How Hiking Helped Her Move Past The Pain Of Divorce

When her marriage ended in divorce after 10 years, Carol Schaffer wasn’t eager for a fresh start. Still shaken up by the split, Schaffer said she held tight to the people and pastimes she loved and only introduced new things into her life (hiking, “Seinfeld” binge-fests) if they helped her heal in some way.

“You can’t change everything about your life right away after a separation,” said Schaffer, who lives in California. “Some people are tempted to make all kinds of changes to themselves and their lives right away, but I took the most comfort in the things that stayed the same like cooking big dinners and having sit-down meals with my kids.”

Schaffer shares five things (some tried-and-true, some new) that made life a little more bearable during her divorce, including these thoughts about hiking:

“There were two things that I could count on feeling after my divorce: exhausted and weak. One day when the kids were with their dad a friend invited me on a group hike. My first reaction was to laugh like a lunatic at the thought of removing myself from the couch when I didn’t have to. But once I realized that accepting the invite meant I wouldn’t be home alone doing laundry, I dug up my old Doc Martens and it was on.”

“Thus began a year-long relationship with hiking. At first I could barely keep up. Eventually I could go for hours straight, traveling many miles, climbing, walking and navigating up and around big and small rocks. I night-hiked. I angry-hiked. I sad-hiked. Mostly I was just silent and focused on each step ahead. I gained toned legs and great cardio stamina walking those hills. What I left behind was my sense of failure and lack of confidence.”

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