Why a Weekend Away is Good for Your Health

by Laura Belus, ND – Elevate Wellness Retreats

With the speed at which our society moves these days, a weekend away can be hard to come by, but could it be worth it in more ways than one? Getting out of your normal routine, unplugging, and reconnecting with your loved ones can have a profound impact on your health!

In our current culture, a weekend away may seem like an indulgence, but if you’re someone who has a stressful day-to-day life (who doesn’t?), it might be essential.

When you’re stressed, you release the hormone cortisol. Cortisol puts you into the “fight or flight” mode, which sounds primitive – because it is. Our bodies are triggered to release cortisol when the brain interprets “stress”. When evolution constructed this pathway, “stress” was something that put you in immediate danger – such as a bear chasing you. Today, “stress” can be anything from a big meeting, a traffic jam, or running late for work. These events aren’t as serious as a bear chasing you, but your body perceives it the same way and responds by releasing an array of hormones, including cortisol.

Cortisol suppresses digestion, immunity, and reproductive hormones (non-essentials during a stressful moment), and enhances cognitive function and muscular activity. This is why chronic stress can cause digestive problems, frequent infections, and hormonal irregularities. If you are under stress for a prolonged time, your cortisol levels can be consistently high, which can lead to elevated blood sugar, and fat accumulation around the midsection. It can also lead to exhaustion of your adrenal glands (which are responsible for making the cortisol), leading to a range of symptoms such as moodiness, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. Reducing your stress is critical to lowering your cortisol levels and maintaining optimal health. Here’s where a weekend away can help you deal with your daily stressors!

Not only is a weekend away relaxing, taking a break from daily stressors can have a profound positive impact on your cortisol levels, improving your mental and physical health. Getting out of your daily routine can provide you with a fresh perspective and give you clarity on any decisions you may be facing. A change of scenery, especially when that scenery is nature, is a great investment in self-care. It has even been found that spending time in nature by engaging in activities such as gardening can lower cortisol levels and reduce depression symptoms. When you take time to relax, you are actively improving your overall health by changing your stress hormone levels.

Going on vacation with loved ones is also a great opportunity to spend quality time together and allow yourself to refocus on what’s important. Going away with loved ones, such a romantic partner, can also help you and your partner learn how to support each other as you prioritize your health goals.

Regions of your brain actually undergo physical changes in response to chronic stress which are reversible if the stress lasts weeks, but it’s unclear whether these changes can be reversed if it lasts months or years. Taking a weekend off to destress is starting to sound crucial isn’t it? It’s a great balance to working hard Monday through Friday. You may even find that you return to work with more positive energy than when you left, feeling refreshed and ready to be productive. Go ahead and book a weekend getaway – it’s not an indulgence if it’s good for your health!

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that includes your partner, why not join Elevate Wellness Retreats this September 27-29, 2019 at Viamede Resort to learn how to boost the health of yourself and your relationship. Learn more by visiting www.elevatewellnessretreat.com.

References

  1. Detweiler, M.B, Self, J. A., Lane, S., Spencer, L., Lutgens, B., Kim, D. Y., . . . Lehmann, L. P. (2015). Horticultural therapy: a pilot study on modulating cortisol levels and indices of substance craving, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and quality of life in veterans.
  2. McEwen, B. S. (2008). Central effects of stress hormones in health and disease: understanding the protective and damaging effects of stress and stress mediators. European Journal of Pharmacology, 583(2-3): 174-185.

What’s On this March Break

by Ben Samann, General Manager

One of our core principles here is that parents are happiest when the kids are tired out, and kids are happiest when they get to run free without parental supervision (staff supervision provided!).

Welcome to March Break at Viamede.

As always, we don’t really know what the weather will bring in March; we may be skating on the lake in a blizzard, or the first of the flowers may be coming up already. Either way, we’re ready with a week full of weather-proof programming for everyone. Daily supervised kids activities give parents some time off, and daily beer/wine/whiskey tastings help the adults unwind.

Take a look at our March Break activities:

2019 Viamede Resort March Break Schedule

And that’s just the stuff we’re helping you to do. Some guests like to make their own schedule and that’s okay too! We have nine (9) kilometres of hiking trails, and can even lend you one of our resort Goldens (Toby and Daisy) to bring along on your hike. Our indoor/outdoor pool is the perfect spot to relax or meet friends for an impromptu volleyball game.

Four images side by side that show a Foosball table overlooking Stoney Lake, two people sitting by a roaring fire with socks, a young boy tubing down a snow hill, and an indoor pool.

March Break is a special time at Viamede. It’s the last of winter, and the first of spring, and often an interesting mix of both. Snowmen and skating mix with sunny days and puddle jumping, and we’re ready for all of the above.

It’s a time for kids, and parents who want to be kids. We do what we can; our cooking classes are popular for everyone, and Bob the Gardener will be helping people get their gardens started. Kids can go home with their own plant and adults can learn how their hostas can do better.

We know that the key to happy parents is tired kids, so we always build in some time for kids to be kids: pool volleyball, cooking classes, gardening workshops, and even pizza and a movie night to give parents a quiet dinner to themselves.

Probably the most popular hangout, rain or shine, is 1885 – giant Scrabble, a large fireplace with cozy armchairs, and all-day snacks. The kids can play Foosball while the parents sip Scotch. Sit by the fire and play a board game, or challenge friends to a game of darts. Have another cappuccino and wait out the storm, or head out into the sunshine.


Packing For A Viamede Cottage Stay

by Alyssa Joynt

Going on vacation can be stressful.  The packing rush, the multiple turn-arounds for forgotten chargers, favourite stuffed animals, and bathing suits, and the constant chimes of “Are we there yet?” from the back seat make getting on the road difficult.  That’s why we want to make it easier for you with the perfect cottage packing list.  So grab a pen and paper and start taking notes for your need-to-bring list… wait, don’t do that.  We’ve done it for you!

Bedding and Towels

The last thing you want to worry about while on vacation is laundry, so it’s a good thing you don’t have to.  All of our cottages get full housekeeping service, so your beds will be freshly made (yes, we provide sheets and blankets) and your bathroom is fully equipped with full sets of fluffy towels.  It might not be a bad idea to bring your brightest beach towel to decorate your porch railing, though.

The Kitchen Sink

One of the things people like about our cottages is that it gives them the opportunity to cook their own food (and if that isn’t your shtick, you can get all of your food at The Boathouse or even enjoy the comfort of home-made food minus the prep, by ordering from our signature BBQ Menu).  We provide the pots and pans, all of the dishware, coffee and a coffee maker, a fridge, a microwave, a toaster, and even an oven and a stove, depending on the cottage you book.

If you are particularly partial to a specialized coffee, or you can’t live without your morning smoothie, bringing your coffee machine or blender might be a good idea.  We don’t have a lot of specialized cooking ware, but we do give you the counter space for it!

All cottages also have a barbecue, because what is cottage country without a night spent grilling, drinking a beer, and catching up with family and friends out on your front porch?  And don’t worry about packing the kitchen sink – our cottages all have sinks, dish rags, and dish soap to help with the clean up.

So all you need is any food you won’t be eating at our restaurants, and any specialty cookware you can’t live without.

Toiletries

You know what’s also annoying to pack? Hair products.  To this day we are still perplexed about how to conveniently travel with something that isn’t quite solid and isn’t quite liquid.  With our full housekeeping service comes regular refills of shampoo and conditioner, so unless you have a specialized kind we’ve got you covered! We also provide hair dryers, but I personally prefer the beach-hair-don’t-care look. We also provide soap, so the only supplies from your bathroom that you’ll need are sunscreen, toothbrushes and toothpaste (but if you forget those we have some at the Front Desk!). And maybe makeup and hairspray (but we encourage you to go cottage-chic and throw the hair in a pony, and freshen your complexion with nothing more than your fave sunblock).

 

We hope you’re looking forward to your vacation almost as much as we are looking forward to having you, and we hope this has helped answer some of your perplexing packing problems.  Just remember to pack underwear, bathing suits, sunscreen, and your sense of fun, and of course your camera so you can relive it all when you return to real life.