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Wellness Through Adventure

Activity Catalog

Wellness Through Adventure

Activity Catalog

Eddie Bauer One Outside Leader and Color Outside founder Nailah Blades Wylie believes spending time outdoors is essential for her own self-care. We've asked her to share her favorite tips & tricks here on how she creates purpose through outdoor adventure.

Restorative Self-Care Through Outdoor Adventure
By Nailah Blades

It can be really tough to remember to put ourselves first. But when we give, give, give without replenishing ourselves, it's like we’re tackling a mountain on an empty stomach. We need to be fully resourced to face the world. Practicing restorative self-care is one of the ways we can ensure that we're fueled up and ready to tackle life.

When I talk about self-care, I'm not talking about the fluffy stuff that we hear about so often like bubble baths and lighting candles – although if that works for you, that's awesome. But rather, I'm talking about doing the things that allow us to feel whole, full, and rejuvenated. This is going to look different for all of us. We should be looking for activities that allow us to feel a genuine sense of restoration and renewal – those things that make us feel a little fuller and lighter once we're done with them.

Psychologists have actually identified 6 types of self-care: physical, practical, emotional, mental/intellectual, social, and spiritual. It's important to have an understanding of how and when to fill each of those buckets for ourselves. The good news is that getting outside and going on outdoor adventures is a solid way to support at least 5 out of 6 of those self-care areas.

Here’s a breakdown of each of the 6 types of self-care and activities that can help you fill each bucket:

Physical: activities that help to improve your well-being, like going on a hike, drinking enough water, or taking a walk.

Emotional: activities that allow you to process your full range of emotions, like journaling, meeting with a therapist, or expressing your creativity.

Mental/intellectual: activities that stimulate your intellect, like reading a book, tackling a tough climbing route, or solving a puzzle.

Social: activities that help deepen relationships with the people in your life, like camping with friends, making time to call your family members, or going on a group hike.

Spiritual: activities that allow you to nurture your spiritual side, like being in nature, meditation, or taking time for self-reflection

Practical: tasks that help you fulfill core parts of your life, like making dentist appointments, organizing your home, or creating a budget

So, whether you're filling your physical self-care bucket with a bike ride or your mental self-care bucket by working through a tough climbing route, or your social self-care bucket with a camping trip with friends, getting outside can help you to feel more restored and ready to tackle your world.


How to Conduct Your Personal Year-End Review
By Nailah Blades

We're approaching the end of the year, so you know what that means? You're probably already being bombarded with lots of, ‘MAKE NEXT YEAR YOUR BEST YEAR EVERRRRR’ content. But before you dive headfirst into planning for next year, it’s really important to reflect back on this past year…so that you can move forward into a brand new year with intention.

Conducting a personal year-end review is important, whether you had a phenomenal year or if you feel like you’d rather toss the entire 12 months away in the trash. It helps us to take stock of what is actually working for us and what isn’t, as well as helping us to slow down during a time when we might be jumping from one day to the next. Most importantly, it sets us up to be intentional and mindful about how we embark on the upcoming year.

My first step for conducting a personal year-end review is to get outdoors. Getting outside helps get us into a tranquil, meditative state. It also allows the taskmaster part of our brain to settle down, while allowing the parts of our brains responsible for innovation, creativity, and empathy to fire up. You can either head outside before sitting down in a comfortable place to reflect on the past year, or you can do the entire review while outdoors.

Next, reflect on the year month by month and think through several questions. You can ask yourself:

What's the best thing that happened this year? The most difficult? What did you learn from experiencing both?
What are you proud of from this year?
What did you let go of?
How did you best take care of yourself?
What did you discover about yourself?

I love ending the year in a place of gratitude, so you can also make a quick list of all the things that you’re most grateful for from the past year.
Lastly, ask yourself what you’re ready to leave behind and what you’re ready to step into next.

As you’re reflecting on the past year, remember to give yourself grace. Maybe you had a year filled with incredible highs and wins or maybe you felt like you were constantly swimming upstream. However the year played out for you, remind yourself that what you accomplished was enough and that you are still enough.


7 Ways Complete The Stress Cycle & Relax During The Holidays
By Nailah Blades

The holidays can be a magical time of year BUT they can also be super stressful. Whether you're meeting up with family, hanging with friends, or having a quieter time at home, the end of the year can bring up all kinds of overwhelming feelings and stressors.

