Tips & Advice

Get Tips and Advice from the guides at Mountain Trek. Nutrition, Hiking, Sleep, Detox and Fitness are just some of the topics we cover.

30 Best Wellness Retreats For 2022

Though we have been in one of the most uncertain and stressful times since the Second World War, the need for a wellness retreat is something humans have sought for millennia. Whether stepping out of day-to-day responsibilities or adversity, cultures of all times and places on the earth have seen the benefit of taking a break from giving and striving to take time to receive and recalibrate physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. 

 

It was a sanctified personal investment whose benefits were returned to the family and community tenfold. Vision Quests, Pilgrimages, Monastic Retreats, Contemplative solo time, and later Health Spa visits are all part of this generative reset. This was all before the fast-paced, plugged-in world we live in now.

 

Since the last recession 2008-2010, Globalization has increased the length of the workday, with the need to work with teams across a spectrum of time zones and travel for meetings sometimes 1-2 times per week. And, as our digital tools have provided us with a plethora of apps and platforms on which to stay connected (at work and home), we rarely have a moment to pause and breathe. Work hours in Canada and the USA have gone up an average of 2 hrs per day with working from home since the Covid pandemic.

 

What used to be time to listen to a podcast or rock out to our favorite FM channel during our commute to and from has turned into compulsive extra time on the computer. Ironically, the inundation from the communication prompting pocket tools has lowered our actual efficiency. It’s not just the working from home interruptions of family, pets, and the refrigerator during the Covid pandemic that has diminished our focusing capability; it’s been a downward trend since the cell phone. 

 

We have been “redlining” our personal metabolic tachometers for two decades, and it’s showing up as chronic workplace “burnout.” Thankfully, wellness retreats can help alleviate burnout and get you back on track.  

Signs That You NEED a Wellness Retreat

Life is often chaotic, busy, and so hectic that you find yourself mere inches from total burnout. Yet you continue to keep on going, frantically trying to keep up with your schedules and daily demands, so busy with life that you’re blind to the impending exhaustion. 

 

Generally, numerous factors indicate that you’re nearing the precipice of burnout. Some of the common signs may include:

 

  • You feel drained mentally
  • You feel overwhelmed
  • You don’t have the energy to work or go to school
  • You don’t enjoy your favorite things or things you previously looked forward to
  • You struggle with focusing and being mindful
  • It’s been a long time since you went on a vacation

How a Wellness Retreat Will Help You Feel Fresh, Mindful & Alive Again!

A wellness retreat is often the perfect solution to an impending burnout. You can visit a retreat for varying lengths of time, ranging from a single day to a short weekend to a week or so. The beauty of wellness retreats is they seamlessly combine a much-needed vacation with “me-time.”

 

You don’t need to worry about anything going on in your everyday life, whether that’s an upcoming deadline, stress at work, overwhelming feelings surrounding work, family difficulties, or any other stressor in your life. A retreat focuses on the health and wellbeing of you. They help you feel fresh and invigorated again by teaching you to focus, be mindful, and take time for your personal health. 

30 Best Wellness Retreats That You Can Choose From

If you feel like you’re in dire need of a wellness retreat, you have an abundance of options to choose from. To make it easier for you to choose, we’ve compiled 30 of the best wellness retreats in various locations so you can select the retreat that is best for you. 

 

  • Skyterra Wellness Retreat

 

Located in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina, the Skyterra Wellness retreat focuses on healthy, sustainable lifestyle changes that you can incorporate into your everyday life. Their program meshes self-care, weight loss, nutrition, fitness and mobility, stress management, and more. 

 

The combination promotes your overall wellbeing, both body and mind. You can choose from a wide variety of activities, including workout classes, spa services, mindful discussions, yoga, and hiking. 

 

Cost: $3,675 per week

 

  • Ayurveda Renewal

 

The Ayurveda Renewal is located in Aurora, New York, and offers people a respite from the busyness of life. The charming getaway is open year-round and offers numerous different programs. 

 

One of the four-day options, the Gift of Wellness program, incorporates mocktail-making classes, customized tips for improving your wellness journey, fitness consultations, nature meditations, massage therapy, restorative yoga, and balanced, custom meals concocted by executive chef Eric Lamphere. 

 

Cost: $3,500 per person for four days

 

  • YO1

 

Located in the heart of the Catskills Mountains in Monticello, New York, YO1 offers various services to align your body, mind, and spirit. The name YO1 is derived from the Sanskrit word “Yovan,” which translates to youthful and the quest for attaining everlasting youth. 

 

The retreat sits on an expansive landscape of greenery, promising a serene, relaxing experience among nature. YO1’s spa offers various services, ranging from reiki energy healing to Ayurveda massage. 

 

Cost: $224 per person per night

 

  • Mayflower Inn & Spa

 

The Mayflower Inn & Spa, located in Washington, CT, seats guests in the lap of luxury. The inn rests on 58 acres of exquisite gardens and woodlands, an oasis just two hours out of the bustling rush of New York City. 

 

Guests can enjoy various activities, from hiking throughout the picturesque meadows and wetlands to relaxing spa treatments. Spa treatment options are plentiful, including choices like sound healing, breathing classes, and massage.

 

Cost: $730 per night per person

 

  • Sensei Lāna‘i Resort

 

Spend five days relaxing in paradise at the Sensei Lanai Resort located in Lanai, Hawaii. The oceanfront retreat provides its guests with ultimate relaxation and a stunning view. Guests can participate in yoga, mediation, tai chi, and flexibility classes. 

