When you work full time or have friends that do, you may often adventure on weekends to go to new places. It can be hard to wait for that one week that you and others can take off, so weekends are a logical choice. It’s a chance to get away from “normal” life. A chance to unwind. A chance to try something new. An opportunity for adventure. But it’s not always easy to go mentally, especially when you struggle with anxiety and depression.
This is coming from my own personal experience. I can struggle on weekend trips. I want to sleep. I don’t want to do anything because I’m just too exhausted from the work week. Driving four hours to go to the White Mountains for a weekend of camping and hiking is fantastic, but is it worth it? For me, it is. I’m all about being a so-called “Weekend Warrior” when I can. Passing up on a new activity or new place is extremely difficult for me. I want to experience life and turning things down doesn’t always seem like an option.
Throughout my past two years of weekend adventuring, I learned how to manage my weekend anxiety and depression for the most part. But it can still be a struggle. For example, a little while ago I went to West Virginia, which was a 5-day trip. On day 4, my boyfriend and friend went climbing when I just wanted to sleep. So I did that. I stayed at the campsite. I slept. I read. I relaxed. It helped me for a bit, but then I was done with it. I became frustrated at myself because I missed out on an opportunity to do something fun on the trip. When they came back, I became irritable because of my own decision.
It was a frustrating debate in my mind after that moment. I needed the rest to feel okay, but then I didn’t feel okay because when I was resting, I missed something else. I was frustrated because why do I have battle depression and anxiety telling me not to do anything most times? Why do I need to stop and do nothing when others can keep going? It was a big pity party happening in my mind.
“I am learning to appreciate the weekends I don’t adventure just as much as I appreciate the weekends I do adventure”
I am learning to take breaks from weekend adventuring. I can’t go away every weekend. I need time in my home. Doing things I need to do and just enjoying being present there. I learned to appreciate the weekends I don’t adventure just as much as I appreciate the weekends I do adventure. It’s just as a meaningful experience spending time with family from afar than it is cliff jumping and climbing in West Virginia.
But I’m also learning how not to let my depression or anxiety make decisions for me when it comes to weekend adventures. Sometimes the reason I may not want to do a weekend adventure is solely depression or anxiety based. I may not want to go because I feel I lack the energy or my mind is telling me it wouldn’t be fun when in reality it would be amazing. Sometimes my anxiety tells me that something terrible will happen if I go or I am going to look like an idiot if I go. It’s often more subtle than those direct thoughts. I’m learning to take time when making a decision. Listening to my body and mind. Am I really too tired to go or is it depression making me exhausted? Is it really something I can’t do or is anxiety convincing me I’m not good enough to go?
I learned how to deal with people. I love my friends. But spending a lot of time in cars together and then staying at the same place together and then doing activities together. It’s a lot. Even if it’s just for a weekend. I’m finally at the point, where I get the people I’m usually traveling with. I know their ways. I know what is eventually going to give me anxiety. I remember when to separate myself from them. I also learned what I appreciate and love about them. It’s a balance I’m still working on.
I also have to prepare a lot more than others. I have to think about my medication. I have to think about the activities and calming myself about them before I go. I have to prepare to bring some of my coping skills. I have to be more aware. I have to be careful about how I’m taking care of myself. It’s a process to learn.
Weekend adventuring with anxiety and depression takes a lot more thinking than it does otherwise. It takes analyzing yourself. Analyzing the situation. Knowing where you are going. Knowing who you are going with. Taking breaks when needed. Participating when needed. It is also preparing. It’s knowing my adventure partners. Weekend adventures can be a blast and be relaxing when you have anxiety and depression, despite what anxiety and depression might tell you.