All of our emotions are a cycle — including stress. We need to complete the full stress cycle or else it becomes chronic stress, which is what leads to burnout.​ ​In their book, Burnout, Drs. Emily and Amelia Nagoski​ describe our stress ​cycle as a tunnel and chronic stress happens when we head into the tunnel but then get stuck somewhere in the middle.
When you are stressed, you need to do something that signals to your body that you are safe or else you’ll stay in that stress state and never fully be able to shift into relaxation. And it’s not enough for the stressor to be gone. Your body needs the signal to know that the stress cycle is complete.

So, let’s talk about the 7 most efficient ways to complete the stress cycle.

1.  Physical activity: this is the most efficient way to close out a stress cycle. This can be as simple as a quick walk around the block or even just shaking out your body.

2.  Deep breathing: breathing helps regulate our nervous system, especially when you can take a slow breath in and a slow, long breath out.

3.  Positive social interaction: spending time with people we love can help to signal to our bodies that we are safe and that we can complete our stress cycle.

4.  Laughter: we’re talking good, belly laughs here! Laughing is a wonderful and fun way to complete the stress cycle.

5.  Affection: if you’re big on physical contact, a long hug from someone you love can help to signal to your body that you’re safe.

6.  A good cry: When in doubt, cry it out.

7.  Creative expression: doing something creative allows you to tap into different parts of your brain and closes out the stress cycle.

What’s your favorite way to work through stress and shift into relaxation mode?



Building Community is Key to Our Wellness
By Nailah Blades

Being part of a strong community has been shown to have tremendous positive effects on our mental health and emotional wellbeing. Community involvement provides a sense of belonging and social connectedness. People who have a supportive community have been shown to have a healthier mindset, improved self-worth, and greater enjoyment in life. Having a strong community often offers extra meaning and purpose to our everyday lives as well.

Basically, we need community in order to be well!

In fact, Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones, found that people that lived in places with increased levels of social activity, community, and who developed a strong sense of purpose had a higher life expectancy than those that didn’t have that sense of community in place. “We're genetically hardwired to crave social interaction and when you don't have it, there’s a level of subconscious stress that grates away at you,” said Buettner.

But our modern world sometimes makes it difficult to connect with one another. We're already more disconnected and isolated than ever before. Layer on a global pandemic and it feels almost impossible to gain that sense of community that so many of us crave.

So how do we build and nourish our communities, especially as our world continues to shift and change? You can use these 3 Cs:

Clarity: Connecting with others is one of the things that gives us purpose and meaning in our lives. It helps us not wake up feeling rudderless when we know we have a community of folks to love and support. It’s important to understand what your own individual purpose is and to keep that in mind as you begin to build your community. Also, it’s important to surround yourself with those who reflect your values.

Consistency: Honestly, this can be the toughest part. Once you start to build a community filled with people who reflect your values and who support you, you need to connect with them consistently. It doesn't mean you always have to plan elaborate get-togethers, but it does mean checking in with them and continuing to invite them into your world.

Courage: The most important things in life require courage and effort. Community is no different. Building a thriving community means having the courage to try new things with new people. It also means having the courage to show vulnerability and bring people in. And it means having the compassion to meet others where they’re at so that you can make your community inclusive and safe.

Building a supportive, thriving community can feel difficult, but it’s definitely rewarding once you start.

I’d love to know how you build and nourish your own community through outdoor adventure.



The Benefits Of Green Exercise
By Nailah Blades

We all know that moving our bodies is good for us. But studies have shown that green exercise, which is physical activity done outdoors in natural environments, has benefits for our mind and body that go far beyond those you experience when you exercise indoors. And the best part is you don’t even have to do anything extreme. Just being outside and moving can help you reap those rewards.

Green Exercise goes well beyond the physical benefits. Outdoor exercise makes people happier, less fatigued and angry, more tranquil and relaxed, and generates a more lasting energy boost compared to indoor exercise. It boosts our mood and even increases our self esteem.

One of the biggest benefits we get from green exercise is a sense of renewal and restoration. Both getting outdoors and exercising allow us to get into a deeper meditative state and focus on the present moment. When we combine the two, it gives us a greater opportunity to shut down our daily stressors, our negative thoughts & worries, and our running to-do lists and just connect to our bodies and the natural world around us.

Basically, green exercise helps to restore us by bringing us back to ourselves. And that reconnection goes a long way in helping us to feel well and good.

Here are a few steps to start adding more Green Exercise into your life:

• Start small. Even a short time moving outdoors can have an impact — one study found the first five minutes of green exercise had the biggest positive psychological impact.

• Get creative. Think of the ways you already enjoy exercising and get creative on how to bring that activity outdoors. Maybe it’s investing in lightweight exercise equipment that you can bring outside with you or finding ways to incorporate nature into your routine. (Hill sprints, anyone?)

• Join a group. Find a crew who is looking to enjoy the outdoors with you. Whether you love walking, running, hiking, climbing, yoga or just general group fitness, you’re bound to find a group that is perfect for you. Check out or search Instagram for groups that are a good fit.

• Recreate responsibly. Exercising outdoors can be a safer choice than indoor gyms, especially with Covid-19 surging in many parts of the world. But remember to always respect others and the environment when you’re spending time outdoors.

Do you enjoy exercising outdoors? What’s your favorite way to engage in green exercise?



Setting Intentional Goals
By Nailah Blades

September always feels like the perfect time to check in on your goals for the year. You’ve (hopefully) found space for rest and relaxation during the summer months and the fall marks a good time to take a look at where you’ve been so far in the year and start setting goals to keep moving forward through December.

Now, ​I love setting goals as much as anyone else, but I've noticed that a lot of the time the way we set goals brings more angst than ease. That’s why I like to focus on intentional goal setting, which shifts the focus from the outcome of the goal to relishing the actual process of reaching the goal.

Instead of charging ​towards a goal and feeling drained when you arrive or even discouraged when you miss the target, you can delight in the process of getting there.

Align your goals with what makes you feel whole and good instead of creating goals based on what you "should" be doing.

And lastly, focus on the parts of the goal that are within your control instead of fretting about things you can do nothing about.

How to set intentional goals:
The first step to setting more intentional goals is to start with how you want to FEEL. Maybe you want to feel more creative or adventurous or at peace.

Then think of 3 things that get you to that feeling. These are your GOALS and are now connected to your deeper WHY.

From there, you can think about what needs to happen to accomplish those goals and break them into smaller steps that'll keep moving you forward.

How do you go about setting goals for yourself, and how can you be more intentional about the process?



Let’s Try Something New
By Nailah Blades

Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone has tremendous benefits for our physical and mental health. It can boost our confidence, stimulate creativity, and help us feel more engaged in our lives. Trying new things literally creates new connections in your brain pathways, helping to keep your mind healthy and sharp.

So why don't we try new things more often? The short answer is fear.

Studies show that we're more afraid of the unknown than we are of an actual bad outcome. We're afraid of what might happen if we step out and try something different. And let’s be honest, sometimes it just feels easier – and safer – to keep doing the things that we’re used to.

Here are 4 quick tips to use when you’re ready to start stretching outside of your comfort zone:

Start small: Even doing something you're used to doing in a whole new way can give you the same benefits as doing something new. And it has the added plus of building your courage muscles so that the next time you're able to push your comfort zone even further.

Remember the benefits of making an attempt: The key word in trying new things? Try. Even the process of trying a new thing is beneficial. You don't have to be good at it or even commit to doing it more than once. Ask yourself what the benefit of you even attempting something new might be. What might you learn? How might you feel?

Prepare for the worst case: Fear of the unknown is tough. Our brains don't know exactly what will happen, so they often jump to the worst-case scenario. But thinking through the worst-case scenario can help you to prepare for the unknown and feel more confident about embarking on a brand-new adventure.

Cultivate a growth mindset: Fear of failure keeps a lot of us stuck in the same ol' rut. But changing the way you think from, "I'm terrible at this, I'll never get better," to, "I'll get better over time," can help reframe the way we think about trying a new thing. Or better yet, forget about having to be good at things and just try something new for the fun of it. It's ok to suck at things sometimes

So, whether you're challenging yourself to try a whole new adventure or you're simply doing something you've done before in a new way, look for ways to push yourself out of your comfort zone and build those courage muscles.



Improve Your Happiness & Wellbeing By Building An Inclusive Community
By Nailah Blades

The desire to feel connection and love is one of the six basic needs that humans require in order to feel fulfilled. We need to feel connected to others, to feel like we're a part of something, and feel respected & loved for who we are. We're all searching for that feeling of togetherness that makes us feel good.

We need community in order to be well.

And the more diverse your community, the better. A recent study examined the effects of being more inclusive on eight different aspects of wellbeing: coping, happiness, physical health, decision-making, being valued, talking to others, having meaning in life, and close relationships. All of these aspects of wellbeing were directly related to the level of inclusivity in people’s communities. Being a part of a diverse community creates a richer experience in which we can learn and grow. Diverse and inclusive communities foster creativity & innovation, impact our coping and decision-making skills, and make us feel happier and more valued overall.

