Mindful Summer

Fitting in adventures and rest with less stress!

Spring is here. The thaw is in progress. The snow is gradually retreating from the peaks and melting its way into streams. Plant life is beginning to burst joyfully from the soil. And we humans are getting our first real taste of the intoxicating effects of brighter days. 

With the promise of summer only a few weeks away, planning warm weather adventures is in full swing. It’s so exciting to feel the anticipation for all of these and experiences on the horizon.

The shifting of the season fills our spirits with renewed energy for life, but as with anything, we can have too much of a good thing. The burst of energy might have us overcommitting, overstressing, and setting ourselves up for a frazzled, frantic summer instead of a season where we thrive.

 Yes, summer is precious. If we don’t make intentional plans, time can slip through our fingers and we can miss beautiful opportunities. On the other hand, swing the...

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Substituting Sunrise: The quest for the perfect sunrise alarm clock.

Hi everyone! 

A couple months ago I announced on Instagram that I was going in search of the perfect sunrise simulating alarm clock. I've had a sunrise alarm clock for years, but it wasn't perfect: Luc was fed up with the finicky buttons on it, we were both tired of the only 3 alarm sounds it offered, and it always bothered me that the clock light stayed lit -- I prefer a completely dark bedroom.

So I decided it was time for an upgrade. I couldn't believe how many sunrise alarm clocks there are on the market now -- this is a growing market with way more options than 5 years ago. Many of you have been following along on the journey and pinging me to share my findings - I'm happy to say that I've finally come to a conclusion and have my top three to share below! 

What is a sunrise alarm clock?

A sunrise alarm clock (also known as a dawn simulator) is an alarm clock that turns on gradually, increasing light brightness over a period of time - usually 45-30 minutes before your...

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Podcast: Changing Seasons - Using Fall to Prepare for Winter

Happy Autumn Everyone! 

I recently had a last minute chance to sit down with Martha Rosenstein of Alaska Public Media and the Outdoor Explorer Podcast to have a discussion about transitioning from Summer to Winter. This is a big transition across the hemisphere - and feels a little extra dramatic up here in Alaska where you can blink and fall is already over! We discussed some different ways that can make the transition feel less drastic and more sustainable, you can see the list of topics below! 

Closing out the episode, Martha chats for a bit with Heather Caldwell -  a psychotherapist that practices in both Alaska and Colorado. Heather shares some more perspective on how to make a seasonal transition, you can check out more about Heather and her practice here

 

Topics covered include: 

  • Sarah
    • Transitioning from summer to winter - how can we do it in a more mindful way? (3:18)
    • Leaning into plan B and recognizing the energy that takes. (5:29)
    • Cues...
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Podcast: Building Mind & Body Strength

Greetings!

Wow, I just had the chance to sit down with Kaitlyn Kasso and had a really fun time! Kaitlyn is an awesome photographer that helps women develop their personal brands. You can follow what she's up to on Instagram @kaitlyncassocreations. She also runs the Inspired by HERstory Podcast: Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.

We talked in detail about my first time in the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic, both of our experiences with imposter syndrome, and what it's like to be a beginner in the outdoors. I really think there is a bit of something for everyone in this episode! 

Topics covered include: 

  • The story of my first Wilderness Classic: 5:50
  • How my business came to be: 19:38
  • When to confront challenges and when to back down: 22:40
  • Workout Perfectionism & Imposter Syndrome: 26:10
  • Building confidence when you're new outdoors (or at anything): 33:10
  • Building a capacity for failure: 38:12
  • Advice on how to deal with Imposter Syndrome: 42:43
  • ...
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One Year of Sistering Support

One year of Sistering Support

In April of 2021 SMH Training officially marked the one year anniversary of our Sistering Support program!

In honor of that milestone, I wanted to share some information about how it’s gone, who we’ve helped, and why financial support and equity pricing are an important part of our business model.

 

First things first – what is Sistering Support?

"Sistering" is a construction term in which a post that's holding up too much weight is supported by additional posts on either side. This metaphor conveys what we're after: helping take some of the weight off those who are carrying a lot right now. Especially for BIPOC, queer, disabled, bigger bodies, and others who are underrepresented in the outdoor world.

Ideally, finances wouldn't keep anyone from health, movement, or outdoor time. And if we’re going to realize our goal of a more diverse outdoor recreation community – we have to work to make the opportunities to thrive in...

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The Packrafting Podcast: The magic of Alaska, mental health, & overcoming fear.

