Overcoming Group Hike Anxiety
by Naomy Ramirez, Girls Who Hike Inland Empire Ambassador
I agreed to go on a full day of hiking with some of THE most badass gals from Girls Who Hike. In my opinion, at least.
These woman have dominated the social media aspect of the hiking world and I see them killing mountains, literally in their sleep. Well, definitely when I am sleeping (haha). But really, I have held nothing but admiration and respect for them for quite some time. They are so friendly and welcoming and such DANG GOOD HIKERS.
So how on earth did I find myself agreeing to Hike, not one hike, but a WHOLE DAY, with them?
Me....the out-of-shape curvy one who didn’t even train for the TransCatalina Trail and did it anyway. (I do not recommend this by the way, lol).
Me...the gal with asthma who gets winded the first two to three miles of any and every hike.
Me...the gal who only looks so very well prepared and also dorky with my fanny pack.
Me...the Introverted, shy one.
Me...the one slowly brimming with the social anxiety that fills me with sheer dread each time I agree to Hike with people I have never met.
"What do I do? Do I cancel? Say I am sick? Did I pack enough? Did I pack too much? What should I wear? Will I look lame? Am I going to keep up? Am I going to hold them back? Are they even going to like me?"
Just a couple of the many questions running in my head—am I the only one thinking these things? I must be. Look at every one else all happy-go-lucky on Instagram.
"So what do I do now?" I ask myself. The answer? I breathe deeply and I tell myself......stop.
Why? Because every single time I have gone out and met up with strangers to hike, I end up having a blast. I end up with new friendships. I end up with the biggest grin on my face and not a trace of anxiety the minute I step out of my car at the trailhead. It is incredibly worth it, especially after such intense mental battles with myself. I become this lively, passionate woman, who won't stop talking about the people she hiked with and where she went.
A lot of people are surprised when they find out I struggle with anxiety, especially now as an Ambassador. But don’t get me wrong, it took me a long time to overcome that initial fear of committing to a hike, especially with strangers. In fact, I STILL feel this way at times before my official meet-ups. But it gets better each time. I close my eyes and just jump right in. I fight these invisible battles with myself every single time and force myself to overcome because I know that it will be worth it. It gets easier each time.
I wrote this the night before to give girls a current perspective on anxiety that I can only assume plagues the girls that hesitate to join group hikes.
Post Hike Update: As expected, my hiking day was indeed a success. I left happier than ever as I always do after a meet-up and it could not have gone better.