The Uphill Grind

There are cyclists who absolutely love heading up a hill, seemingly effortless in their climb. I personally don’t share their enthusiasm when faced with a steep climb; quite honestly, hills are my nemesis!

This past week I headed out for a solo bike ride, following a route I know well. There is a particular spot on my ride where I often duck out just before a climb, the hill in front mocks me as I turn right to more enjoyable terrain.

The dreaded hill looming before me, this is where I would typically turn right.

But on this particular day, as I glanced up ahead at my nemesis in front of me, I decided to dig down deep and tackle the bastard thing!

It was definitely an uphill grind but with perseverance & a little sweat, I managed to make it to the top!

Black arrow above my head pointing to my approximate starting point. Take that you bastard!

As is common on my rides, cycling solo allows me some alone time to think. On this particular ride, I found myself reflecting on a number of people in my life facing a variety of challenges and started giving thought as to how life sometimes feels like one constant uphill grind!

We have all felt the impact and stress of the last few years with Covid. The pandemic brought with it, stressors many of us have never experienced before. It continues to be an ongoing trial by fire!

But the reality is that even prior to Covid, life has always had a way of tossing challenges into our paths that can feel unsurmountable at times. I think the difference for many over the past wee while, is that the resources we would typically draw on to recover & recenter, are essentially tapped out.

The ability to dig into our own personal well of resources has all but dried up for many.

Which is why, now, more than ever before, we need to carve out some sort of balance, a way to relieve our stress, to recenter our sense of calm and seek the support we need.

So the question becomes, how do we continue to push through, to grind up that hill, that on any given day, appears to be impossible to climb?

I profess to be no expert on any of this. I can only share what little bits of of coping strategies I have collected in my own life experience. Nuggets I am only too happy to share, in the hopes it may help someone else who is feeling the dread of an uphill climb.

My experience has been to find your people. By “your people”, I mean those you trust to patiently listen and offer guidance. Those you can rely upon to help you & support you.

Allow yourself to unload on your people. Unloading some of what you are feeling may not necessarily change the situation, but it can help to just lesson some of the weight felt in all of those worries swirling around in your head.

Be open to accepting help when it is offered, in whatever capacity it is you might need.

So many of us are guilty of thinking we somehow have to carry our burdens alone, feeling that those around us have their own problems to deal with. We all have problems to deal with but in sharing with one another, we realize we are not alone in our challenges and often are given a different perspective in the best way to move forward. There is no weakness in asking for, or accepting help.

Remember to take a time out and a moment to breathe. You may not be able to find lengthy periods of time to do this but give yourself permission to carve out some alone time. Find a quiet moment in whatever way suits your needs, allowing yourself a moment to recenter.

Whether you are dealing with health issues, work issues, family issues, it matters not. Find your people & surround yourself in them. Allow them to help develop a strategy in moving forward & overcoming that climb. In doing so, you will find yourself grinding up that hill once again with a team by your side, all cheering you on to overcome whatever challenge you are facing.

Oh, and once you get to the top, don’t forget to look back & reflect on what you have accomplished in getting there. You may even wish to yell, “take that, you bastard!” πŸ˜‚

When faced with an uphill grind, what do you do? What are your strategies to recenter?



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29 Responses to The Uphill Grind

  1. Great advice, Lynn. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sheree says:

    It’s not that I like particularly riding uphill, though I do relish the challenge, I just love swooping downhill – free as a bird!

  3. Chris says:

    We know who our Peeps are GF! We’ll be said!

  4. JD says:

    Hi Lynn! πŸ‘‹

    This is such a great blog and really resonates with me! I am sharing it with my people because this is great advice.
    In recent weeks I have offered similar advice to friends saying things like ‘take time for yourself’; ‘take a step back and a deep breath’ and ‘don’t be afraid to ask for help’.
    I am often the unloadee and always happy to be that ear or shoulder among my friends.

  5. restlessjo says:

    I think you’re not wrong about the impact and aftermath of Covid, Lynn. So happy you are still pushing through. Those hills won’t defeat you πŸ€—πŸ’Ÿ

    • Lynn says:

      It has left its mark on so many Jo & yet, we muster on! For as long as I have legs, I shall continue to bring up those hills! I hope you are well my friendπŸ₯°

  6. Deb says:

    Beautiful post, Lynn. Thank you for this moment of respite and introspection in MY crazy day. (p.s. this is my reminder, now that I have finally dusted off the cobwebs and pumped the tires back up, having embarrassingly not mounted the saddle in six years, that there’s a great new path right out my new front door I need to take on!)

    • Lynn says:

      Thank you so much Deb.πŸ’•It’s a beautiful time of year to ride & yes, you literally can access a lovely route on the trial right outside your door! Call me anytime to join you!πŸš΄β€β™‚οΈ

  7. Linda Raha says:

    You have posted such wonderful advice here. You are right. The uphill climb may be very different for different people, but the climb is there! Prayer definitely helps me in whatever circumstance I find myself. It is wonderful that you are out there on your bike enjoying these September days!

    • Lynn says:

      Linda, thank you so much for visiting & sharing your insight. September is one of my favourite times to get out & ride. The summer heat has lessened which makes it much more comfortable for riding! πŸ’•

  8. Ann Coleman says:

    First of all, when I’m cycling, I much prefer flat ground….good for you for making it to the top of that hill! But I completely agree with your tips on coping during these stressful times. I’ve found connecting with other people is so important, as is time alone with nature or a good book. The key is to recognize that the hill we’re trying to climb is particularly long, and to give ourselves permission to take a break now and then!

    • Lynn says:

      Ann, I totally agree. It’s important to find a good balance of connection as well as quiet time to reflect. It can be challenging to take a break for those are so immersed in such a busy lifestyle but carving out just a few moments for yourself is so worthwhile. Thanks so much for visiting my friend!πŸ’•

  9. I read somewhere recently that, the worse physical shape we are in, the higher the hills in front of us appear. I think that also applies to other challenges we face. The more resilient and confident we are (often gained from taking on other challenges), the better we feel about taking on – and concurring – the “hills” ahead. Good for you for not turning right.

    • Lynn says:

      Janis, I have glanced up at that hill so many times over the summer and on that particular day, I just decided I was going to dig in & climb! I so agree that whether it’s our physical health or mental health, the better shape either is in determines how much strength we have to move forward in whatever challenge is in front of us. Thank you so much for adding to the piece and for your visit.πŸ’•

  10. How cool was the ride back down?

  11. Ally Bean says:

    Well said, hear, hear. I love your line: “we need to carve out some sort of balance, a way to relieve our stress, to recenter our sense of calm and seek the support we need.” I’m working on it, day by day, now that we’re into the post [?] pandemic world. The hills remain but I think I have the strength to power on.

    • Lynn says:

      Ally, I think most of us are relatively equipped for rolling hills, the ups and downs of life that we all experience. The pandemic seems to have zapped so many when it comes to have the reserve or resources to recharge. Fingers crossed we are all headed in a more positive direction. Power on my friend, power on!πŸ’•

  12. Enjoyed your post and your thoughtful advice too. What seems particularly hard after COVID tapping our reserves of strength is the anger and hate there seems to be in some groups of people. Trying to avoid negativity is a big part of my coping mechanism- riding a bike uphill, not so much πŸ˜‚

    • Lynn says:

      You bring up a very good point. There does seem to a tremendous amount of impatience and anger among people, particularly when it comes to their stance on Covid and the validity of getting the vaccines. It is a topic I avoid these days! I supposed that is my version of avoidanceπŸ€”. You made me chuckle at your reluctance to ride a bike uphill. It is definitely not my favourite part of cycling but it sure does feel like an accomplishment when you reach the top! Thanks so much for visitingπŸ’•.

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