I recently had the opportunity to go on a backpacking trip with Angela Hawse, an Eddie Bauer alpine climbing guide, and Jules Jimreivat, our photographer. We spent 3 days exploring the desert, scrambling over boulders and squeezing through slot canyons in Escalante, UT. The landscape was exquisite and we had so much fun enjoying the outdoors, but the thing that made the trip so special was being able to learn and grow with one another. We all come from completely different backgrounds and life experiences, but our approach to outdoor adventure is similar. I was able to walk away with profound memories, and also broader perspectives on everything from backpacking to climbing, philosophy to podcasts.

Most of us can agree that having a diverse personal community is a good thing, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. Here are 3 steps to start building an inclusive community that fosters your overall wellness:

1) Start with intentionality. Be intentional about seeking out experiences and communities that are different from your own. Start with the hobbies or activities you're already participating in but think about how you can pursue those activities in a different environment or with different people.

2) Commitment is key. Meeting someone once does not a community make. Once you find communities that you'd like to be a part of, make the commitment to be an active, considerate member of it.

3) Stay open & curious. Open mindedness is the #1 factor in having a more diverse community. Be open to new experiences or environments that put you outside of your comfort zone. Be open to learning new things from new people and stay curious about the knowledge that everyone brings from their own lived experience.

Do you have examples in your own life where your community has impacted your wellness?



How To Move From Languishing To Flourishing
By Nailah Blades

In a recent New York Times article, Adam Grant hit the nail on the head as to the feeling so many of us have been experiencing lately. We’re not flourishing – not even close – but we may not be depressed. Many of us are floating somewhere in the middle – we’re languishing. Grant describes languishing as, “...a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield.”

Sound familiar?

Putting a name to this unfamiliar feeling is the first step to taking back control over our wellness. But how else can we start forging a path out of the murky waters of languishing?

I have some ideas:

Carve out time for yourself. Part of the reason that the last year has been so taxing on our health and wellness is because a lot of our boundaries have been blurred. We’ve been working, learning, and playing with the same people in the same space, which doesn’t leave a lot of space for personal wellness. In order to get back on track, we have to put ourselves on our own to-do list. I recommend literally putting time on your calendar for yourself the same way you would any other meeting or obligation.

Try something new. Getting out on a new adventure helps to break up the monotony and boredom that can drive those languishing feelings. What new-to-you adventure can you try out? Maybe it’s something as simple as trying a new trail or a new activity.

Get away. Taking a break and getting away are restorative acts of wellness. You don't have to go on a big expedition, you can get away in your own backyard or head out on a local adventure.

Get back in flow. Last month, I shared a tip for figuring out your own personal wellness elements. If you remember, mine revolve around curiosity, community, and adventure. Leaning into your own personal elements will help you to achieve flow – those times when you’re able to immerse yourself in something that helps you feel whole, full, and good.

Personally, camping has been my perfect antidote for languishing. Heading out on a quick camping trip with family and friends allows for uninterrupted time to get back in flow with myself. Now that the weather is warming up, we keep our camping gear ready to go so that it’s easy to get away for a night or two. Camping has been an amazing wellness escape for my family because we were able to ease into it as an entry level adventure and continue to build on it each time we went go out.

Can you relate to the feeling of languishing? What has helped you to move past it?



What Do Wellness & Self-Care Mean To You?
By Nailah Blades

In recent years, we’ve been hearing a lot about wellness and self​-care, but what does wellness actually mean for real people?

When you think of wellness does it conjure up images of yoga, meditation and green juices? You’re not alone. While there’s nothing wrong with any of those things, they might not fit into your own life in a realistic way.

For me, wellness means whatever makes us feel whole, full, and good. Self-care is whatever we need to do to be our best selves. In short, wellness and self-care are what we need in order to sustain ourselves.

And this is exactly why the outdoors is the perfect vehicle for wellness.

Getting out into the wild and exploring gives us clarity when we're feeling fuzzy and gives us glimpses of our true authentic selves. Romping through wide open fields has been essential in helping me stay connected with who I am at my core and to reaffirm that I can do hard things.

It allows us to disconnect from a busy world and be present and refuel our souls.
So how do we start this journey towards an individualized wellness plan that feels easy and doable? The first step is getting clear on what you actually need to be well. No cookie cutter options here!

Here’s an exercise for you to try the next time you're in an outdoor space -- whether it's on your patio or up in the mountains. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and remember the last time you felt like your very best self.

What were you doing during this time? What made this time so memorable for you? What made it so fulfilling? Then look for the elements of that experience that you can bring into your everyday life.

When I think back on the times I felt like my best self, there are often elements of community, curiosity, and adventure. So, one piece of my personal wellness plan is exploring new outdoor spaces with my friends and family.

What experiences come to mind when you think of when you were your best self? How can you bring those elements into your everyday life?