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.

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:

Stop coping with mental and emotional stress and start resourcing

Q: I’m noticing that while coping with the mental and emotional stress of Covid 19 over the last year, my habits of relaxing don’t seem to be working. What can I do?

A: We all have various activities and behaviors that help us cope with uncontrollable situations. It’s humanly natural to avoid adverse or uncomfortable circumstances, as they generate a survival response in our subconscious brain, nervous, and hormonal systems. The uneasiness or duress is often connected to active or passive trauma experiences from our childhood (this is why all stress is individual). When something in our world destabilizes us like a pandemic, war, an economic crash on a societal scale, job change, illness, or having to work from home with our kids, we can feel uncertain, groundless, and wary—this can initiate a state of anxiousness.

To avoid this dysregulating cascade, we have habituated various forms of pleasure, soothing, and numbing to create a false sense of happiness and stability. Our brain is wired to release “feel-good” hormones in response to these coping strategies, but the momentary happiness we receive from the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin doesn’t rectify the situation. Inevitably, wine and guacamole, Netflix, and online shopping don’t lower our stress, and eventually, these actions lose their momentary pleasure potency. What our mind, body, heart, and spirit really need in difficult times is resourcing.

If we can get over the hurdle of deservedness, and truly resource rather than soothe, we can find resilience, vitality, peacefulness, and joy even when immersed in adversity. Considering that our society aims at keeping us developmentally in the state of the myopic self-absorption of an early teen (who would prefer a chocolate bar topped with sea salt for immediate gratification to release the feel-good hormones over an action we need to schedule), we need to energy manage our will power’s decision making through our day to have the reserves to decide as an adult to invest in our well being.

Here are a few considerations to self resource rather than cope and soothe:

  • “Own your day” by bookending the 1st and last 5 minutes just for you (not work, kids, a news feed, or social media), perhaps to pause and notice body sensations, arising emotions and quality of thoughts, journal, meditate or stretch.
  • “Bookend your workday” start and finish at the same time (as much as possible), but work more efficiently with periods of undistracted focus followed by 5-10 minutes of getting up, moving, and changing your mental state. Eat a snack, stretch, breathe deeply, write down 3 things you are grateful for, or have a tea in your garden.
  • Consider replacing happy hour a couple of times a week with these research-proven activities that lower Cortisol and bathe our brain with serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin: pat a pet for 5 min; enjoy a creative pursuit and drop into the ‘flow state’ for 20 min; cuddle, tickle, wrestle or massage your child or grandchild or make love with your mate for 20 min; walk or hike in nature while mindfully noticing moment to moment what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, and feeling on your skin for 20 min; unite your mind and body with 20 min of yoga, Tai Chi or meditation practice.
  • Prioritize movement/exercise, healthy nutrition, deep sleep, detoxing, and choices that actually lower stress and minimize anxiety throughout the week in order to balance your hormones, maintain an active anabolic metabolism and keep energized.
  • Enrich your weekend with fun outdoor activities with others, or take up gardening, the most recently researched long-term happiness-inducing activity.

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:

Hydrotherapy and it’s benefits

Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, has been used for a variety of health treatments for thousands of years. Even before the Egyptians, humans have been steaming, mineral spring soaking, and immersing in cold water to boost healing in the body and mind. Hydrotherapy has long been incorporated in naturopathic, Ayurvedic, and Taoist health practices—even our modern, allopathic medical system has been using it for pain reduction, muscle, and joint inflammation treatments, as well as surgery and nerve recovery.

Hot Water Immersion

Balneotherapy, or Hot Water Immersion, lowers our stress hormone cortisol, as well as ureic acid and lactic acid post-exercise. Mineral salts (either naturally occurring at hot springs, or Epsom salts in your tub at home) have the added benefits of supporting the release of unwanted chemistry from the skin while also soothing joints, back pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Cautionary caveat: replace your electrolytes after soaking in hot mineral baths or springs, and get up from sitting carefully as lightheadedness is common.

Cold Water Immersion

Cold water immersion has a vast array of benefits, from raising metabolic rate by 350%, lowering Cortisol by 46%, raising noradrenaline by 530%, and raising dopamine by 250%. Pain and inflammation also decrease (as experienced in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia due to an increased production of opioid endorphins in the body). Research has shown that cold showers or cold immersion create a “positive systemic stress activation”, through which the high density of cold receptors on the skin sends an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses to the brain. This positive transient activation ignites the sympathetic nervous system and HPA axis (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal-Thyroid nervous and hormonal systems). This activation has immense stimulating effects on our immune system by promoting lymphatic drainage! Brief daily cold stress increases the production of T-Lymphocyte, also known as T-cells, a type of leukocyte (white blood cell), and Natural Killer cell, also known as NK cell, production and activation. Both are critical in our immune system. Research is proving the benefits of cold water immersion in antitumor immunity and nonlymphoid cancer survival rates.

