The Hiking Trick You Need Now To Get Through the Pandemic

As of this posting, our family will have been self-isolating for 8.5 weeks. That’s 61 days of 24/7 contact with the whole family. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been within 6 feet of a non-household family member since February 28th. We’ve been sheltering in place long before the pandemic was called a pandemic. And, boy, do I feel it!


This wasn’t going to be an easy time for us no matter what, since we had our second child in January. Taking care of a newborn is hard. Taking care of a newborn at the onset of a pandemic is even harder. Taking care of a newborn and a 3-year-old while self-isolating during a pandemic is near impossible. Only seeing three people 99% of the time is maddening. I just went to the doctor’s office and the half hour interaction I had with my doctor and her nurse has been the highlight of my month. 


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The Hiking Trick That Will Get You Through the Pandemic

There is a trick I learned from my husband while hiking that I’ve been using to help me get through this pandemic. When we go on long hikes, I can get anxious and whiny because I’m the type of person who would love nothing more than to have mile markers along every trail telling me exactly how far I’ve gone and exactly how far I have to go to reach the end. I hate not knowing the location of our destination. (Would it surprise you if I told you I don’t like “odyssey” stories. There’s nothing I hate more than characters on a road trip who are supposed to get to a place at a certain time but get off track and go on side adventures along the way. Stick to a schedule, people!) 


Most of the time, the kind of information I crave (i.e. how much longer until the end) is not on a hike in the wilderness. There are no mile markers in the backcountry. So, Kevin taught me the bungee cord method to help me on long hikes. Decades ago (I can’t believe we’re old enough to say that), Kevin read about the bungee cord method in a hiking book. Basically, as you hike, you find a spot ahead of you on the trail. It could be a tree, a rock, a plant, or anything else you find you can work your way toward. Then you mentally hook one end of a bungee cord around you and the other end to that spot. As you continue walking, you imagine that bungee pulling you toward that spot, just like it would if you were to do this in real life. Once you reach your spot, you take a rest and then find a new object ahead of you on the trail. You mentally hook the bungee cord to it, and start the process all over. You continue doing this until you’ve reached the end of the trail.


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How I Use the Bungee Cord Method During the Pandemic

Recently, I have found myself using this method in my daily life. Like a long hike, I know there will be an end to the pandemic but I just don’t know where that end is right now. I can’t see the final destination because the trail is obscured by trees and it twists and turns up the tallest mountain I have ever climbed. 


To get through these days of social distancing and self-isolation, I set goals for myself. Sometimes in the morning I am able to lasso my bungee cord all the way to dinner time, but other mornings when both kids are fussy and the background music in our house is that of crying children, I work toward just getting through the next hour. Whatever my kids throw at me that day is how I determine where to tether my bungee cord. 


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How You Can Use the Bungee Cord Method Right Now

Maybe your situation is similar to mine and the farthest ahead you can look is bedtime, or maybe your home life is less fraught with small children and you can see all the way to the end of the week. Whatever your context, the bungee cord trick will get you through your quarantine life. We can’t see the final destination, but we can see lunch time, or nap time, or even Friday. Keep anchoring your bungee cord to upcoming times in your day or week and soon enough you will reach the end of the pandemic.


hiking trick bungee cord method covid-19 pandemic quarantine self-isolation social distancing

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