Long Distance Walking: The Mental Game. Chapter 7 - What Happens if I Get Ill?

Long Distance Walking: The Mental Game. Chapter 7 - What Happens if I Get Ill?

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This aide memoire was originally written for our younger walkers about to embark on a three week adventure on the Annapurna Circuit. It's been incrementally fine tuned since then. You may find it helpful. Feedback and ideas always welcome.

The most problematic low can come about if you get ill, though not always. Without placing your body under any unnecessary stress many illnesses can be mitigated by a combination of medication and a positive perspective. If you are wired to simply turn on a positive view, and some are, then you are blessed indeed. If not then you need to work on making sure your illness is dealt with in as positive way as possible. How?

First, at least tell your trek master/leader that you are ill. They can make allowances for the length of the trip that day, help alleviate the load you are carrying, ensure someone walks with you at a slower pace, look out for medical solutions, and so on. Never try and suffer in silence. That tends to be a difficult thing to confess when you are the sort of person who feels self contained and very prepared to crack on with a long endurance trek. But keeping your mouth shut when you are ill not only does you a disservice but it places an unnecessary burden on the group as well and can possibly contribute to any low the group is going through. Talk it out and get help.

Many trekking illnesses can be better dealt with when you realise they are more embarrassing than potentially fatal. So keep that grumbling stomach in perspective. And understand that it is very likely less likely embarrassing for the group than you suspect. Again, if you have shared the news of your illness the group can help ensure any embarrassment is mitigated. And possibly even help you laugh about it, always good mental medicine.

Chapter Six: How do I Manage the Lows? 


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