Hiking Together: Our Journey of Mental Wellness and Friendship

This year, Mental Health Awareness Week shines a spotlight on the impact of movement on our mental wellbeing.

Having returned from a weekend of hiking with fellow colleagues past and present, Cohesion Recruitment Manager, Sarah, was eager to share some reflections and experiences.

Amidst the chaos of our daily lives for Clare, Anna, and I there lies a sanctuary, a haven if you will, where our minds find solace, and our spirits rejuvenate – the great outdoors. We hike together, along with some former ‘Cohesioners’. Our current adventure, which we anticipate will continue for many years ahead, is the South West Coastal Path.

This past weekend, we tackled the trail from Woolacombe to Braunton, with hopes of completing the return trip to Braunton from the start point of Westwood-Ho on our second day. However, the scorching temperatures on Friday, whilst stunningly beautiful took us by surprise and had unforeseen impacts on our bodies in various guises…

Each step we take on our adventures together not only bring us closer to nature but also strengthens our friendships, which have been largely forged through our shared experiences on the trails.

The trust and understanding cultivated through our adventures have also supported our professional relationships, enhancing our communication, teamwork, and problem-solving together. As we have navigated through challenging terrains and overcome obstacles together, we have developed a deeper appreciation for each other’s strengths and a heightened sense of unity. I have to say I am so proud to work alongside these incredible women that I also hike with.

Hiking for me at least, is not just about reaching the summit or conquering miles of coastline; it’s a metaphor for life itself. Along the way, there are highs and lows, challenges to overcome, and moments of pure bliss: The view, always the view. Together, we navigate through rocky paths and steep inclines, supporting each other every step of the way and standing at the top of a mountain peak or gazing out at the vast expanse of the ocean, we are reminded of our place in the universe. It’s a humbling experience that fills me with gratitude and perspective.

It is not just about camaraderie; it’s also a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. As I trek, I find solace in the rhythm of my footsteps and the beauty of my surroundings, especially when my feet hurt, and they always do, that it is always a one-step-at-time approach. With each passing mile, I gain a deeper understanding of myself, instilling confidence and self-assurance, reminding me of my ability to overcome obstacles and achieve my goals.

Whilst, the physical exertion of hiking certainly brings aches and pains, it also fosters resilience and perseverance. We push our bodies to the limit… Friday was a testament to this. By the time our 18.6 miles were over and we crashed back at our ‘home’ for the weekend. There was sunburn, blisters and sweat rash in quantities and intensities that meant that we needed to  listen to our bodies and recognise that a change of plan for day two was required. We needed to finish early, and have time to rest and recharge.  A day at the beach following a steady 6-mile hike, from Barnstable back to Braunton was instead required. I do hope that this awareness extends beyond this weekend and into our everyday lives, empowering us to prioritise self-care and wellbeing. As I know we all tend to dig deep everyday and in true British style ‘CARRY – ON’.

Hiking is not just a physical activity; it’s a journey of mental wellness and friendship. Through the highs and lows, the aches and pains, and the breathtaking views, we have discovered the transformative power of nature and the bonds of friendship that endure through it all. So, I’ll continue to encourage our teams to lace up their hiking boots, and join us on our next path.

The trails are waiting… Just give us a few weeks to heal!

Cohesion are proud to support the Mental Health Foundation this Mental Health Awareness Week.

This year’s theme is movement: moving more for our mental health. Cohesion’s ‘Culture Club’ have plenty of activities planned for our teams including chair yoga, spring cleaning our workspaces (with a slice of cake as a reward!), lunchtime walks, sharing gratitude for our colleagues on our office ‘Positivity Tree’, and not forgetting a step challenge for good measure.

Find out more about MHAW: mentalhealth.org.uk/mhaw

MentalHealthAwarenessWeek MomentsForMovement

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