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Posts tagged ‘Outdoor Activities’

The Case for Slowing Down in 2015

The Case for Slowing Down in 2015

Research has shown that it takes 25 minutes for the average person to mentally recover from a single phone call or other such interruption during work. The problem is, research has also shown that these sorts of interruptions occur in our daily lives every 11 or so minutes. So when you’re halfway de-stressed from one interruption, another one comes blundering along into your life. It’s like consistently getting 4 hours of sleep when your body craves 8; it’s going to catch up with you — and it’s not going to be pretty.

Chronic, unrelenting stress is dangerous to our health, happiness, and longevity, being at the root of myriad chronic diseases and imbalances. But the benefits of reducing stress and slowing down in life are universal:

-increased happiness and enjoyment of life

-better, deeper focus

-less tension and and stress-induced musculoskeletal imbalances    

Small life changes, like reducing an addiction to technology, can help you experience less stress in your daily life, and deal with stressors more healthily when they do come thundering along.


Take a card from the techies at Google: take a technology sabbath. Shut your electronics off for one day or an entire weekend. Read books, play games with your family, go outdoors, experience creativity-inducing boredom.  

Even if you don’t have the luxury to take a technology sabbath, you can still slow down your daily routine. Make yourself a hearty homemade breakfast instead of rushed buttered toast, and give yourself the time to mindfully enjoy it. Eat dinner with your family without checking your phone midway. Listen to the sounds of birds instead of blasting music on your walk to the local cafe. Every little bit helps. Here are 4 additional ways to slow your life down:  

1. Do a few important things instead of many trivial things

2. Leave early for events so you don’t have to rush.

3. Practice basic meditation for 5-25 minutes a day. Become comfortable with ‘doing nothing’. It has been scientifically proven to reduce stress.

4. Spend as much time as you can in nature, undistracted; even if all you can spare is just one day a month. It revitalizes you.

5. Eliminate what is unnecessary in your life — people, technology, fragile furnishings, et cetera; anything that requires trivial efforts, causes stress, or serves no function.  “Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” Thoreau  

We are bombarded by facts and information in our everyday lives — so much so that it is impossible to absorb more than a fraction of it. Slow down and let yourself learn, hear, and see new things. Stop opening your browser window; slow down and open yourself up to the world.    

By Jordyn Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! 


Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 
    Available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes! 

Member International Association for Health Coaches 

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10 Steps to a Happier Life

10 Steps to a Happier Life


Our modern lives are littered with stress. By retuning your approach to it,  you can create a pure, lasting inner peace in place of modern worries. Here are  some suggestions to help guide you towards lifelong happiness.

Live every moment. Be totally invested in life right now — not in the past or future. Many people are so busy worrying about last week and  detailing tomorrow, that they forget to live today. Put more effort in “the now” and stop worrying — it just makes you older. That being said…

Don’t get old. Getting old means abandoning your creative  instincts. It means stressing more. It means being serious all the time. But,  there are many ninety-year-olds with who certainly don’t act “old.” Being young and creative is a  state of mind, regardless of age. And creativity is the fuel of happiness. So,  go lie in the grass and pick out shapes in the clouds. Roll around if you want  to. It is perfectly alright, regardless of what society has lead you to  believe.

Have experiences. Good or bad. Open yourself up. Be a vessel  for new ideas, cultures, foods. Don’t pass judgement on people, things, or  places that you haven’t yet experienced. Forge deep, human connections.  That’s what life is all about.

Banish negative thinking from your life. It serves no  purpose for anyone, and only makes life more toilsome. Stop it.

Tread lightly upon the Earth. Living lightly feels more  purposeful and brings you closer to the planet. As hikers practice “Leave  No Trace”, do so with your own life. When you are gone, how much of your  imprint will be left here on the planet? Will you have left thousands of pounds  of trash? How many non-renewable resources did you yourself consume? If you  desperately need to be remembered when you’re gone, maybe you should commission  a statue or portrait of yourself (supporting the arts at the same time!). Don’t  leave future generations with piles of your waste to clean up.   

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let  your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a  million count half a dozen…” (Thoreau). Stop stressing about everything and  frantically multitasking. Do a few things, and do them well. “Our life  is frittered away by detail…” Stop wasting your precious seconds  halfheartedly doing twelve things at once. Do one thing at a time — wholeheartedly and passionately. Simplify your life, possessions, thoughts, and  you’ll find yourself much more at peace.

