, it can get a bit depressing at times. So here are 3 ways you can “mentally” get out of the house and break out of the lockdown blues.
Take a look back at photos from previous hikes, trips and holidays. Relive the smells, the scenery, the highs, the lows, the things you did, the people you met, the challenges you overcame. These are the memories you’ve made for exactly this purpose – to think back on fondly and lift your spirits. Reminisce with your spouse and kids about that Easter camping trip down south years ago where you cooked damper for the first time. Call up a mate and laugh about that ski trip you took together in New Zealand. You never know, they might just need a lift themselves.
Of course, if you’re really struggling, there are resources and avenues for you to talk to someone and get professional and practical help. Beyond Blue’s dedicated caronavirus resources are a great place to start.
2) Plan your next hike, even if it’s imaginary
Get out the maps and plot the trail you’d love to walk when these travel restrictions ease. Or take a look at some fabulous online trail resources for trails in your area.
My personal favourite for Australia is from Trail Hiking Australia. It’s the most comprehensive I’ve seen. Just look at all the trails they’ve covered in Tasmania! Each walk is distanced and graded so you know what you’re up for. Click here to get started, select your state and start exploring! This is a brilliant way to pass the time and put a smile on your face at the same time.
Alternatively, AllTrails does a great job of showcasing trails all over the world. Each trail is graded, timed/measured and reviewed. Here are the links to the top eleven countries that frequent the Blister Prevention website:
Next, start thinking about the logistics of getting there and back, what food you’ll eat, water supplies, what gear to pack and all that. There’s heaps to think about here – this could keep you occupied for days! Here are a few resources to help you cover all the bases.
- Hartley Brody’s Adventure Blog – Planning a Hike for Dummies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Perfect Trip
- Trail Hiking Australia – Plan Your Hike
- The active Explorer – Backpacking and hiking logistics, Part 1: Transportation and Part 2: Planning and resupply
- Gear Junkie – Packing It Out: Thru-Hiking Food And Logistics
3) Educate yourself
First aid is probably the most important skill you can brush up on. I can’t think of a better way to prepare for getting out of the house and into the wilderness again. It’s a bit tricky when there’s no face-to-face classes being run. But that’s not to say there aren’t reputable resources you can learn from.
NOLS Wilderness Medicine
I thoroughly recommend NOLS Wilderness Medicine. Short of their actual courses, they have a collection of resources including case studies, tests and videos that will help you learn new things, I’m sure. Their blog is also an excellent source of information.
This online course from Base Medical might also be worth a look. It covers topics such as how to handle wilderness emergencies like hypothermia, heavy bleeding, broken bones, shock and wound care, plus when to call for help, when to evacuate, and what to do while you wait for rescue.
St John’s has a range of PDFs you can download on no less than 30 topics including snake bite, allergic reactions and severe bleeding.
Or make a start on a more traditional first aid course including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), AED and First Aid.
Fix My Foot Blisters Fast
If foot blisters are a big issue for you (and even if they’re not), upskill on blister prevention and treatment. Here’s why.
Firstly, we know blisters are the most common injury in hiking, and the last thing you need when you finally get out of lockdown and on your hike is to bear the unnecessary blight of a blister.
Secondly, you probably know that the more you’re on your feet, the tougher your skin gets and the more resistant they are to blisters. Now consider what your feet have been up to in the weeks and months preceding your first post-pandemic hike… probably not much. In fact, likely much less than usual. Getting out of the house for a big walk around the city, much less a long tramp in the back country.
Thirdly, I can guarantee you’ll learn about new products you’ll want to add to your blister kit. This is the perfect excuse to kill some time on your favourite online shopping platform. It’s a win-win!
If you haven’t guessed already, this is my course. I can categorically say it is the best online foot blister management course in the world – because it’s the only one in the world – that I know of, anyway! But seriously, this is the place to learn all the ins and outs of preventing and treating blisters on your hike. Don’t take my word for it, take a look at the curriculum of Fix My Foot Blisters Fast.
Bonus activity: Restock your medical kits
It’s not unusual to sprain your ankle, burn your hand or get a foot blister whilst hiking, reach into your first aid kit, only to realise you’ve run out of the exact thing you need. So, whilst you have this downtime, pull your first aid and blister kits out and lay out all their contents. Is anything missing? Based on your new-found knowledge, is there anything you’d like to add? Do you know how to use everything in it?
From my end, I can offer some tips for foot care items and gear you’ll need to pack. To help you get started, I’ve prepared a list of categories and products you can consider adding to your gear and kit. You can download the list here.
Now is the time to get yourself prepared for getting out of the house, finally. Make the most of this extra time on your hands. Reminisce over previous trips; plan your next outdoor adventure; upskill and educate yourself; and restock your medical kits.