Author Topic: How do you do beat 'hiking depression?'  (Read 866 times)

gunwharfman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1128
How do you do beat 'hiking depression?'
« on: 10:11:14, 12/11/17 »
Some people may never have experienced this 'feeling' but I have, I've called it hiking depression, not a good description I'm sure but I can't think of a better one at the moment.

I must admit that on odd occasions on a long hike in particular I sometimes lose the motivation to go on. I hate days like this. On a couple of occasions over the past few years, I just gave up and came home, just couldn't beat my hiking 'blues' and I still feel guilty about it. I've returned and completed these hikes but I still remember those dad days.

Summit

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1170
Re: How do you do beat 'hiking depression?'
« Reply #1 on: 10:38:23, 12/11/17 »
I remember a few years back on the West Highland way. At the end of day two from Balmaha to Inverarnan. The route is already difficult between Inversnaid and Inverarnan but the weather had been really wet. The route was littered with wet slippy tree roots, deep mud and paths running with water. I was tired wet and I def felt hiking depression.


I remember leaving you Reg to camp at The farm campsite while we made our way to accommodation at Tyndrum. At Tyndrum we saw a bus that said "Glasgow via Glasgow Airport". I genuinely felt that low I wanted to get on that bus to the airport and fly away to the sun.
BURN FAT NOT OIL

pauldawes

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1046
Re: How do you do beat 'hiking depression?'
« Reply #2 on: 11:44:29, 12/11/17 »
Never had it in those circumstances. But most likely down to different types of walking two of us do. I just go out on day walks of about 6 to 10 miles...whereas I know you do multi day trips, and longer day walks.


My form of “walking depression” shows itself in not having motivation to go out at all. Making effort to seek out new “terrain” helps. As does buying new kit to build up a bit of “guilt” to encourage me to get out.


Possibly most useful tip I got was from a friend who took part in several of the 100 mile challenge walks set by Long Distance Walkers club. It was something like “We veteran walkers know pleasure and motitavation will be low at some point of the walk. But we also know if we keep plodding on all will be well”.


Mind you he was a guy who still...many years later..regrets dropping out of his first 100 mile challenge at the 77 mile mark. Low motivation for him would most likely count as high for me.

gunwharfman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1128
Re: How do you do beat 'hiking depression?'
« Reply #3 on: 12:19:32, 12/11/17 »
I'm not happy with my word choice and regret using it now. I do not want to cause confusion, the hiking feeling I identified is not depression in the clinical meaning sense, maybe I should have used the term 'hiking sadness?'

For me, its a day when my mood becomes low, a common feeling at times and when it happens I just 'walk' through it mostly. But just now and again the 'feeling' takes me over and I just cannot return to an even keel. As an individual I do not suffer from mood swings or depression in my day to day life, but I assess for myself that I am prone to it when I am overly tired, exhausted, cold, wet, lonely and so on and I should have been sensible and should have taken a hiking day off perhaps?

It nearly happened to me this year when I hike the Glndwrs Way. I experienced some really awful rainy weather and nearly gave up but I just erected my tent, got in and stayed there from about 3.00pm to 7.00am. It worked a treat because the next morning the mood thing had completely disappeared.

At another level that's what I like about long distance hiking, the amazing variation of experiences that I can go through, the physical and psychological demands that it makes on me and the excitement that it can sometimes offer especially when wild camping.

sparnel

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 821
Re: How do you do beat 'hiking depression?'
« Reply #4 on: 13:29:48, 12/11/17 »
On a slightly different note, and not to hijack Reg's subject, my mind works overtime when I'm walking.  Think about lots of different things; John Hillaby called it the skull cinema. Great description!

gunwharfman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1128
Re: How do you do beat 'hiking depression?'
« Reply #5 on: 13:44:55, 12/11/17 »
I have started to use an entertaining app which I'm sure I will use on my next hike. Its called Zello. Listening to real people in real time from across the globe about all sorts of subjects is wackily intersting. I listened to a man from the USA this morning telling the listeners how to prepare a rattlesnake for an evening meal. If inclined anyone can join in the conversations.

fernman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1433
Re: How do you do beat 'hiking depression?'
« Reply #6 on: 14:17:10, 12/11/17 »
Perhaps that's what you miss, GWM, having other people around you and to talk to?
I'm the opposite, I'm happy by myself and I'm so used to not seeing anyone else on my trips that I felt there were too many during my last one (around Snowdon).

I can't say that what you describe in your OP affects me in that way. What I have had in the past, when the going got tough during the first few hours of a muliple-day walk, i.e. the first really steep climb, was that I would start asking myself why was doing this when I could be doing nice, gentle touristy things. But I always persevered, I never gave up for that.

I've cut planned routes short a number of times, though, usually because of the weather (non-stop rain, or gales, or thick mist) and in one instance for an ankle injury.

Several times, too, I've finished a trip and sworn I never want to do anything like it ever again, after all the effort of tromping about in pathless mountains, carrying a weighty pack and wild camping. But it's not long before all that is forgotten and I'm planning the next trip! Maybe there's a bit of a masochist in me.

tenmilesplus

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 44
Re: How do you do beat 'hiking depression?'
« Reply #7 on: 18:59:25, 12/11/17 »
 :-[

  I also suffer from a lack of enthusiasm but my main issues are depression related.. Walking is what keeps me sane but getting off the sofa is just the start, once I'm out I love the Countryside, distance is generally no issue in fact the longer the better.. on the odd occasion I have just stopped, can't take another step, my head is empty, I just can't seem to engage and co-ordinate, the first time it happened I just sat on the path and waited for something to happen, it took over an hour of sitting with an empty head for me to realise that the only way home was to get up and no one is getting me there I was going to have to do it myself... Luckily I was on my own so it was only my day effected.. Although this has happed several times over the years the result is always the same, the satisfaction in the achievement far outweighs the event.. I do wish though I could be more positive more of the time but we are all different aren't we...

 I am desperate to prove to myself I can go all the way on my own which is why I like the idea of the Test way, it is local to where I live, pretty direct, short enough to do in 2-3 days so all in not too intimidating.. Keep telling myself, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it...

 
Gone for a walk, back in a bit..

tonyk

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1543
Re: How do you do beat 'hiking depression?'
« Reply #8 on: 09:48:41, 13/11/17 »
I think everyone goes through these type of feelings on a long walk,especially a long distance multiday walk.Rain,pain,boredom etc can soon drag you down.Its just part of the package and has to be balanced by the good days when everything seems perfect.I have found the best solution is just to put my head down and get on with it in the hope that tomorrow will be better.As Wainwright said in his Pennine Way Companion "you can always lay down and die". ;)

NeilC

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 301
Re: How do you do beat 'hiking depression?'
« Reply #9 on: 10:17:51, 13/11/17 »
Rum.


I carry a flask of it. When things get tough, I take some time out and have a shot or two of rum, maybe in a coffee if it's cold. Hey presto, 10 mins later I'm glowing and enthusiastic again!


I've got a bothy bag which is a real spirit-lifter for really bad weather. I find if I'm walking on an exposed route and the driven rain is all I have to look forward to for the foreseeable then it's not entirely enjoyable. Either on my own or with mates (mine's a 4 man one)_, you can get in, out of the weather, have a cuppa (additional rum optional) and a biscuit before facing the elements again. It weighs a bit but worth it for crappy weather.


Also setting little mini goals can help. Like "I'll break into the pack of Snickers and make a hot drink when reach that point of the map". Gives you something to look forward to and breaks things up.


I find winter camping a bit of bore at times. The trouble in the UK winter is the limited daylight. The sun can set like 4pm and not rise until around 8am. Obviously you can walk a bit either side in the twilight but it still means one hell of a long time alone in a tent. I like being alone walking in lovely countryside but staring up at ripstop nylon for 14 hours is tedious even with the radio or a Kindle.

Doddy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 187
Re: How do you do beat 'hiking depression?'
« Reply #10 on: 12:13:40, 13/11/17 »

 Mini goals are good. Eat well, sleep well and you will walk well. Don't listen to your inner chimp.
Visualisation helps, have a success mantra. From my sponsor. ;)  e.g Just do it. Do mental exercises whenever your brain goes into the dark place'...count, recite the alphabet, sing, imagine sweeping the thoughts and fear away with a broom. It takes practice and gets easier with time. I conjugate French verbs -now that does take your mind off things.
Consider the good feeling you have when you are describing successful walks to family and friends or reliving them yourself.  Look around you and really see and describe to yourself the countryside, birds, and animals you are seeing. Have a MP3 player and really listen and think about the words and music. At the time exchange/relive happy experiences with the sad time thoughts you are having.
I wouldn't consider drinking alcohol. I also keep away from social media; hearing how lovely everyone is and are missing you, or hearing of home trauma does not help if you are in a foreign land. Never quit on a bad day; better yet never quit- from my marathon experiences -get through it. If you quit once they tell me it is easier to quit the next time.
Lots to think about there and you don't need all of them, certainly not all at once.
You might guess I have done some multi hundred mile walks and as soon as any terrible weather, negative thoughts, injury niggles occur I do some of the above mentioned. I have heard of people on major hikes sobbing with homesickness in the middle of nowhere miles from home; you need a strategy to overcome these feelings.
 

pleb

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544

pleb

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544

pleb

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544

April

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4627
Re: How do you do beat 'hiking depression?'
« Reply #14 on: 20:29:55, 13/11/17 »
 ;D Pleb are you feeling alright? Is this what you listen to cheer yourself up?  :o
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong