by Charles Jarvis, LMHC
I recently got the chance to take a day and do something just for me. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do, focusing on what could be restorative and healing for me. I was surprised to find this took a lot more thought than I expected, and I struggled with the concept of “what will help”. Sometimes, I believe we can become so lost that the idea of what is going to help becomes overwhelming. We push through the day to day, make money to support our families, and focus on raising our children to be respectful and good members of society. But in this time we forget to live, we forget what makes us happy, and forget to look at the big picture.
So I started where I began, with hopes to rejuvenate myself and start again. What activity? Well mountain climbing of course.
I was a little hesitant to take on a mountain, and truthfully haven’t done so in over 15yrs. I found the negativity started to surround me, questions emerging continuously…
- You are going alone, what if you get hurt?
- Do you think you can still do this?
- What happens in the event of a disaster, you may not see your kids again.
These questions overwhelmed my mind for the four days before the hike, and motivated me to prepare. I kept telling myself, it’s easy to slip into this mindset. Thinking negatively, surrounded by stressors, and keeping the dysfunction alive and well. As I examined these thoughts, I began to shift my focus to myself – where new questions emerged.
- Do you trust yourself?
- Can you manage an event of crisis, have you done so before?
- If successful, what will this add to your life?
This shift in thinking was powerful, and I realized I did trust myself. I would be prepared and cautious, knowing the reward was necessary to move forward in my life. Plus this mountain would be heavily trafficked, and I would take extra steps to stay safe. And with these thoughts, a little bit of me was restored.
As I climbed, negative thoughts continued to swirl in my head. What would I do if things turned sour quickly? It took constant effort to reframe and redirect these thoughts, as this is the old me. And I am focusing on the current me.
But reaching the summit was something that re-enforced all the positivity that I had made my mantra on the climb. Looking down from 3,165 feet, seeing the trees and houses below – I started to gain perspective.
We spend so much time focusing on our stress, on what needs to get done, on the gains we hope to make–we forget about the big picture. Specifically, we are a part of something bigger and all connected. At the top of that mountain, strangers were checking if other hikers were ok for the descent and if they felt they could do so safely. Looking out into the void surrounding, I was filled with a sense of accomplishment and wonder. That sort of wonder brings peace to me, letting all the noise of the day to day subside and replacing it with a sense of relaxation.
It is all too often we misplace our time in the negativity of the day to day, and forget to focus on balance. We worry about mundane things such as the amount of money needed for Christmas, and forget to make the memories in the day to day. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, and don’t forget why you are completing these daily tasks. We are working towards the bigger picture, always, no matter how hard it is to see in the moment. So take that time, conquer something together with your loved ones, and don’t forget to live.
About Charles Jarvis, LMHC
Charles Jarvis is a licensed mental health counselor practicing in Massachusetts with a master’s degree in counseling psychology. He has been working in mental health since 2008 and has held a variety of critical roles. As a community hospital site manager, he has a specialized focus on those in the community experiencing mental health crises. In addition, he has worked in outpatient therapy, day, and community programs as well as specializing in populations with life-threatening symptoms. He enjoys talking to people with an aim to support his clients in their goal to achieve a better life experience.