This week our blog author is Jen. She’s an inspirational person. Her business, Excelsior Adventures, offers guided hill walks. She started it after recognising the benefits that hill-walking had on her own mental health. She tells us how she has coped during lock-down while the hills have been shut.

What did I do when the hills were shut?

Running a business can be challenging at the best of times, never mind during a worldwide pandemic. My business, Excelsior Adventures, is really a seasonal business. As much as I would love to be running all the way throughout the winter, it just is not feasible. This year, my plans for the business to ‘reopen’ as spring approached ground to a halt, along with half of the world. It wasn’t long after that before I realised I may not be able to run any events at all this ‘season’. 

I started Excelsior Adventures because hiking undoubtedly took my mental health from the lowest point ever. Hiking brought me back to absolutely loving life and thriving. I wanted to share that with others! I wanted to show people just how much of an impact nature can have on your mental well being! Sadly, that isn’t possible when we are all being asked to stay inside. 

Finding Alternatives

I really found myself in desperate need of a good dose of greenery. My battle with my intrusive thoughts that cause my anxiety and depression made me look for alternatives. Then I realised that I had greenery in my back garden. As I sit here typing I have ‘Cuprinol’ on my hands… I have a new favourite brand of fence paint – not something I ever imagined I would have. I have even found myself searching for abandoned pallets on walks around my neighbourhood.

Jen's sage

My empty garden has turned into an absolute Pinterest dream complete with fairy lights and everything. It turns out that I have a ‘green thumb’ and have started growing spring onions, strawberries, sage. I even have myself a wee herb garden. 

For Excelsior, I  took my events online and created the Climb Collective. It was a simple event, where I asked people to climb at least 500 steps with a donation of £10 to The Excelsior Charity Support Fund and SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health). The goal was to collectively climb Mount Kilimanjaro and we smashed that! We raised £300 and collectively climbed 25,282 Stairs! It was a great way to stay engaged with the Excelsior community, have a bit of fun and raise some money at the same time! 
*insert picture 3*

Jen's card

Whilst lockdown has not been an ideal scenario for anyone’s mental health, I have managed to find ways to combat the effect of not getting my ‘natural medicine’ from hiking and adventures. Sometimes, really simple things (like climbing your stairs!) can help you! 

    2 replies to "What did I do when the hills were shut?"

    • M Coia

      So inventive. Just use your imagination a little bit. Very clever and therapeutic. Thank you Arlene

    • Neil Cameron

      I like how you have turned a negative to a positive. Where was your preferred destination for hill walking? Cheers Neil

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