5 Things I Learnt from a Month of Everyday Adventures
Back at the end of the January this year, I was feeling pretty drained and very, very bored.
A month into a new lockdown, a return to juggling homeschooling and work and unlike last time we were in this position, doing this in the heart of winter without about five hours of daylight - & a lot of rain!
So after a January that felt like it had lasted about 100 years, the prospect of another month of the same felt pretty bleak...
But it was also when I realised I had a choice. I could choose to continue to muddle through, obsessively watching the news for any glimmer of light - or I could take matters into my own hands, take back control and create some joy for myself.
I decided that I would practice what I preach and commit to a month of everyday adventures starting on 1 February.
The only rules were that every day had to be different and each adventure had to take me outside of my comfort zone in some way. With that in mind, I posted my intent in my Facebook group The Everyday Adventure Club, invited others to join in with all or some of the challenge and set off on my first day’s adventure which was to pick up my old paintbrushes and spend 30 minutes painting!
The adventures ranged from cooking something different to eat ( I was SO bored of my diet!), putting my phone away at night to pick up a book instead, to spending a day not feeling guilty about everything!
And as we head into March, I can honestly said that this challenge has made a fundamental difference to my energy, my mental health and my sense of control. It has also been a huge amount of fun and given me something to look forward to every single day.
So with that in mind, I thought I would share with you the key things I have learned from my month of Everyday Adventures:
1. Accountability Works. Sometimes the scariest part of an adventure is telling others you’re going to do it! The minute I posted my initial post, I was committed. This accountability was hard in that there were definitely days when I didn’t feel like showing up. But it also worked in that it meant that I did. I always felt better after the adventure, and the support and encouragement I received made all the difference.
2. An Adventure Mindset. Just saying that you are going to have an adventure, means that you automatically start looking for them. It’s actually quite hard to think of 28 different adventures, especially when you are in lockdown & juggling kids and work too. But I got inspiration from all sorts of places, whether it was reading someone’s social media post, a suggestion from a friend or my morning Headspace meditation! I also found that I had started to re-programme my brain to scan for the novel & new instead of being stuck in the mundanity of the same routine - and that felt like an adventure in itself!
3. It doesn’t have to be life changing, it just needs to change that moment. Often we have the perspective that an adventure has to be something huge or dramatic. But actually, the sum of lots of mini adventures can be just as profound. It may not feel life changing in the moment, but the more you practice adventurous thinking, the more that mindset becomes embedded and can change your outlook for good.
4. Re-connecting can be the biggest adventure of all. I have run several challenges in my fb group around everyday adventures which I have loved, but I started this challenge as a personal endeavour - something to break me out of the fog of sameness and bring some joy into my life. But in doing so, I also discovered it did more than that. It connected me with others in a way that I wasn’t able to do in person. I was genuinely astonished by the flood of recommendations & support I received and those who joined in with me - whether it was offering recipes, books to read or suggestions on how others had made something work for them. This sense of connectedness brought a whole new dimension to the challenge - and if I am honest, it is probably that part that made the biggest difference.
5. An Adventure a Day is entirely possible - and maybe even necessary. It is absolutely possible to have an adventure every single day. Some days will undoubtedly be harder than others, whether that is due how you are feeling and the many other demands on your time. But whereas some of my adventures needed 30 minutes, others only required me to shift my thinking in the moment. But deepening my knowledge and commitment to having these adventures - and recognising the difference it made to my resilience regardless of what else was happening, is life changing in itself. It's not always going to be easy, but it almost always helps.
The reality is that everyday adventures put me back in the driving seat, re-energised me and give me the confidence to know that - however imperfectly - I could navigate the next few weeks and actually find ways to enjoy it to. Essentially it gave me hope, and in the end that is what resilience is all about.
Nicki Bass specialises in helping individuals and teams to build resilience and leadership through adventure. Find out more at www.resiliencework.co.uk or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
She is also the host of The Everyday Adventure Podcast which you can listen to here