From the Drakensberg Mountains to Self-Isolation in a Week

Di Westaway | Founder Wild Women On Top | Chief Adventure Chick

How quickly things change. 

If you haven’t got cabin fever yet, chances are you soon will have. For most of us, social distancing, working from home, obsessive handwashing and sanitising, trying not to face touch, wearing masks and supporting loved ones in isolation is now the norm. We’re trying to manage our mental health through waves of panicky news headlines, frightening newsfeeds, government restrictions and redundancies.

With events and travel cancelled, restaurants, cinemas, gyms, shops and all non-essential services closed and supermarket shelves bare, there are only so many Netflix series to binge watch or hours to stalk Facebook friends.

I recently returned from celebrating a milestone birthday in the mountains of Africa by getting out in nature, hiking, climbing, exploring and – as of a few days ago - preparing for my quarantine. I figured if I’m going to be stuck inside for two weeks, I might as well go wild while I still can. And thank goodness I did.

My last two weeks hiking and climbing the Drakensberg Mountains were pure heaven and I now feel more blessed than ever to have been lucky enough to squeeze it in. Nature helps and heals, even in the absence of others. It energises and revitalises us.

Many of my family and friends are very worried about me because they know how crap I am at being inside. In fact, I’m very worried about me. While I fully support the need to remain in quarantine to help flatten the curve and work together as a community to maintain public health, I don’t know how I’m going to cope.  

I’m continually scrolling for the latest rules and regulations in the hope that I’ll be allowed to escape to my nearby national park for a bit each day, but I’m prepared for the worst after somebody told me I’d be locked in jail for a year if I step outside my unit. Donning a face mask to hang out my washing is easy. But not being allowed into nature is a challenge I’ve never had to face.

This pandemic has made most of us feel like the world has tilted off its axis. Everything is different now.

In the past, natural disasters like bushfires, floods and storms, were expertly managed by our experienced emergency leaders implementing tried and tested strategies of relief, recovery and survival. But this crisis is new to everybody. Even governments and health experts are scratching their heads.

In the past we’d all come together with love. Now, we’re forced to stay apart for love. We must find new ways of living.

In the past we’d give our loved ones big squeezy hugs. Now we give our loved ones food drops from 1.5 meters.

I’ve made a pact with my hiking buddies, who are about to become my co-quarantinies, that we will get wild inside by climbing everything in the house, handstanding in every room and sharing our cabin fever survival tips on Facebook. If that fails, I’ll resort to online yoga. And now I’ve got this plan, I’m willing myself to be excited about the opportunity to slow down, sleep more and test my mental toughness in support of our mission to flatten the curve.

If you are self-isolating and can’t get out into the great outdoors right now, you can still get a dose of nature. Sit in your backyard or garden. Peek outside into the trees and sky, stand on the roof, stick your head out the window or watch a David Attenborough doco while marching on the spot.

Every little bit helps.

To follow along with how Di is managing her isolation and get virtual dose of nature and connection, come and join us in our Wild Women Community. 

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