 

The resort also offers various other activities, including a Zen sports experience featuring golf or tennis customized to their interest and skill level. 

 

Cost: $6,675 for 5 nights, Optimal Wellbeing Program

 

  • The Lodge at Woodloch

 

The Lodge at Woodloch, located in Hawley, Pennsylvania, neighbors the family-friendly Woodloch Resort. The lake view property prioritizes guest health, going as far as to ban the use of electronic devices in public spaces. Considering how many of us stare at a screen for work, time away from electronic devices is beneficial. 

 

Guests can relax in the Aqua Garden Hydromassage WaterWalls, indoor activity pool, or whirlpools. There are numerous hot tubs across the resort for a warm, muscle-relaxing soak. Classes are plentiful and inclusive, ranging from painting to terrarium-building to yoga. 

 

Cost: $500 per night per person

 

  • The Lake House on Canandaigua

 

Encompassed by peaceful waterfalls, wineries, and stunning landscapes, this retreat offers wellness healing in a stunning location. Guests can partake in various wellness activities and experiences, ranging from guided meditation sessions to candlelit yoga classes.

 

The hotel offers a signature restaurant, a destination spa, an outdoor pool, and a timber frame event barn. Guests can choose from rejuvenating spa treatments, including therapeutic massage and advanced skincare treatments. 

 

Cost: $322 per night per person

 

  • EUPEPSIA

 

This wellness sanctuary is nestled on 250 acres in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The programs focus on helping guests reconnect with their bodies, energy, emotion, mind, and spirit. Guests can choose from various holistic programs that target multiple bodies, such as ultherapy, a natural facelift therapy. 

 

Guests may also choose to incorporate hydrotherapy, hot stone therapy, floatation therapy, and more throughout their stay.  

Cost: $1,979 per week

 

  • Chablé Yucatan

 

This secluded resort, surrounded by the jungle, is located on the Yucatan Peninsula. The focus of the experience falls to the spa, which is built into a cenote (a natural sinkhole, which the Mayans consider a sacred spiritual gateway). 

 

Each guest receives a personalized program, courtesy of the resort’s resident shaman and the spa director. Programs may include various activities, such as yoga in the cenote, chakra treatments, detoxifying massages, walking meditation, or astrology consultations. 

 

Cost: $5,625 for 5 nights

 

  • Bodyholiday Saint Lucia 

 

The Bodyholiday resort is located in Saint Lucia and supports four base pillars: diet, exercise, restorative beauty, and relaxation. Spa treatments target these four categories, treating guests to various relaxing, restorative services. 

 

Programs feature all-inclusive rates covering a daily 50-minute spa treatment, various on-site activities, personal concierge services, healthy food, and beverages. Additional fees apply if guests stay in the luxury villas and incorporate customized spa treatments, retreats, and meals. 

 

Cost: $1,309 per night 

 

 

  • The Lodge, British Columbia

 

The Lodge fitness retreat and health spa is located in the beautiful forests of British Columbia. The modern timber frame lodge rests comfortably among the stunning environment flanking its walls and is the perfect place to reset your wellness among nature. 

 

Guests enjoy luxurious private rooms, an outdoor spa area, an indoor spa area, a gymnasium, and a dining room overlooking the grounds. Guests can book their stay anywhere between April and October. 

 

Cost: $5,900, all-inclusive one-week stay for one person

 

  • Castle Hot Springs

 

Tucked in the Bradshaw Mountains in the Sonoran Desert, roughly an hour from Phoenix, this luxurious resort has remained a popular choice among the rich and famous. Although it was closed for 40 years, it reopened in 2019. 

 

Guests can enjoy the mineral-rich, 115-degree hot springs, a range of fun activities, like yoga and ATV tours throughout the surrounding land, and decadent, farm-to-table cooking. Spa service options are abundant, ranging from personalized massages to various energy therapies.

 

Cost: $450 per night

 

  • L’Auberge de Sedona

 

Nestled in Sedona’s breathtaking red rock canyons, alongside the banks of Oak Creek, sits L’Auberge de Sedona. Guests can benefit from the skilled team of practitioners and healers who can guide them through a five-day, four-night experience. 

 

Guests can also benefit from various coaching tools and activities that enable them to make intentional and sustainable changes to their overall health and well-being long after they finish their stay at the L’Auberge. 

 

Cost: Starting at $823 per night

 

  • Crestone Mountain Zen Center

 

This resort is an excellent place to recharge. Situated with views of the picturesque mountains of Crestone, Colorado, this resort offers top-notch accommodations. Guests receive three vegetarian meals delivered to their room each day and choose from various activities, such as meditation, personal yoga, and tai chi. 

 

Nature trails, located a stone’s throw away from guest accommodations, are perfect for guests interested in healing in nature. 

 

Cost: $150 per night, minimum of 4 nights  

 

  • The Reeds at Shelter Haven

 

The Reeds at Shelter Haven offers guests abundant spa services for the ultimate relaxing experience. The Salt Spa treatment menu features a blow-out bar, makeup application studio, nail care studio, waxing and tanning services, and a decked-out fitness center. 

 

Guests can also incorporate various facial treatments, flotation therapy, massages, and the like into their schedules to boost their rejuvenating experience. 

 

Cost: Rates start at $174 per night, not including treatment services

 

  • Carillon Miami

 

As the name implies, this resort is located in Miami, Florida. It boasts the Eastern Seaboard’s largest spa and wellness facility, with spacious rooms and floor-to-ceiling windows. Top medical and wellness experts are available to assist guests. 

 

Guests can choose from countless treatments, from private fitness classes to spa treatments. 

 

Cost: Starting at $399 per night

 

  • The APPALACHIANS

 

Every year, during November and March, guests have the chance to stay at the award-winning lodge nestled in the Appalachian mountains. The views from the lodge are exceptional, featuring the deep bluish hue of the mountains and lush, green forests dipping into valleys. 

 

The retreat is all-inclusive, incorporating various exercises and activities to promote physical and mental health. 

 

Cost: $5,900 per person per week

 

  • Park Hyatt Aviara

 

This exquisite luxury resort in San Diego, California, recently underwent a dramatic transformation that revamped its health and wellness offerings. The new selection includes VeraVia, an all-inclusive health and wellness retreat. 

 

The resort specializes in weight loss, fitness, stress management, nutrition, spiritual healing, rejuvenation, behavior, and lifestyle changes. 

 

Cost: $642 per night

 

  • Lake Austin Spa Resort

 

This stunning property is situated right on Lake Austin in Texas. Guests enjoy beautiful scenery, including shoreline views stretching into hills shrouded with sycamores, maples, and oaks. The resort itself is peacefully secluded, allowing guests to savor their respite from the monotony of everyday life. 

 

Guests can choose from a lengthy list of spa treatments spread across the 25,000 square foot spa that features hot tubs, saunas, whirlpools, and treatment rooms. Participate in activities ranging from spin classes to drumming to forest bathing. 

 

Cost: starting at $625 per person per night

 

  • Fivelements Retreat Bali

 

This eco-friendly resort, located in Bali, Indonesia, incorporates various sacred arts and Balinese healing traditions to promote the wellness of each guest. Guests can enjoy deep bodywork, meditation, energy movement, and so on. The property is serene, surrounded by lush gardens and tropical ponds. 

 

Cost: Starting at $94 per night

 

  • Cal-a-Vie

 

Open year-round in sunny Vista, California, this 500-acre health spa offers many classes and activities to entertain guests. The spa is designed with a French Provencal retreat in mind, featuring antique furnishings, lavender fields, and stone fireplaces. 

 

The guests are outnumbered by staff at a 5:1 ratio, ensuring outstanding service. Guests can choose from over 160 fitness classes and activities, spa treatments, and guest lectures. 

 

Cost: Starting at $3,595 per person, 3-night minimum

 

  • Sweetgrass Inn

 

Hilton Head Health, a resort that also earns a place on our list, opened the Sweetgrass Inn, which is located in South Carolina and focuses on health and well-being. The inn offers several health and wellness programs, and guests can participate in fitness classes, daily meditation, healthy cooking demonstrations, and outdoor activities, such as beach yoga and kayaking. 

 

Cost: $295 per night 

 

  • Lake Tahoe

 

The Lake Tahoe Mountain Villa sits in an ideal location, perfect for breathtaking panoramic views and easy access to Lake Tahoe’s best hikes. Guests can partake in a refreshing experience focusing on both body and mind during September and October. 

 

The all-inclusive price includes meals and snacks, morning yoga, guided hikes, health workshops, spa time, a trio of 50-minute therapeutic massages, and movement classes. 

 

Cost: $6,400 per person per week

 

  • Mii Amo

 

Flanked by the rich, russet rocks of Sedona, Arizona, Mii Amo promotes the ultimate relaxation experience. Guests partake in “Mii time,” which focuses on shifting one’s awareness to your own being. Mii time comes in several different forms, including listening to meditations and lectures, participating in a private consultation, or listening to a live series with a group. 

 

Guests may also choose to incorporate various spa services into their stays, such as body treatments, massage, fitness, and skin care services.

 

Cost: $3,869 per person for four days

 

  • Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa Oasis

 

Relatively new on the scene, the Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa Oasis sits in Desert Hot Springs, California, and is open year-round. Guests can soak in the area’s geothermal fresh-flowing mineral pools while enjoying the stunning backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains. 

 

The resort offers various massages, body treatments, and facial therapies. Guests can participate in five or seven-day cleansing, juicing, and fasting retreats throughout the year. 

 

Cost: Starting at $228 per night

 

 

  • Rancho La Puerta

 

This picturesque retreat, open year-round, is located in Tecate, Mexico. The retreat is tucked back on a 4,000-acre preserve, allowing guests to relax in the calming essence of nature. 

 

Rancho La Puerta’s programs revamp your entire approach to self-care. They promote self-healing through various medicinal plants and a meditation labyrinth. In addition, the program seamlessly incorporates stunning sunrise hikes, various scheduled activities, and eco-programs at a sustainable farm. 

 

Cost: $4,650 for one week

 

  • Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

 

Open year-round, this resort and spa is located in Rancho Santa Fe, California. Guests benefit from the experience of the team of preventative medicine and epigenetics specialists, who assisted in developing the resort’s Wellness Collective program. 

 

The program features various themes that target different things, such as Movement and Fitness, Sleep and Respite, Nutrition and Detox, or Stress and Balance. The option you choose determines what your schedule looks like, whether that is a daily private fitness session, a meditation session, or a lymphatic drainage massage. 

 

Cost: $1,049 per night

 

  • The Art of Living Retreat Center

 

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, this retreat center offers a great lineup of programs to promote the wellness of its visitors. Guests can pick from various programs that incorporate yoga, meditation, and Ayurvedic detox. 

 

Guests can participate in various classes, such as fire circles, hiking, pottery, and community singing. 

 

Cost: $595 per person for a 3-day program

 

  • Rush Creek Lodge

 

The Rush Creek Lodge, located in Yosemite, California, recently introduced Rush Creek Spa. The spa, open year-round, features various luxurious treatments in the indoor-outdoor facility, including warm waterfall coves, an aromatherapy steam room, cool mist showers, a granite waterfall hot tub, a Himalayan salt sauna, and a sensory room. 

 

Cost: Starting at $264 per night

 

  • Hilton Head Health

 

This resort has garnered national recognition as the leading health and weight loss retreat. Situated on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, it’s open year-round and offers a variety of treatments and activities to promote the health and wellness of each guest. 

 

Programs incorporate a holistic weight loss approach that combines clean, healthy eating, fitness, and mindfulness. 

 

Cost: Starting at $3,525 per week

Wrapping Up

When life becomes overwhelming, exhausting, or taxing, a wellness retreat is often precisely what you need. You may notice that you often sacrifice your physical and mental health in your daily life as you prioritize work, school, family, or any other factors in your life. 

 

However, you may begin to notice adverse effects from your failure to prioritize your health over time. This is where a wellness retreat comes in: take a step back from your daily routine to focus on your overall health and well-being. You’ll leave feeling energized, empowered, and rejuvenated. And who doesn’t want that?

The Cause of your low energy and how to fix it

Feeling tired and low on energy has a dramatic effect on your life. Being low on energy reduces productivity, happiness, longevity, and your overall health. Understanding what causes a lack of energy and how to fix it is critical, and what we aim to share with you in this article.

What Causes Low Energy

Essentially all life in the universe is composed of energy. And, energy (which is never created or destroyed) is constantly changing into one form and through utilization or decay into another. In the cells of our human body, we take in thermo-electric energy from our sun that has been converted into plant life (and up the food chain into animal life) in the form of glucose (sugar). Tiny organelles in each of our cells called mitochondria convert the sugar transported by blood (“blood sugar”) into energy to power every organ, muscle, and neuron. These 1000-2500 power houses extract energy from food and supply it to all parts of every cell in an energy currency called ATP. The healthier and more efficient our mitochondria are, the healthier and more efficient our bodies are.

How To Fix Low Energy

Now if energy is never created or destroyed, how come we feel like we are losing energy? Aging and our lifestyle choices affect the efficiency and longevity of our mitochondria. Oxidation (the bombardment of mitochondria and other cell components with “free radical” electrons from energy production), nutrient deficiencies, and environmental toxins are the root causes. According to Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, “the better a species does at protecting its mitochondria, the longer a species lives”. So, in a nutshell, we need to ensure our lifestyle supports our mitochondria operating efficiently.

Optimize Your Nutrition and Meal Timing

The primary way mitochondria are protected from ‘oxidative stress’ is through plant-based dietary building blocks containing CoQ10, manganese, glutathione, and vitamin E from omega 3 oils. Then there is the need for rest. Intermittent Fasting for as close as possible to 12 hrs through the night, gives the mitochondria a break from energy production so they can repair and regenerate.

Reduce Toxin Exposure

Decreasing toxin exposure (plastics, petrochemicals, heavy metals, alcohol, etc.) lessons damage.

Build Muscle Mass

And, building muscle mass counters the diminishing number of mitochondria as we age. Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates warn us about sedentarism contributing to a loss of muscle mass prematurely lowering our number of mitochondria and ATP production. Strength training rebuilds energy-producing mitochondria in our muscle cells.

Reduce Stress Hormone Cortisol

Stress reduction is important to lowering cortisol which through both the increase of inflammation and reduction of ATP production becomes another energy zapper.

Prioritize Sleep

It’s one thing to target longevity through incorporating as many balanced health lifestyle habits as possible (refer to the previous blog on Blue Zone Centenarian lifestyle commonalities), but living consciously now with a focus on supporting our cellular energy engines and maintaining a charged battery with deep sleep will keep you feeling youthful until your ‘due date’.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning hiking-based health program, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

How To Live a Long Life | 6 Common Habits Of The Oldest People on Earth

There are cultures of centenarian populations around the world that have been studied by researchers and chronicled by National Geographic for decades. They have been labeled the Blue Zones, and they live the longest of anyone on this planet. They have common lifestyle components that researchers believe are the contributing factors to their longevity. Here are 6 of their longevity habits to consider weaving into your life to increase your lifespan and healthspan:

1. Move naturally

The longest-living people in the world don’t go to gyms. They walk, a lot, outdoors and tend to their gardens.

2. Sense of purpose

Knowing why you get up every day is worth seven years of extra life expectancy! Contemplate who you are as a unique individual, and consider how you can share your strengths and gifts to others.

3. Shed stress

Centenarians have stress like you and me, they just incorporate practices in their daily routines to let it go. Prayer, meditation, compassion, and gratitude are the most common.

4. Eat to Nourish

The diet of these people is mostly plant, high in omega 3 oils, with limited alcohol consumption. They also eat slowly and mindfully enough to notice satiation and stop eating when they feel 80% full.

5. Belong

Belonging to something that connects you to a context beyond the day-to-day mundane living and anchors the ups and downs of life to a sense of trust and faith adds 4-14 yrs to our life expectancy.

6. Find Your “Tribe”

Putting loved ones first (but not at the sake of ourselves), and maintaining regular connections to a tight tribe of friends and community that care and inspire us enriches our life through loving relations and shared growth.

We wish you the best of luck on your journey to a long and happy life.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning hiking-based health program, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

What To Do If You Are Feeling Lonely

There is no doubt that this year of isolation during the pandemic has had a toll on young and old alike—universally, we all feel a bit lonely. Unfortunately, this doesn’t just affect our mood—we now know from studying the elder population that loneliness and isolation also have a negative effect on our health and longevity. Research has shown that people who feel lonely or isolated are at increased risk for developing coronary artery disease, stroke, depression, high blood pressure, declining thinking skills, an inability to perform daily living tasks, depression, and an early death. Feeling lonely doesn’t have to be your path forward.

First, we need to understand the difference between “feeling lonely” and “feeling alone”. The difference is a mix of attitude, lifestyle habits, and life context. Inevitably, we are all alone. We are alone with our thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and experiences. What we do with our aloneness is what creates feelings of loneliness or self-comfort.

However you get to a state of feeling lonely, we are here to help. Here is a collection of 7 suggestions to consider that directly affect your health and happiness day to day as well as your lifespan and healthspan.

1. Connect Meaningfully

Connect with family, friends, and even strangers. Taking the courage to reach out, keeps us moving towards others rather than shying away. Whether by phone, via video chat, or even by talking with your neighbors across the fence or a stranger in a park, know that doing so builds confidence and a sense of deservedness to belong to all of humanity.

2. Be Thankful

Loneliness can lead us to focus on ourselves and our hardships. Aim to express appreciation toward friends, family, strangers, and personally through ‘gratitude practices’.

3. Focus on what you can change

Spending time dwelling on our or the world’s current struggles can perpetuate helplessness which leads to disempowerment and loneliness. Consider focusing your attention on something that is within your sphere of influence, or taking a small step towards making a change to empower yourself.

4. Enjoy “being” while “doing”

Whether completing a chore, doing something creative, or going for a walk, savor your experience in order to live it fully. When we do the world feels fuller and we feel more connected to it.

5. Remove negativity

Consider taking a break from the news, or at least limiting your consumption.

6. Be kind, understanding, and patient

Work on treating yourself and others with compassion. Did you know the act of smiling can actually make you feel better?
Develop a routine that provides balance: Create a daily plan that includes physical activity (ideally out of doors whenever possible), time for connecting with loved ones, a creative pursuit, and something pleasurably relaxing (warm bath with essential oils, candlelight yoga, reading something inspiring).

7. Seek help

We may live alone and feel like we need to talk deeply with someone who can help us if we are in a place of confusion or uncertainty. Counseling Therapists and Life Coaches are available to support us even online.

We live in a very fast-paced world with lots of stressors and distractions. It’s hard for us to believe we can enjoy being alone, as we’ve wired our brain, nervous system, and hormonal balance for constant stimulation. Whether we live alone or in a busy household, taking time daily to be with ourselves is critical for balanced mental and emotional health. It allows us to slow down enough to notice how we are feeling, and what kinds of thoughts we are generating or obsessing about. We only truly get to know who we are and what our deepest needs are when we stop, breathe, and become curious. The more we practice this noticing or mindfulness, the more comfortable we can be in our own skin whether we live alone or with others.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning hiking-based health program, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

How Chronic Inflammation Causes Metabolic Disease, Dementia, and Cancer

According to the Mayo Clinic, 90% of the illnesses they deal with are caused by lifestyle, while only 10% are congenital. These are illnesses we have all come to accept as just a part of life, aging, and luck; demential, diabetes, and cancer to name a few. But now, more than ever, we are realizing that there is something familiar, yet very misunderstood at root of those lifestyle illnesses: inflammation. Specifically, chronic inflammation.

Acute Vs. Chronic Inflammation

Acute inflammation is the body’s immune and repair response to an injury or a harmful substance or invader entering our body. Low-grade chronic inflammation is the result of an imbalance in our immune function due to ongoing stress or lifestyle choices that keep our immune system working overtime. Research is showing us that balanced health measures that prioritize regular movement (through a variety of exercises), an anti-inflammatory fiber-rich diet, deep regular 7-9 hr sleep, and stress-reducing activities like meditation coupled with trauma resolution therapy, counter chronic inflammation and reduce the likelihood of contracting these and other diseases.

Chronic Inflammation and Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome is a combination of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke (and its contribution to dementia), and cancer. These conditions include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, impaired glucose tolerance, abnormal negative cholesterol levels, and chronic inflammation from an overactive immune system. Metabolic syndrome, obesity (over 30% body fat), and type 2 diabetes (insulin resistance) are interconnected. All 3 are linked by genetic markers, overeating an unhealthy diet, and lack of consistent movement/exercise… as well as a chronic state of inflammation in the body. Most of us think that fat cells are inert storage containers, however, newer research has shown that belly fat is metabolically active and produces pro-inflammatory substances that contribute to insulin resistance. It’s confusing, but chronic low-grade inflammation has been identified as both a cause and consequence of metabolic syndrome!

Chronic Inflammation and Cancer

When infections, autoimmune responses, or conditions such as obesity go unchecked the ensuing inflammation can promote the growth and replication of cancer cells. Type 2 diabetes (from insulin resistance) is associated with a higher risk of liver, pancreas, ovary, lung, bladder, and breast cancers. According to Harvard Health reports, chronic inflammation and high blood sugar levels also contribute to the general development of cancer cells through the damage to cellular DNA and the creation of an environment hospitable to cancer growth. An estimated 1 in 5 cancer cases stem from a combination of excess fat stores, inactivity, poor nutrition, excess alcohol use, and unresolved stressors.

Chronic Inflammation and Dementia

Dementia including Alzheimer’s, like heart disease, has its root cause in plaque build up in arteries and between neurons. Research still isn’t clear about what is behind these protein deposits, but what we know is the protein plaque deposits in brain tissue and cardiac arteries initiate an immune response. Microglia and white blood cells will attempt to eradicate the plaque, but it isn’t as easy to destroy as viruses or harmful bacteria. Cytokines and other inflammatory chemicals are released in a long-held effort which amps up the immune system creating more chronic inflammation. Research is also seeing how chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, atherosclerotic heart disease, and diabetes have been linked to an increased risk for depression! Recent findings suggest inflammation may increase depression risk by suppressing the birth of new brain cells (neurogenesis).

Though there are many ongoing experiments and tests utilizing medications like anti-inflammatories to help turn off an over-functioning immune system and lower chronic inflammation, the safest and most effective approach is to focus on lifestyle interventions like diet, exercise, stress reduction, sleep depth, and detoxification.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning hiking-based health program, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

Food Sensitivities and Elimination Diets

We all inhabit different bodies. With that comes an almost infinite variety of genetic variations, four different blood types, and unique reactions to our inner and outer environments. Some of us have allergies to pollen, bee venom, nuts, or shellfish. Some of us get runny noses in the spring and some of us have itchy skin when we wear wool. Just as there are no two fingerprints the same in all of humanity, there is no digestive or immune system alike.

When our body finds a certain food difficult to digest, it can be like a stressor to our internal organs. If we eat too much of a particular food or eat it too often, it can not only inflame our intestinal tract but can also invoke our immune system to counteract the food particle’s effects once it passes into our bloodstream. This adds even more stress on many of our systems. Our stress hormone cortisol will rise, our mucous membranes may become inflamed, and our energy levels will drop as our body fights to eliminate the unwanted particles. A variety of symptoms ranging from those that are barely noticeable to some that are chronically depleting are unique to each of us. To add to this complexity, if we’ve been consuming certain foods over a lifetime, we may not be mindful that our body finds certain items distressing as we have desensitized ourselves to the symptoms or the energy drain.

Determining whether any particular food stresses our bodies can seem daunting. But if we take the approach of being an investigator, and bring mindful curiosity and a willingness to experiment with our nutrition, it is possible to become free of the internal stress and regain health and vitality. There are three basic categories of digestive and immune difficulties when it comes to eating.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are typically an acute immune response to proteins in certain foods that our body isn’t designed to digest and assimilate. Common allergies are shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts. The reaction is often so strong that it can be life threatening.

Food Intolerances

Food intolerances are non-immune based responses to difficulty digesting certain foods. These substances may be certain sugars or proteins which we are not genetically able to produce the digestive components to down and assimilate them. This inability can lead to digestive inflammation. An example could be lactose a sugar found in dairy foods not being able to be broken down by people who stop producing lactase after the age of 2.

Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities are again unique to each of us and could be to certain chemical compounds that are found naturally in certain foods like alkaloids in the ‘nightshade’ family, or histamines in fermented food and beverages, dried fruits and avocados, or salicylates found in some foods and medications such as aspirin. We can also be highly sensitive to certain chemical compounds found in our food such as pesticides (like glyphosate), and food additives. These foods or substances cause a delayed immune reaction that may not peak symptomatically for 3 days after ingestion, making it difficult to pin point the stress causing culprit.

Common symptoms of food sensitivities and intolerances

  • Bloating in our lower belly after eating including gas and or water retention in the bowels.
  • Irregular bowel movements or stool consistency.
  • Water retention throughout the body.
  • Joint pain.
  • Sniffling, runny nose, postnasal drip, or sneezing.
  • Itchy skin or skin eruptions like eczema, or acne.
  • Brain fog, headaches, low energy, mood shifts.
  • Asthma or other respiratory difficulties.
  • Poor depth of sleep.
  • Low functioning immune system leading frequent bouts of cold and flu.
  • Cravings for carb, fat, and salt snacks to offset the increased levels of cortisol from internal stress on our digestive and immune system.

Health professionals like a Naturopathic Dr., or Allopathic Dr. (MD) can help determine whether we are reacting to an allergy, intolerance or sensitivity. They may employ blood work, or a skin prick sampling of a specific food or chemical to look for immune or inflammation measures. At Mountain Trek, we prefer utilizing an “Elimination Diet”, in conjunction with a Naturopathic Dr., where you strategically remove suspected foods and chemicals for 14-30 days. Important to this effort is mindfully self monitoring and journalling to track physical, mental, emotional and energetic reactions when carefully and strategically adding items back into our diet. It is worth the experiment to reclaim our balanced health and energy!

Learn more about symptoms and elimination diets from Mountain Trek’s Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Kimberley.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning hiking-based health program, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

How To Find A Sense Of Purpose

You are not alone if you feel like a strong sense of purpose is missing this year. A crisis of purpose is a natural symptom of isolation—living in times of uncertainty as well as aloneness from not being able to give to others effectively isolates our authentic self. According to the University of Berkley, a strong sense of purpose arises when we reflect on our past and present, as well as our beliefs, values, and behaviors, skills and weaknesses, gifts, and talents. These aspects of our life point us to our authentic selves. This reflection can be exercised by journaling, contemplation, mindfulness, and self-awareness. Invoking curiosity about the choices we have been making, the mistakes and the success in our life, as well as the beliefs and habits that may not serve us anymore allows us to gain the clarity and motivation to make choices that lead us to a more meaningful and fulfilling future.

Meaning contains our values, goals, and self-worth. Purpose is the motivation to align to and give from that meaning. As we become clear with our meaning and invoke purpose, we leave our individual focus and find a community of others that we feel aligned with and can give through. The venue for giving may be through family, work, charity, volunteerism, mentoring, or creativity. Purpose is adaptive as it helps us as individuals (research shows it is associated with better mental and physical health), and it helps the species survive. We are wired to cooperate rather than to compete.

Here are some considerations for overcoming isolation and discovering your purpose:

Expand Your Perspective

Reading spiritual, philosophical, poetic, and secular fiction can connect us to the spectrum of humanity and help us align with values, beliefs, and meaning

Self-Reflect

Purpose is not just an intellectual focus, it needs to align with our inner feelings. It can often grow from self or witnessed suffering.

Cultivate awe, gratitude, and altruism

Awe gives us the context to connect to something greater than ourselves. Gratitude and generosity supply the drive to contribute to making a positive impact in the world. The generous desire to give to others and the appreciation we feel for the many blessings in our life are both wired to the same neurological centers in the brain and are rewarded with feel-good hormones.

Connect With Like-minded People

We may feel alone with our unique sense of purpose, but once we are clear, it is important to connect to like visioned people, both to break the sense of isolation and to give with.

Reposition Your Mindset

A sense of purpose at work is vital to our happiness. We can either have a “job mindset” where we go to work to perform duties for compensation, a “career mindset” when we prioritize salary, title, power, or sphere of control, or a “purpose mindset” when we are able to align our personal and professional life meaning. If we can feel like we are making an impact for ourselves and others—an impact that is congruent to our authentic self and purpose—we will be passionate and want to give our best to the job. If on the other hand we are bored, or disempowered, or spend more than 50% of our time in the “job” or “career” mindset we will be dissatisfied and likely will fall into isolation. If we have the desire to contribute more of our authentic self through our work, and there isn’t the availability for that, we may have to find an alternative venue outside of the office in order to give our authentic gifts, strengths, passion, and purpose to have a sense of meaning in our life. Authenticity, meaning, and purpose are intrinsic to our mental, emotional and spiritual balance.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning hiking-based health program, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

How To Be Your Most Authentic Self

There is something refreshing and compelling about engaging with someone who knows their values and purpose and unabashedly shares that with the world. When we engage with these genuine, authentic people we often feel comfortable with them, and while they may have strong ideas and opinions, they communicate their thoughts and beliefs without a need to convince others that they are right. They also tend to walk their talk. Qualities that shine as genuine self-esteem.

While it may seem that these traits are innate and untrainable, that isn’t the case. No matter who you are, or where you come from, you can discover and nurture your own genuine, authentic self. And not just because it might make you more interesting, but more importantly; proud, confident, and happy to be the one and only you that walks this planet.

The Evolution of Authenticity

Homo sapiens, aka us humans, are neurologically wired in our limbic (social) brain to belong and fit in. Being a part of a tribe is what allowed us to survive against predators, and being cast out from this tribe was the worst form of punishment as it meant certain death. Today, however, when most encounters with predators are accompanied by a thick pane of glass, the tables have turned. Now, people who stand out from the crowd are the ones lauded, revered, and rewarded. They are the creatives, the entrepreneurs, the vanguards. The ones who have a deep-rooted, often inexplicable, need to break from the pack and forge their own path. This level of genuine, authentic character lies deep within all of us, however—oftentimes it’s just unheard, or, outright ignored, and needs to be teased out. Below are some considerations for discovering and incorporating more authenticity into your life.

Authenticity starts with self-reflection

Steve Jobs once said, “You are already naked, there is no reason not to follow your heart.” This simple statement is foundational to being authentic, as we are all essentially physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually naked. On one hand, we are all similar humans with common fears, longings and needs, and on the other, we are as individual as our fingerprint. Authenticity requires stopping the doings of life to create the space and time to contemplate and reflect with naked honesty on our unique gifts and talents, our personal values and beliefs, and our sense of purpose for our life. This self-study starts with our thoughts and intuition but develops as we practice moment-to-moment mindful noticing of what our bodily sensations are telling us, and, with curiosity, what feelings and thoughts accompany those sensations. This builds an internal compass that moves us through the world and provides direction when we’re not sure which way is up.

Authenticity requires vulnerability

Seeing your life as an adventure, or experiment for learning and self-growth, is an important mindset on the journey to discovering your authentic self. This mindset allows you to accept the inevitable mistakes and stumbles along the path and fills you with the courage to chart your own course even if it’s not the same path as your family, community, or culture. Genuine people not only know the naked truth about their successes and failings, good and not-so-good characteristics and traits, but they are openly vulnerable with others and are able to see their polarities in perspective as a human on the path to the freedom attained with being authentic. This complete acceptance of our whole self without judgment, self-criticism, or loathing builds self-compassion, which in turn expands our heart’s capacity to allow others to also be fully human themselves. Compassion for others and vulnerability for themselves are two distinct traits of authentic people.

Authentic People Disregard External Expectations

Author and Professor Brené Brown says, “let go of who you think you are supposed to be and embrace who you are”. People who are aligned to their authentic self do not waste energy trying to be something other people want them to be. They embrace their true selves, life, and the world around them. Because they have an internal alignment to growth and freedom rather than operating from a fear of not meeting external expectations or the parameters of others, they have genuine self-worth. They avoid putting on masks to fit in with others (except during covid), which saves energy for manifesting their dreams. They may consciously adjust their style of communication with different people, but do not change the essence of what they stand for.

An Authentic Motto: Progress over perfection

Achieving perfection is a tall, almost impossible, order, yet it’s typically what we expect of ourselves. Striving for perfection only allows for one single possible outcome to satisfy us, when in reality, 99.9% of the time we arrive at a different destination. Ultimately this means that an overwhelming majority of the probable outcomes will be seen as failure, which when finally considered, can incite crippling anxiety. Fear of failure sets in and inaction ensues. On the other side of the coin, authentic people strive for progress over perfection. Their fear of failure is replaced with personal responsibility and integrity for doing their best from being the most aligned that they can be in any given moment.

Authenticity is a Skill, not a Trait

Because we live in a highly competitive and judgemental world full of criticism, opinions, and polarization, layered with inappropriate images and messages of unrealistic beauty, attainment, and expectations, we need a practice to connect with our essential truth. This practice is mindfulness and compassion. Mindfulness creates the noticing and curiosity to resonate with what is true in our body and mind, and compassion enlarges our heart to include ourselves and others without the paralysis that comes from shame-induced judgment and criticism, the main hurdle to following our heart. Learn more about mindfulness and meditation.

When we genuinely believe in our truth and confirm it by paying attention to our body sensations and feelings, we align ourselves internally and externally. Then there is no reason not to follow our hearts and support others to do the same.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning hiking-based health program, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below:

How to increase willpower and motivation

Lately, we’re hearing more of our guests say they are having difficulty focusing, making decisions, and following through with actions they know would be in their best interest both at work and in my personal life. It’s not easy to perform as well as we would like mentally or emotionally during times of stress—and this past year has certainly been one of the most stressful in our lives! Here is the latest neuroscience on willpower, decision making, and motivation to help you do your best.

Our decision-making “muscle”, commonly called willpower, resides in the prefrontal cortex of our brain. It is the executive functioning center that helps us weigh the pros and cons of a decision from a logical perspective. These deliberate value-based decisions vs our endless reactive and automatic unconscious decisions max out at approximately 75 per day. According to researchers at Cornell University, the average North American adult is making 35,000 decisions a day (226 just about food)!

The most successful decision-makers don’t have super willpower, rather, they conserve willpower by developing routines and habits that help them avoid having to make inconsequential decisions. These mental energy conservationists know what researchers are confirming; making too many decisions and wading (or surfing) through too much information depletes cognitive resources and decision power.

Multitasking is another mental energy drain that results in poor decision-making, mental fatigue, shallow thinking, and impaired self-regulation. It takes energy to jump from task to task, and even more energy to attain a level of focus where we perform our best. Focus on one task, do it really well, then move on.

Motivation is the force that drives our decisions through to completion. We have intrinsic motivation, which is driven by our internal value set. We are motivated to make decisions and take actions that align with our “authentic self,” and are rewarded when we do so—an increase in brain stimulation in our learning and creativity centers is seen when make decisions that align with our values. We also have extrinsic motivation. We feel this form of motivation when we receive external rewards such as awards, praise, status, a raise, or bragging rights. Extrinsic motivation is rewarded by our feel-good hormone dopamine. Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation play a role in progressing towards our goals.

When under duress, motivation wanes and is replaced with anxiety (fear of failure), burnout (depleted energy reserves), and low self-esteem (competitive self-comparisons). Here is a list of options for you to consider to boost your decision-making willpower as well as your motivational energy.

How To Cultivate Will Power

  • Work in focused time blocks and avoid multi-tasking. Minimize interruptions by turning off prompts, alerts, and auto feeds.
  • After focusing with uninterrupted concentration, set a time limit to followup on emails, texts, and important information feeds.
  • Trust your subconscious “gut instinct” for the less important decisions. Neuroscientists have found that our intuitive subconscious is able to make a decision several seconds before our prefrontal cortex can, and does so without “over-thinking”.
  • Practice daily meditation and mindfulness. A study by INSEAD and The Wharton School showed 15 minutes of concentration and awareness practice made smarter choices while derailing compulsive and addictive patterns.
  • Ensure that self-resourcing and self-regulation punctuate the focus and admin time allotments to keep the brain fueled, oxygenated, and less stressed.

How To Cultivate Motivation

  • Set SMART goals.
  • Pre-analyze potential obstacles and list solutions.
  • Reflect on the benefits of following through on a decision in a journal to build mindfulness skills. Importantly, hold an experimentational mindset.
  • Include fun in some of the decisions to cultivate dopamine rewards.
  • Enlist support from others for emotional alignment.
  • When possible, find alignment to your internal authentic values, and trust that following through will enrich you.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning hiking-based health program, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at info@mountaintrek.com or reach out below: