This past weekend I went cross country skiing for the first time with some of my friends here in Norway! It was unbelievable! We drove about 2 hours to a place called Gautefall, where we stayed at my friend’s cabin. The views from her cabin alone are reason enough to make a trip up there. But, we also went cross country skiing, which made for the BEST winter vacation weekend.
I went in to cross country skiing without much expectations. Walking away, I was surprised at how much I loved it! I’d only ever seen it before on TV in the Olympics, but experiencing it myself was something else. The Norwegian mountains in the background, snow falling, a stop to eat chocolate, arms and legs burning from skiing, the occasional slip and fall :), the whole experience was surreal.
I went on the trip with 3 other people – 2 experienced Norwegian skiers and 1 other first timer like me from Denmark. Let’s just say I was so happy to have a fellow beginner alongside me! It made for the funniest trip, with us both learning how to get comfortable in the skis, keep our balance, and avoid running into each other.
There’s a saying about doing those things that fill your cup. Within just a couple of hours of skiing, I left feeling so filled. Looking back, I wanted to see what it was exactly about the whole experience that made such an impact on me. I narrowed it down to 5 things. 5 things I learned while cross country skiing that I believe can translate into every day life.
More often than not we get into routines. Understandably so, we are bound by schedules and routines at work. We may set a routine for when we wake up, when we go to bed, for working out, eating, and so much more. There are lots of benefits of establishing routines, but what I want to emphasize is the value of breaking out of them every once in a while to try new things too!
Doing something you’ve never done before opens up new doors. New opportunities to meet new people, to experience new places, to find new favorite hobbies or foods, or to gain different perspectives. So much life exists outside of our comfort zone even if it’s as simple as trying a new recipe or going to a yoga class for the first time.
Laughing at myself I’ve found to be so so helpful! In the skiis, every time I fell I would immediately start laughing. I could have gotten frustrated at not being that good, despite it being my first time. But, by laughing I was able to view the new challenge with a positive mindset, letting go of any stress or embarrassment.
I want to be clear, I don’t mean to mock yourself to the point where you feel bad about yourself. Simply, to laugh at yourself is to admit that you are an imperfect human. When you accept that and learn to laugh when you mess up, you can live more freely! You’re able to let go of failure and messing up having control over you.
Take the time to pause. You shouldn’t be going 100 miles per hour all the time. In life and in skiing (recreational skiing), pausing can be beneficial in so many ways. Pausing to rest is so important. It’s not sustainable to be moving at all times. Giving your body and mind a rest sometimes is the most productive thing you can do!
You should also pause to simply enjoy life. Sometimes, we go so fast we miss the moments that bring us the most joy. When we stopped, ate some chocolate, laughed about the most recent fall, looked around at how beautiful the views were, we were able to really soak it all in. These are the moments that you can remember so clearly looking back!
There is no denying that our environment directly affects us. Sometimes we can’t always control this. But we can choose the people we surround ourselves within those environments. What we need to be aware of is that the people surrounding us do impact us, one way or another.
I would have had a completely different experience if I had gone skiing by myself this weekend. The falling down, getting back up, eating chocolate, pushing through the uphills and enjoying the downhills – all were made better because of who I was with. All the good things along the way were enjoyed even more and the hard things were not faced alone. Don’t underestimate the power of good friends!
This one is self explanatory. So much of our lives are spent thinking and in our minds. We have to get out of our heads and in to our bodies more often. It declutters our brain, gives us space to think clearly, and improves our physical well being. It doesn’t have to be cross country skiing, but anything that gets you to put your phone down and connect with others and nature does the trick!