I mentioned in previous post the need to balance out life for the sake of everything (your family, work and yourself). It is very important to give yourself the time to reflect on things going on and take some time to wind down and relax to keep that balance in equilibrium.
I work full time as an EMT for the ambulance service where I work varied shift pattern of nights and days sometimes in a fast moving environment and sometimes quite traumatic mentally.
I also work as an on-call firefighter where we are only called to duty through a paging system this means that for 90 hrs in a week I need to be available for fire calls.
Along with everything else: running a house etc I still find the time to unwind and process some of the jobs that I have attended.
For me, getting outside with my Day pack full of my items that I can use to make camp, build a fire, brew a coffee and whittle a spoon is the way I unwind.
Throwing up the hammock amongst the trees and laying back and processing some of the incidents I have recently attended allows me to better myself next, look at my mistakes and stops me from dwelling on traumatic jobs.
There is definitely something about being outdoors assisting with depression (not that I suffer with depression) but is this due to me balancing out life and giving myself ample time outdoor?
Just the other day I was refuelling the car before heading out for the morning and the sudden whiff of the diesel took me back to a life changing event in my life where myself and my wife where nearly killed in the Asian Tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2004 so most of that morning was used contemplating that traumatic event, how we were so lucky and how that event has lead to me doing what I do and being who I am.
Ever had that experience when sounds and smells take you back to a place or event in your life? Well, this ‘trigger’ is a in built animal instinct which can trigger that fight or flight instinct. The smell trigger warns a animal of a danger perhaps scent of a predator or scent of rancid or poisonous food where sound warns the animal of a possible danger. The sound of screaming takes me back to that event standing on the beach in Sri Lanka.
How do we deal with these triggers? Well through my own experience they will always be with you it’s about processing those warning signs and realising that they are now a inbuilt warning system. Due to work, I go through traumatic events on a weekly basis and it’s learning how to process them and use them to your advantage.
Black humour is a way of emergency service staff processing the events we deal with if you where to walk into any crew room and hear the black humour you would think what a messed up load of people we are but this is a coping mechanism.
I generally spend my ‘me time’ during the week when the wife is at work and the kids are at school. This allows me to balance time with family and giving some time to myself which I feel is needed for everyone.
I’ll go out with the dog, walk along the river stalking some pike, spend some time contemplating whatever has been happening or what I’m planning. Creating little adventures / goals is a great way of giving you some downtime from day to day chores that will assist in you reaching your goals.
Plan what you want to do. Micro adventuring doesn’t needs to be expensive but set aside a un-used bank account and setup a standing order and put what ever you can afford into it weekly and soon funds will be to help you reach your goals.
Enjoy the planning, follow this site for further posts on micro adventure ideas.
We are all limited with time due to work, family and other time consuming things, so utilising what precious time we all have to spending it with our families which then gives great memories and also teaches the little ones a thing or two.
I have recently been spending more of the little spare time I have more effectively by creating little micro adventures for us all to enjoy.
Micro adventures are a great way at utilising time for yourself giving you more time to really relax and unwind by doing things instead of wasting that precious time.
So I plan micro adventures for myself and also for the family. Not every member of the family will enjoy the same adventure. So as I work shifts I plan ‘me time’ when the wife is at work and the kids are at school.
Turn a dog walk into a lunch and a coffee in the woods or on the beach.
Even if you haven’t got a dog a walk out will do great for your mentally. I have a Day bag I use which houses everything I need for a micro adventure. I carry a tarp, fire lighting kit, wood gas stove, pot, water bottle, coffee making kit, snacks, length of paracord, knife and my wood carving tools.
I’ll then walk the dog and spend some time just relaxing between the trees making a brew and pretending that I’m good at carving.
Even throw up a tarp and practice fire lighting skills, the last dog walk out I took my youngest and we lit a fire using Birch bark and a fire steel so he learnt how to use natural tinder to light a fire.
Micro adventure can be anything really: geocaching, foraging, animal tracks, wood carving, paddling down the river, outdoor cooking etc.
We regularly go to the beach after school and will cook our meal on the beach just to be outside.
Fishing is a great way to get out and spend sometime outside. I will carry a fishing bag and walk the dog along the river and spin for pine whilst walking along. It’s not always productive but get to see loads just standing there and walking along the river
A jetboil in my bag and some coffee adds a little more to the adventure.
So with a few days off and after a night hammock camping I took the dog along the beach from Walberswick to Dunwich along the Suffolk coast.
It was a beautiful day off shore wind and se was calm. Stopped half way along his behind the dunes and used the jet boil for a coffee break and just enjoyed being outdoors.
I’m lucky enough to have use of a 2.5 acre piece of land that borders the river Waveney on the Norfolk Broads. So after finishing a set of busy night shift working for the Ambulance service I grabbed a few hours kip and then filled the car and headed of just up the road.
Initially I was camping with a friend and colleague who I completed the Fjällräven Classic with in Sweden in the summer but due to his boiler breaking down I was Billy no mates. But that didn’t really bother me as I was looking forward to a quite night on my own.
I had planned of cooking a roast leg of lamb in the Dutch oven but forgot to take it out of the freezer so whilst picking up my beer supply I picked up a lump of pork as well.
It’s much easier setting up without my young boys didn’t have to keep beckoning to their command so got the hammock and tarp set up and then got the cooking area done.
I built a fire reflector and hammered some sticks in to crest a hang for the Dutch oven over the fire.
So pork in the oven with some veg and time to have a beer and let it slowly cook.
I had brought my carving tools and a piece of green birch to try my first attempt at a Sami Pukko sheath. It didnt go to bad but later on when pinning it together I managed to split the end so had to cut it off.
The night was pretty cold and the temperature dropped below zero but I was really warm using a down sleeping bag as a quilt and the DD Hammocks under quilt on the hammock.
I had a good sleep fuelled by beer and lack of sleep from the previous night shifts I relit the fire and got breakfast on the go.
The great thing about using a Dutch oven is just flicking the lid over to cook on. I love using a Dutch oven although they are heavy they are so versatile.
Sitting there in the evening I was warm next to the fire and with a reindeer hide lent up against the fire deflector I had a nice place to sit and learn to carve this sheath.
Final finished piece.
So with a weekend off and weather not to bad it was time to take the boys out and have a day by the fire.
So with the car packed we headed to a piece of land we use for a day outside cooking, bushcraft and carving.
So with a fire kit we put our food on which was going to beef stew served with bannock and started having a go at carving our spoons.
We where using green wood so was a little easier for the boys to carve with. Ethan was using his new knife he got for his birthday. He got a opinel #7 which is a great first knife as the end is rounded and is lockable.
I had taken my carving kit so helped them remove the middle with the hook knife.
We cooked our stew and baked bannock on the lid of the Dutch oven.
Bannock is very easy to make just self raising flour, a little oil, salt and water to make a dough.