How about Warm Water Therapy you ask? Sorry, not much happens. Head-out-of-water immersions in 20 C / 68 F water will cause metabolic rate to go up marginally. However, throw a few ice cube trays into the tepid bath and drop the temp to 14 C / 58 F and your metabolism will quadruple. Water immersion has benefits, but the greatest health measures are when it’s hot enough to sweat or cold enough to want to shiver in order to affect blood flow and its healing constituents!

There is a growing trend for cold immersion thanks to Wim Hof from the Netherlands. Wim researched water immersion practices from a variety of cultures and married them to breathwork from Vedic and Taoist origins. He leads workshops around the world in taking practitioners beyond their fear-based imaginings to reap the health benefits of hyperoxygenation (what happens when you hyperventilate) and prolonged cold water immersion.

How To Try Hydrotherapy

You don’t have to swim under the polar ice cap like Wim, but consider experimenting with ending your morning shower in cold water, which is called contrast hydrotherapy. You may notice its antidepressive release of beta-endorphins as it awakens you. Do your best to surrender to the sensation of the water on your skin, and know that the vasoconstriction of millions of tiny muscles around the capillaries of your circulatory system are exercising as they pump the blood quickly from your skins surface to your abdominal organs, raising your metabolism and circulating your blood, while actually lowering your blood pressure and giving your heart muscle a break. You can end your shower back to warm or hot water if you wish. The point is to move from hot water to cold. What you do after this is your choice.

As with anything new, approach this new practice with curiosity and always ask why. Please also be cautious if you’ve had heart issues in the past, as cold immersion can cause transient arrythmias in patients with heart problems.


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:

Finding Balance with sugar, alcohol, and caffeine

Achieving balance is no small feat. Especially when it comes to elements of our life that involve rituals, friends, or cravings. Take a few of the most common ones; sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. We all battle these daily, and constantly. One month, we’re off of them completely, then the next we find ourselves overindulged to the point we feel toxic. This cycle can leave us feeling stuck, dependent, and out of control.

We need balance. We can’t be all work and no play; all stress and no fun. But we also can’t be all fun and play. That is when actions become habitual, obsessive, or addictive, and we become out of balance with our balancing acts. It’s worth asking ourselves once in a while whether our choices are serving us or we are in service to them?

Our philosophy at Mountain Trek is that nothing is evil—not Ben & Jerry’s, zinfandel, nor espresso—it’s all about the amount, frequency, and timings of our favorite indulgences. To be habit-free we must know “why” we want any dopamine-rewarding substance. This requires asking ourselves a few mindfulness-invoking questions. Typically we are chasing a need with these pleasures. It could be to relax and unwind, reward ourselves for working hard, filling a moment of boredom, masking an uncomfortable emotion, or often sharing something socially. None of these, or any reasons, are shame-worthy. Once we know why we want these choices, we can ask if they are truly bringing us balance and happiness beyond the moment? This question might require some deeper contemplation and reflection to notice and track what effect these substances have on our energy levels, moods, mental clarity, digestive system, sleep, and even self-esteem. Journaling is a wonderful aid in documenting insights and helps you get out of your own head. If we realize we might be “holding the tail of the tiger”, we can experiment.

If you feel that cutting these elements from your life is preventing you from enjoying time with friends, lowering your overall happiness levels, and feeling overly obsessed, then there may be another path. Fortunately in this world of choices, there are replacement options for many of our pleasures! There are chocolate bars with higher levels of cocoa and lower levels of sugar, and even sugar-free chocolate bars are getting more sophisticated and delicious with natural sugar-free sweeteners (try Xylitol from Birch Tree sap). There are de-alcoholized wines, and 0% microbrewery beers, and even quality alcohol-free spirit replacements to give us options for the social or ritual aspects of ‘happy hour’ fun. Micro roasters have been creating high-quality swiss water decaffeinated espresso beans for years, so we can still be in joy savoring the flavors, aromas, and rituals without some of the un-balancing effects.

The key is to play around and not get stuck in habits that we may think are meeting our needs but are actually tipping us out of balanced health. Be present, savor and enjoy!


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:

Different Kinds of Meditation

We live in a world of choice; 50 shades of grey, 150 flavors of ice cream, 50 styles of yoga, and over 300 various mind/body practices of meditation. It’s oh so easy to get frozen in the decision-making process and then not choose anything! Below is a summary of the different kinds of meditation to help you find the technique that resonates with you, so you can exercise your mind to be more potent and free.

First, let’s back up and discuss the benefits of meditation, and specifically, the practice of mindfulness, which is one of the most researched topics in psychology and neuroscience these days. Unequivocally, as exercises, it shows positive results in both brain and mental/emotional health. Though we tend to think of meditation as only something to bring mental benefits like increased attention span, heightened concentration, improved focus capabilities, peace, and tranquility, all the various techniques also have a somatic, or body-centric, benefit by invoking the parasympathetic nervous system. The result is lowered stress hormone levels, relaxed muscles, oxygenated blood cells, and ultimately, a deeper mind-body connection.

Current researchers have been cataloging the various practices, and have synthesized them down to the 20 most common, which can then be subdivided into 3 primary themes; Focused Attention, Open Monitoring, and Ethical Enhancement. Though there are the various flavors imbued from the original religious or spiritual wellspring that these techniques are associated with—whether Christian, Sufi, Buddhist, Judaic, Taoist, or Hindu—they are all, at their core, techniques to train our mind to be in present moment awareness, a mental state called consciousness.

Focused Attention Meditation

Focused Attention Meditation (FA) uses a vast array of internal or external phenomena to concentrate the mind on. From the sensations of the breath rising and falling or passing the tip of the nostrils; to gazing at a candle flame; the sounds of singing bowls, word phrases, mantras or, chants; or the details of each foot landing in slow motion while mindfully walking, focusing is the focus. When we notice our attention drift to thoughts, feelings or, body sensations, all schools of this form of meditation encourage a non-judgemental “letting go” followed by a return to concentrating the awareness on the stimuli. Brain scans show increased neuron activity in the centers responsible for cognitive control, thought regulation, and sensory information processing. Try this 8-minute breathing meditation:

Open Monitoring Practices

Open Monitoring Practices (OM) do not use an object of focus. Instead, they center on moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, and body sensations also without judgment or preference. Again, with this practice, certain areas of the brain show improvements in action and thought regulation, cognitive control, and sensory information processing. These schools of meditation practice noticing and letting go of anything and everything to foster awareness of our thought tendencies, from a place of present moment witnessing without attachment.

Ethical Enhancement

Ethical Enhancement forms of meditation (EE) include contemplative, gratitude, and compassion centric exercises. They tend to focus thoughts and feelings towards higher states of acceptance and loving-kindness. The improvements noticed through neuroscience are related to areas in the brain associated with ’empathy’, ‘pain perception’ and, ‘body sensation processing’.

Whether you choose to start a meditation practice from any one of these channels, the results are beneficial for the mind, heart, and body. Besides becoming practiced in being focused, aware, or more compassionate for self and others, you’ll notice how your interpersonal presence increases, your ability to stay on task at work increases, and how anxious thoughts can be simply noticed and let go. All of these benefits bring more peace, and joy to our lives.

How To Start A Meditation Practice

Here is a simple starting formula:

  • Pick a time of day that you can own as consistently yours; before getting into bed, or after your morning shower and smoothie.
  • Create a place that invites you to feel calm and relaxed; a chair or cushion in corner of a quiet room, perhaps a serene piece of art or houseplant nearby.
  • Start gently, set a pleasant bell or gong timer for just 5 minutes.
  • Lightly close your eyes, breathe slowly and deeply from the bottom of your belly to the top of your ribs through your nostrils.
  • Invoke your mind’s focus on either the movement/sensation of your breath; the light awareness of the thoughts, feelings, sensations that arise; or focused thoughts or images of gratitude or compassion.
  • Be kind to yourself if you notice a constant stream of thoughts interrupting your practice, this is a normal occurrence for all of us—be patient and, over time your concentration will increase and so too will the space between thoughts.
  • Keep a journal to track your experience and insights.

We hope this helps you on your journey to balanced health. If you would like a kickstart, including guided meditations, please join us for an upcoming Basecamp Weekend Retreat, an online retreat where our expert team brings our award-winning program to 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:

Q&A: I am over working from home. What should I do?

Q: I am really struggling with working from home. What should I do?

A: The world has learned a lot from the past 10 months of Covid. One of the unforeseen outcomes was a mass migration of office workers from downtown to their dens. A variety of research on the phenomena has found both positive and negative ramifications, however, one thing all university and corporate research has pointed out is that for the foreseeable future—even after Covid—work will be remote or from a hybrid of locations, and mostly virtual. How do we as managers and employees prepare for this change?

With 40% of the workforce able to work from home, and 80% of their employers planning to permit them to work part-time or full-time from home post-Covid, strategies are going to be required that build employee satisfaction and productivity for the new reality. The main struggle for homebound employees is work-life balance, distractions, and loneliness from isolation, while corporations struggle to maintain the inter-employee relationships that are so vital to trust, team collaboration, and creative synergy.

For many, the honeymoon phase of working from home is over with some 55% of employees struggling from distractions such as family-shared workspace, children and pets needing attention and support, and negative world news affecting their fear of the future. But even with more flexibility to manage work hours than ever before, 66% of 2000 office workers surveyed are working more nights and weekends than they did before, and 49% find it difficult to keep boundaries, while 59% feel less effective. The blurring of work-life balance is showing up in degradation of physical, mental, and emotional health. Lack of gym and studio access, proximity to the fridge, and the ease for interruptions from the virtual world to pop up are having a negative effect on healthy lifestyle habits as well as productivity. Physical isolation is also taking its toll. The post-grad 20 to 30-year-olds who moved to a new city for employment were counting on coworkers for friendships. Zoom fatigue is setting in and many meeting participants stay blank screened (don’t turn on video), allowing the few extroverts to carry meetings. The “heartbeat” of the office where serendipitous encounters in the hall or spontaneous collaboration at the coffee machine which build trust and relationships through countless unscheduled gestures and interactions has gone missing.

The managers of the future will need to be savvy on technology and off-site work efficiency practices, but also be able to leverage virtual relationships, trust, and team synergy if they want to be leaders in maximizing employee happiness, creativity, effectiveness, and longevity. Though many surveyed employees appreciate the trust from their managers to work from home, and the freedom to customize their day, they are often complaining of boredom and loneliness. It’s too easy for distance workgroups to lose a sense of belonging, feel disconnected from the culture of the organization, and lose sight and commitment to the corporation’s aims and objectives. This can lead to withdrawal and apathy.

Now is the time to realize we are not just coping with a singular crisis. The way we work is going to change forever. So here are some considerations for both employees and management to build the healthiest and effective virtual teams:

  • Create strategies and protocols that schedule work and life separation, while allowing for some freedom and flexibility
  • Utilize the old commute time for personal health resourcing and stress reduction
  • Invest in virtual team-building activities that transmit the corporate culture of health, connection, and co-creation
  • Utilize technologies and protocols that foster face to face small group communication for relationship and trust-building which are foundational for effective brainstorming and collaborative solution finding
  • Transfer office equipment (stand up desks) and gym pass memberships to home and virtual outlets to support physical health
  • Provide workplace and health coaching as well as counseling therapeutic support for individuals who are feeling anxious or depressed from the chronic stress of Covid, but also afterward as we empower a new way of working more virtually

We hope this article helps you with ideas on how to build a sustainable approach to long-term working from home.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning hiking-based health retreat, 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 Stay Healthy During The Holidays

While the holidays are supposed to be a time to recharge, reset, and rejuvenate with friends and family, they often feel more like a drain on our energy. Maintaining a balance between your holiday traditions and indulgences and your health goals is the best way to stay healthy during the holidays. Below are our top tips for how to stay healthy during the holidays. We’ve picked only a few so you aren’t overwhelmed!

1) Take a 20-min “turkey burner” walk after-dinner.

Get outside, get some fresh air, some movement, and enjoy your neighborhood’s lights. It’s inevitable that we all indulge during the holidays. Taking a nice walk after large meals will balance your blood sugar levels and lessen the impact of over-eating, improving your digestion and sleep.

2) Savor your indulgent moments.

We all know these moments too well—they are inevitable during the holiday season, and they typically come with an internal struggle. This year,  try something different. Rather than allowing these indulgences to bring up feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety, or stress—go the complete opposite direction. Really enjoy the sweetness of your favorite treat on your tongue, bite by bite, or the warmth of your favorite holiday drink, sip by sip. You may find you actually indulge less.

3) Stay hydrated

Keeping your urine a pale apple juice color. Being well-hydrated can help prevent the diuretic effects of alcohol. Drink clean, filtered water to hydrate. Pro-tip:  Stop drinking 20 minutes prior to eating and resume 20-minutes after eating (sans enjoying a glass of wine with dinner). Drinking lots of water while eating prevents your saliva (an alkalizer) from neutralizing the acid in your stomach.

4) Put your fork down between each bite.

This tip will slow you down and help you savor your food more. It will also allow your stomach ample time to tell your brain when it’s full.

From our family to yours, we wish you the best of health, happiness, and balance this holiday season!


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress 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: