One of my outdoor fears? I am afraid of the dark. I almost feel silly in a way saying that now that I’m in my late 30s. The fact is that there are a lot of other outdoors women in the same situation. So, how do we overcome and manage?
Fear often drives us. It tells us what we can and cannot do. While fear can sometimes prevent us from harm, it often prevents us doing from what we dream of doing. Keeping us from the dreams and pursuits we have in our minds because we are so scared of what could happen, it freezes us into a spot of limbo.
Overcoming and Managing Outdoor Fears
I really want to hunt and mornings are the best time, but I am so scared of the dark and what could happen.
I really want to fish, but I am scared to ask someone how I should start.
I really want to ice fish, but I am scared I will fall through the ice.
I really want to hunt in a different state, but I am afraid to travel.
I really want to explore on my own, but I am scared of being by myself.
Do any of those sound familiar?
Overcoming fear of the outdoors doesn’t always come easy; many are continuous works in progress. Some may take years to overcome. Don’t give up because you continue to struggle.
I really wanted to hunt in the morning. The fear of the dark drove me to pass on every morning hunting opportunity. It is not like I didn’t try. I did, but I got lost and panicked. My husband would walk me into my tree stand and then walk to his. What changed it for me? I wanted to duck hunt, but my husband didn’t always have the time and we didn’t always have someone to watch our son.
My choices were: not to go and continue to live in fear, or go solo with my kayak and overcome that fear. The drive to want to do it made me overcome. Was I scared? Absolutely. Was I so incredibly proud of myself when the sun peeked over the horizon? So much! Each time I went out, I became a little bit easier on my mind. I am not saying I am not afraid anymore; I just choose each time to overcome that fear by focusing on the positive outcome or focusing on something other than that fear.
A few keys to overcoming any fear are to address it exists and why and then brainstorm a plan to overcome it. Here are a few helpful tips I have found worked best for me.
Flashlights (bright ones), pepper spray, and a knife: I want to know as best as I can what I am running into IF I run into something in the woods, whether that be another human or an animal.
Know where you are going: Scout it out in the daylight so that when it is dark, you know what you are doing and where. Things look totally different in the dark and your mind can play tricks on you.
Let someone know where you are going and when you should return: If anything were to happen to you, you will have someone who knows the area you are in and when to start looking if you haven’t touched base with them.
There are many social media groups that are great to be a part of that help other women gain knowledge and put them in touch with someone who can mentor them. Many women who fish or hunt love to show other women how to do it. While it may seem daunting, you may find a new outdoors buddy.
Overcoming and managing your fear of the outdoors is worth it. The feeling of success is far greater than the fear itself. Continue to strive for that dream that you keep passing on because fear is driving you.
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