There is still a question I remember from my initial interview for the field instructor position at Evoke: What do you do if a student refuses to hike? At the time of my interview, I was fresh out of college and had little to no meaningful experience dealing with resistance, defiance, manipulation, and other challenging behavioral patterns that we regularly see from our Evoke students. So, of course, my answer was: um, say okay? I had no idea what to do but give in, say okay, and let a person do what they were going to do. I considered saying I would try to convince them to hike, but I knew that when someone tried to convince me to do something I didn’t want to do, I only dug my heels in deeper. Little did I know, there was more wisdom in my response than young me could have realized.
Self-care has become a buzzword in therapeutic and self-help spaces in recent years. People throw it around as a catch-all remedy for myriad issues. Are you burnt out at work? Self-care! Did you get into an argument with your partner or child? Self-care! Are you experiencing the consistent and pervasive existential dread that is the hallmark of the human experience? Self-care! But what does "self-care" really mean? What does it look like in practice?
This past week, I took a vacation to the Sierras to camp and hike with a friend (yes, I spend my free time outside, too!). My hope was to get some time to unwind and unplug, and I was particularly excited to get some good, quality sleep. I spent five years as a Field Instructor at Entrada, and most nights in the field with the groups, I fell asleep promptly, slept deeply, and woke rested. I always attributed this to simply sleeping outside, away from phones and screens and all the typical nightly distractions.