These days I am always looking for an activity or hobby that can keep me present and in the moment, and that is also fun or at least entertaining. For me, focusing on one task at a time is an issue. My mind races constantly while I’m contemplating to-do lists and planning for the future. Staying grounded in reality and being aware of what I can control in the particular moment I am in is how I maintain moments of peace.
That being said, I am always up for trying new things so when my boyfriend bought me a ski lesson and asked me to join him at a ski resort I took him up on the offer. Although I was excited to try something new, I almost allowed my nerves and fears to hold me back and the day of my lesson I had a small panic attack. One of my anxiety triggers is being in an unfamiliar place. I become hyper aware of my surroundings when this happens, and I have to consciously bring myself back to the present.
When we arrived at the resort most of the anxiety was gone, but was replaced with fears and doubt: both the rational and the irrational. “Can I do this?” “I’m not athletic; what if I break my leg?” “What if I hate it?” “What if I fall off the ski lift and no one notices and I stay there all night and freeze to death?”
Once I was suited up and fitted for my skis, most of the fears had subsided as well. There were only three other people in my lesson, and it was easy to get out of my own head and into this activity, which isn’t always the easiest for me. As the day progressed I would periodically notice that I hadn’t thought about irrational fears or even been anxious in hours, and that skiing made me focus, intentionally without being distracted by what was going on in my own head.
I’m sharing this story because that day I found out that taking a step out of my comfort zone may be one of the tools I can use to combat my anxiety, and facing those fears I have can allow me to overcome them and move forward in finding peace of mind. It can be difficult when you are in the thick of an anxious spell and you’re just trying to function day to day and give all of yourself to friends, family`, and work. Taking time to do something that takes all of your focus and leaves no room for worry is essential, and now that I have experienced it, must be implemented in my lifestyle and daily routines. I doubt my boyfriend knew about the positive impact skiing would be on my mental health. I think he just wanted his girlfriend to try something that he loved so that we could do it together going forward. I’m grateful either way, and I am already looking forward to the start of next season.