Finding how to be kind to myself without the guilt

Over a year into the pandemic, Mandy was scared that her life felt like a see-saw, about to lean one way or the other. She knew she needed balance.

Mandy had always loved nature, being outdoors whether beach or desert; travel; diving; spending time with her family and volunteering to support her remote community. She loved adventure and dreamt of one day conquering the Kokoda Track.

Life had changed though. Her husband had retired, their son had started his trade and their daughter had left their home in a small mining town in the desert of far north South Australia to pursue her dream career in the airforce.

Adventures had stopped and the extended family experienced trauma, loss and the impact of drug addiction on a family member. The pandemic impacted both her work and home life.

Overwhelmed, Mandy immersed herself into her role as a Business Manager supporting companies with their labour resources across the South Australia region and mining industries.

Working unrealistic hours seven days a week, up till 2.30 or 3.00 a.m. with her husband bringing food and coffee to the desk she rarely left. Her health suffered from poor diet, no exercise and not taking any time for herself. Normally a strong individual and a very high functioning professional, Mandy found herself breaking down in management meetings.

“I lost myself” Mandy recalls. “My world changed. I was spiralling out of control and becoming emotionally disconnected from myself and everything I had known”.

Mandy knew she needed to find balance when Women’s Fitness Adventures popped up in her Facebook feed.

 “Hallelujaha, it was the sign. You know when you just know… well my heart knew”.

Mandy signed up for the Women’s Fitness Adventures 5kms for 5 Days challenge in May 2021, seizing the opportunity to improve her health, increase her exercise and get some “me time” back.

Instantly feeling a positive impact on herself and enjoying the warmth amongst the group, Mandy investigated further and realised that Women’s Fitness Adventures offered more than adventure and hiking.

”I quickly discovered that what Women’s Fitness Adventures had created was perfect for women in so many ways, designed for everyone to involve themselves at any level of participation. A group of amazing women, an opportunity to share experiences, privately and safely. I could be challenged again and find that new focus for me. It could get me Kokoda ready”.

Mandy joined immediately.

Exploring the private member section of the website and Member Facebook Group, Mandy found so much support, resources and encouragement available, feeling safe to share experiences with other women in the group. The resources were “perfect for any level and I was starting from scratch”.

Despite living in a remote location, Mandy became part of a community and relished forming friendships with other members who would check in on each other. There were online walks and talks, Masterclasses on equipment and everything to do with hiking. Mandy enjoys the low impact and pelvic floor safe Functional Fitness classes, both by Zoom and online video, which are achievable for all levels without needing a gym.

Also joining the Couch to Mountain program to get Adventure Ready, Mandy will embark on her first multi-day hiking adventure soon.

Mandy realises she has found her tribe and learned to be accountable and kind to herself without guilt. She has created the balanced life she craved whilst regaining her health and fitness. “I may not have conquered Kokoda yet, but I am conquering life/work balance and I am truly the happiest and most fulfilled soul I can be right now in mind, body and spirit”.

In Mandy’s words  “Although I don’t get it right everyday, I  never give up on myself and now have the purpose, strength, wisdom and courage to be best I can be.

Without Women’s Fitnesss Adventures my personal journey would not be what it is today. I’m so grateful as they are there every step of the way. It’s part of my life and it’s how I created balance for me’

I look back to May when my journey started and how far I have come, recently undergoing a major operation and was out for a good 6 weeks. Without Functional Fitness and creating the right mindset I would not have got through recovery the way I did.

Take the step, even if it’s small.  It’s the little, small steps along the way that have the biggest impact in so many ways. You won’t look back. Come join us and create memories and a lifestyle you want.”

If you would like to learn more about becoming a member of Women’s Fitness Adventures, click here.

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Yvonne Shepherd, CEO of Women's Fitness Adventures

Yvonne Shepherd is the Founder & CEO of Women’s Fitness Adventures.

Established in 2014, Women’s Fitness Adventures encourages women to become stronger for life through fitness, adventure and social connection. We do this through our online fitness & hike training programs, thriving online community and our in person multi day adventures in Australia and around the world.

Women everywhere are enjoying the support, friendship and inspiration found inside the Women’s Fitness Adventures community as they connect in real time through our online active adventures that can be done in your location, regardless of where you live.  Your area is our area because we cover every corner of Australia and would love you to join us.

Whether you are ready to go on a hiking adventure right now or it is in the planning, our Hike Training Courses, Masterclasses, Adventure Ready resources and Hike Fitness Programs will equip you with the skills and knowledge to guarantee you success and have the best time ever.


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