Hello everyone! 

The podcast interviews keep coming and this has been a fun one! Recently I was honored to be a guest on the Packrafting Podcast, sponsored by Alpacka Rafts and hosted by the wonderful human and new friend that is Dulkara Martig

As the title implies, the Packrafting Podcast content is anchored by the guest and host connections to the sport, though, I feel confident that even if you aren't a packrafter you will find inspiration and relatable content within the dialogues that take place here. 

The episode I was on is titled: The Magic of Alaska, Mental Health, & Overcoming Fear.

Topics covered include: 

  • Thoughts on winter in Alaska: 5:01Growing up on the Kenai Peninsula: 12:37
  • My experience in the Wilderness Classic: 14:56 
  • My first experiences packrafting - including a couple of sticky situations: 22:06
  • Some strategies to help overcome fear in the outdoors: 26:40
  • The origin story for Summer Strong and Ski Babes: 42:23
  • ...
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The Tutu Test

 

Are you able to use your outer glutes to stabilize your hips? 

Take this quick test to find out. 

The Tutu Test came together after one of this year's Ski Babes asked for some help identifying if she was using her outer glutes or not.

I had just taught a Halloween Ski Babes workout in costume (sweaty ballerina) and realized how helpful it was to be wearing a tutu when demonstrating proper hip alignment! 

And so the Tutu Test was born. :) 

The goal of the Tutu Test is to help you identify if your outer glutes are doing their part in stabilizing your hips.

And if they're not, I've got techniques in this video to help them pick up the slack. 

When you're able to activate your outer glutes, you take some of the load off your IT Bands (if you have a chronically tight IT band this might be part of what's happening). 

You'll also have better luck keeping your knees in alignment over your ankles, which is a huge part of helping prevent knee...

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Podcast: It's Okay to be a Beginner in the Outdoors

Hello! 

I loved this conversation I had with Martha Rosenstein on the Outdoor Explorer Podcast! We highlight overcoming barriers to getting started with outdoor adventuring, remembering what it's like to be a beginner again, and how to build functional strength at home in anticipation of winter sports.

The topics we covered include: 

  • What is a mental health informed fitness trainer?
  • Sarah's journey into mental health and fitness world
  • Anti-Bro Culture
  • How can we do better when it comes to creating an inclusive outdoor rec community?
  • Weakest link syndrome
  • Progression of new skills
  • Functional Strength and Adventuring 
  • Defining Summer Strong and Ski Babes 
  • Getting Started in Backcountry Adventures
  • Self-Awareness in navigating nutrition 

I hope you will have a listen and that you enjoy the conversation! If you have thoughts or any of these topics resonated, I'd love to hear from you

You can find the episode in a couple...

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Podcast: Building a Strong Body & Mind

Hey there! 

I recently had the opportunity to have a chat with on the Connect with Sheila Botelho Podcast. Sheila is a certified health coach,  lifestyle entrepreneur, and mom of two, best known for her online wellness programs, mentoring, and self-love passion. Her podcast focuses on how to connect to your soul's calling and take action on it. 

We covered a lot of ground in this short interview, and I hope you'll enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed chatting with Sheila! 

The title of this podcast episode is: Building a Strong Body & Mind

Topics covered include: 

  • My role models for the active life I now live: 3:57
  • How I combined my passion for the outdoors and mental health and started my business: 5:16
  • Cultivating mental strength: 10:26
  • Luc and mine's traverse of the Western Brooks Range: 17:09
  • Gaining courage to step into new experiences: 18:56
  • How to put the nervous system to work for us: 22:41
  • The evolution of faith in my life: 30:50...
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Arctic Refuge 2020

Luc and I had lots of ideas about potential summer trips for 2020, but when COVID hit and rural villages across Alaska shut down-- with rightful concerns about limited medical infrastructure and intergenerational trauma from the Spanish Flu-- we knew we needed to adapt our recreation plans to keep us self-supported, out of villages & on the road system.

Luc put his trip-planning skills to work and came up with a ~350 mile loop that started & ended on the Haul Road, got us out to the Sadlerochit Mountains (which we'd wanted to explore since we floated past them in our 2017 Arctic Refuge Traverse) and incorporated a food drop that some friends of ours already had planned. We pulled in Will Koeppen (the pics in this post are Will's, & I'd encourage reading the daily journal entries he posted on his Instagram, starting here) and hit the road.

My biggest take-away from this trip was how well the nervous system and mind/body...

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