Get out of your comfort zone. Try everything once, even if  you are weary. You’ll be glad you did. See “Have experiences.

Use your mind. Don’t squander it. Stop relying on technology  to do your thinking for you. Your brain is unique and brilliant in its own way.  Use it more and you’ll be amazed at your increase in creativity and overall  satisfaction.  

Treat your body with respect. Practice yoga, play tennis, go  swimming. Eat natural foods. Have some chocolate, drink a beer. To put it  simply: get exercise, eat well, indulge in moderation. Love your body and  it will continue to serve you. As soon as you start disrespecting your body, it  will start wasting away.

Reconnect with nature. There is no separation between  humankind and nature; we are simply an extension of it. Be outside. Breathe in  fresh air. Let the sun warm your soul. From a scientific standpoint, being  outdoors boasts numerous benefits. From a human standpoint, it just feels right.  Isn’t that all that matters? Go enjoy it.

By Jordyn Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman.  Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory,  she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food  and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing,  mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! Check out what  else Jordyn has been up to at


Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

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20 Easy Ways to Be Happier

20 Easy Ways to Be Happier


What we found is that sometimes,  the tiniest changes can have a huge impact on overall happiness. These twenty  ideas will help you go from grumpy to giddy.

1. Make Your Bed Every Morning I’ve heard this one  before, and not just from my mother. For most people, outer order leads to inner  calm. And making your bed is one quick, easy way to get some semblance of a tidy  room (even when your closet is anything but.)

2. Shorten Your Commute Okay, this one may not be a  cinch. But if there’s any way you can shorten your commute, it’s certainly worth  the effort. Spending two hours a day in gridlock traffic is enough to drive even  the most Zen commuter up the wall. Not only is the drive itself infuriating, a  long commute eats up time that could be spent on proven happiness boosters, like  sleeping or interacting with other people.

3. Find a Rocking Chair You know it works for babies. Now  it seems that rockers bring similar comfort to elderly sufferers of dementia.  Researchers at the University of Rochester encouraged twenty-five residents to  rock as much as they like and they became less upset and anxious and required  less pain medication. Who’s to say it couldn’t work for you?

4. Make Lists Writing it down (whatever “it” may be. is a  successful tool for managing stress. Just make sure your list doesn’t get out of  control. After all, your list is supposed to help with your stress, not add to  it. Remember that you can always adjust your priorities.

5. Paint Your Toenails … Even in the Winter In the winter  months, it’s easy to ignore your feet until they morph into a Shrek-like  monstrosity. Who’s going to see them anyway, right? Wrong. You are! So give them  a soak, a scrub, a bit of moisture, and a dash of color. You’ll feel better  instantly.

6. Wake up the Right Way Are you coffee lover? Wake up to  the smell of freshly brewed coffee by investing in a percolator with a  programmable timer. Tired of waking up to the shriek of a buzzer or the  irritating voice of the talk radio host? Get yourself an alarm clock that wakes  you up with natural light and sounds.

7. Talk About Something New People tend to get stuck on  the same old topics of conversation. Stimulate your mind and encourage others,  too, by finding one little interesting tidbit a day and starting a conversation  by saying, “Did you hear about _________? What do you think?”

8. Refuse to Give Advice The easiest way to get sucked  down the negative spiral is by participating. Do your friends a favor: when they  start unloading their problems on you, let them figure it out on their own. The  reverse is also true—don’t bore your friends with your problems. Focus on  fun!

9. Rearrange Your Furniture It may sound silly, but even  the tiniest shift of a kitchen table or couch can make all the difference. It’ll  make the room—and you!—feel new again. And the best part? It doesn’t cost a  thing. (Tip: If you need to move a large item on your own, stick a dish towel  under each leg and push; or if you’ve got carpet, use furniture sliders.)

10. Smile on the Outside Even when you’ve got nothing to  smile about. Forcing a smile can trick your body into changing your mood. You’ll  also find that other people will react better to you when you’ve got a smile on  your face. Voilà! You’ve just created a snowball effect of fuzzy feelings.

11. Gaze at a Photograph If the photograph is of a loved  one, it can stimulate blood supply to the brain, says researcher Andreas Bartels  from University of London. Imagine them giving you a hug.

12. Turn off the TV Happy people don’t watch TV. Instead,  they socialize, which brings them more long-term satisfaction. We’re not saying  to skip your favorite shows altogether. But if the choice is between watching  something just because it’s on, and grabbing a friend for a last minute dinner  date … well … you know what to do. Delicious and good for you!

13. Get Informed Stuck on a problem that just won’t go  away? Try Googling it. Reading up on how other people have handled your  situation may give you some clues on how to tackle it yourself.

14. Eat Avocados Avocados are good for your skin, your  hair, and—more importantly—your heart. But did you know they’re also good for  your mood? They’ve got monounsaturated fats and tryptophan, which boosts  feel-good chemical endorphins in the brain.

15. Sing or Hum a Tune Listening to music can make you  feel good, but singing or humming your own tune is even better! Try making up  the words to one of your favorite songs, and sing it out loud. Even if your cat  is the only one who appreciates it, you’ll feel good about it.

16. Break the Rules Here’s a little known confidence  booster: when you follow your own path, (especially when you go against the  grain. it’s incredibly intoxicating. We’re not advocating anything illegal, just  saying that you should do exactly what you want sometimes and not what you think  you should be doing.

17. Invigorate Your Senses A quick spray of lavender,  eucalyptus, rosemary, or lemon can clear your head quicker than you think. For  an extra-calming treat, take a nap on a pillow scented with lavender—either in  fabric spray form, or crumble some of the plant itself and put it in your  pillowcase.

18. Visit a Quiet Place Libraries, museums, gardens, and  other quiet places can give you a break from the frantic pace of everyday life.  Find a secret spot and make it your sanctuary, whether it’s in your backyard or  the Reference section.

19. Forgive Someone Research shows that those who are  able to forgive are less stressed, less angry, and more optimistic than those  who aren’t. So, if you’re holding onto old grudges for the sake of it, it might  just be time to let go.

20. Spend More Time with Your Happy Friends Misery loves  company. Too often, we find ourselves surrounded by soul-crushing negativity.  The good news? Happiness really is contagious. Research shows that happiness,  even when removed by three degrees, can make you happier than an extra $5000.  Focus on spending time with the optimistic people in your life and you might  just become one of them.

By Tania Khadder and Kayla Baxter 


Thank you for visiting!  I believe that Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life?   Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!  I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

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18 Ways to Boost Your Health in 2013

18 Ways to Boost Your Health in 2013


Let’s face it:  most of us start out the New Year with the best  intentions, but soon we are back to our old habits.  Here are 18 ways to  help you get your health on track in 2013:

1. Eat a large green salad.  Greens are full of vitamins, minerals,  enzymes, and phytonutrients like chlorophyll that give our body a huge  boost.  Chlorophyll, in particular, helps build healthy and strong  blood.

2. Drink more water.  Water fuels every cell in our body.   Insufficient water spells the breakdown of cellular process that can eventually  cause illness.

3. Eat two or three pieces or servings of fruit (count ½ cup of fruit like  grapes, blueberries, cherries, etc. as a serving) daily.  It’s easy enough  to choose fruit instead of a less-healthy dessert.

4. Go for a brisk walk.  Walking gets your heart pumping, improves  circulation, and gets your lymphatic system (the system that eliminates toxic  build-up from your tissues) working more effectively.

5. Better yet, take your brisk walk in nature.  Breath in the rich  oxygenated air from the trees and enjoy the peace and quiet nature offers.

6. Drink a freshly made juice preferably with green veggies.  Ideally,  dilute your juice 1:1 with pure water.  Fresh juices are an easy way to  cleanse your body and give it a huge amount of nutrients.  Some people  spend a fortune on superfoods (which is fine if you have the money) but fresh  juices also tend to be rich in antioxidants and other critical nutrients and are  much cheaper.

7. Think of at least 10 things for which you are grateful each day.   Better yet, start a gratitude journal.  Just the act of appreciating what  you have can help you feel happier and better about your life.

8. Hug someone you love (make sure it is someone who actually wants a  hug).

9. Soak in a warm bath with Epsom salts.  The magnesium in Epsom salts  is readily absorbed through your skin to relax your muscles and ease  tension.  Many experts estimate that about 80% of the population is  magnesium deficient.  This is a delightful way to boost your magnesium  levels.  Try to stay in the water for at least 20 minutes for maximum  benefits.

10.  Meditate.  The act of calming your mind can relax the nervous  system, which tends to be in stress mode due to our high-stress, fast-paced  lives.

11.  Deep breathe for at least 5 minutes, as often as you can.   Research shows that breathing deeply can reduce the amount of the stress hormone  cortisol that is released from the adrenal glands.  Simply reducing this  hormone can reduce anxiety, stress, and even help with weight loss.

12.  Dry skin brush.  Brush your skin using a natural-bristled  brush.  Start with the legs and brush upwards toward the heart.  Then  brush the trunk of the body also toward the heart (avoiding the breasts), and  then brush the arms toward the heart.  This gets the lymphatic system  moving to eliminate toxins more effectively.  Take a couple of minutes  before hopping in the shower.

13.  Snack between meals on healthy snacks like almonds, veggie crudite,  hummus and whole grain pitas.  Snacking every few hours helps keep blood  sugar levels stable, which is critical to reduce mood swings, depression,  balance energy and to lose weight.

14.  Stop and smell the flowers.  It’s okay to slow down to a pace  that you actually enjoy life more.

15.  Eliminate at least one item from your life that contains toxic  chemicals (dryer sheets, most types of commercial laundry soap, dish soap, “air  fresheners,” etc.).  Choose a natural option from your health food store  instead.

16.  Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables.  We know we should eat  our vegetables but it’s difficult to remember sometimes.  Add mashed sweet  potatoes as a side dish, or saute some greens with freshly chopped garlic and  toss with a little fresh lemon juice and sea salt.  Even people who don’t  like greens tend to love this way of preparing them.  Check out my book Healing Recipes if you need more ideas for creating  delicious vegetable dishes.

17.  Dust off that piece of exercise equipment you’ve owned for years  and put it in front of your television.  If you’re watching TV, exercise on  the commercials.  No equipment?  Do pushups, sit-ups, crunches, or  other exercises on the commercials.  It’s easy and it adds up.  Soon,  you’ll be surprised how fit you are.

18.  Do something nice for someone.  It just feels good to do  something nice for someone else.  Usually we reap the greatest benefits out  of paying good deeds forward.  A positive attitude is contagious.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 14-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: 60 Seconds  to Slim, Healing Recipes, The  Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The  Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan,  and The Phytozyme Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and  subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

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6 Stress Management Tips from Around the World

6 Stress Management Tips from Around the World


How do you decompress after a long day or week? What do you consider  relaxing? They answer may change based on where you live. Check out some of the  ways people across the globe manage their stress, and let us know your  techniques in the comments.

1. Brazil

It’s all about balance in sunny Brazil. In this laid-back country, relaxation  and time with loved ones are built into your everyday life. It’s not about  working hard so you can relax when you retire, it’s about enjoying life’s simple  pleasures every day. Indeed, Brazilians truly have relaxation down to an  art form.


2. China

If you stroll through a city park in China, you’re might stumble upon a very  curious sight — several dozen people, sometimes hundreds, all exercising  together. Tai-chi, yoga, ballroom dancing — you name it, the Chinese are doing  it. It’s as much a social event as it is a workout.


3. Finland

Nothing says relaxing to Finns like a trip to the sauna. Indeed, in Finland,  letting off steam in a sauna with friends is a weekly activity — it’s not  considered a luxury like it is in most other parts of the world. Most Finns  visit the sauna at least once a week, usually on Saturdays, with close friends  and family. It’s a social event, though a relaxing one. In the sauna, most  people avoid controversial issues and arguments are taboo.


4. Italy

Italians are all about after-dinner strolls. Walking through their villages,  these traditional walks allow Italians to catch up with friends and neighbors,  get some fresh air and, of course, get in a little exercise.


5. New Zealand

With a more relaxed work environment, where leaving the office early or  taking time off for leisurely purposes isn’t as frowned upon as it is in the  U.S., Kiwis get to enjoy all their beautiful country has to offer. Outdoor  sports are big in New Zealand, and team sports like soccer and rugby are quite  popular, too.



6. Denmark

Often ranked as the happiest country on the planet, Denmark has a lot of  things going for it in terms of relaxing. To be clear, Sure, a healthy  economy, an excellent social welfare system, and political stability don’t hurt  the tiny Scandinavian nation’s stress level. There’s another crucial aspect of  Danish culture that plays apart in it too: For the Danes, their homes are their  sanctuaries — private places to relax away from the bustle of the city. Taking  pleasure in being at home sure does wonders for your stress level.

Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A  Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives  in Oakland, California.


The 3 Best Types of Weekend Getaways

The 3 Best Types of Weekend Getaways


For 11 months of the year, we daydream about where we’ll go on  vacation — beaches, safaris, canyons — until we finally arrive at the  week or two when  we get to fulfill the dream. We return to work  temporarily refreshed, only to  spend another year anticipating.

The thing is, all that waiting to wind down isn’t necessary. Sure,  long  trips are great, but they’re not the only way to experience adventure or luxuriate in relaxation. Many experts believe  that even a long  weekend can deliver an impressive bang for your vacation buck. “If you  have 12 vacation days, you’re better off planning a number of three- or  four-day vacations per year than one long trip,” says Dan Buettner,  author of Thrive:  Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way (National Geographic, 2010).

By studying populations worldwide, Buettner discovered that the  healthiest,  happiest people “downshift” routinely, not just annually.  “Scheduling a string  of downshifting vacations every other month helps  you get into the routine of  de-stressing your life.”

Science confirms that regular time off from work can reduce your  chances of  becoming ill or dying prematurely. But there’s another factor  in the work-play  equation: how long the good feelings last after you  return from climbing in  Yosemite or surfing in Hawaii.

The postholiday glow can fade with shocking speed, says vacation  researcher  Jessica de Bloom, MSc, of Radboud University Nijmegen in the  Netherlands. In  the people she studied, vacations’ aftereffects — less  stress, fewer physical  complaints — usually disappeared within the first  week of their returning home.  But more regular trips offer a greater  number of relaxed, postvacation  days.

Besides shortening the length of time between post-vacation highs  (and  lows), frequent three-day vacations give you more opportunities to  visit a  variety of locations with diversified experiences — a short  winter ski  adventure followed by summer cycling and fall mountaineering,  for instance.

There’s also an enhanced happiness factor. “Much of our satisfaction  from  vacationing comes from planning a trip and remembering its  highlights,” says  Buettner. “If your life is punctuated with short  vacations, then you’re getting  more of those opportunities.”

Here are three examples of quick, no-fuss getaways: one restful and romantic,  one high adventure, and one memorable trip of my own that combined them  both.  A key tip: Go somewhere that’s three hours or less from home.  Shorter travel  time helps make the most of a brief escape.


The Long-Weekend  Retreat

When to go: Your nerves are frayed and you can’t  switch out  of work mode. You need R&R, ASAP, because you’re  beginning to speak in  acronyms.

As Troy and Linea Gagliano sipped wine and gazed through their hotel  window,  the Pacific tide crashed against the rocky coast of Yachats,  Ore. “Watching the  waves was a Zen moment that felt better than a  Xanax,” says Linea, 40, a PR  manager who was exhausted from juggling  work and a baby. “I could feel the  stress rolling off.”

For their three-day weekend, the Portland couple unplugged from their  jobs  and left the baby in his grandmother’s care. “We celebrated our  independence by  sleeping late and soaking in the Overleaf Lodge’s hot  tub,” says Troy, 42, a  renewable-energy developer. “We emphasized  hedonism over exercise because our  goal was to rest, reconnect and watch  the mesmerizing waves.”

The couple did stretch their legs, exploring tidal pools filled with   starfish and sea anemones. They kept their mini-vacation simple and  unhurried  by skipping an itinerary, ignoring the hotel-room TV and  turning off cell  phones.  (Grandma had the lodge’s phone number in case of emergency.) They  even  packed picnic foods for the trip and ordered takeout so they could dine   quietly in their room.

The getaway rejuvenated the Gaglianos’ relationship. “We had time to  walk on  the beach and laugh together,” says Linea. “After the trip, I  was excited to  see our boy, and I knew I could tackle work with a  clearer vision. And I felt  grateful for everything I have: a wonderful  husband, a beautiful son and a  great job.”

Planning tips:

  • To save money, take restorative weekends in the off-season when the best  hotel rooms are generally less expensive.
  • If possible, choose a vacation spot that involves a scenic drive to  get  there. Then it feels like the holiday starts the moment you leave town.


The Active  Adventure

When to go: You’ve been cooped up in the office and want to  cut loose and challenge yourself with an invigorating physical escapade.

Russ Carroll and his son Nicholas, 12, of Weston, Mass., wanted to  pump up  their summer vacation. Traditionally, the family takes extended  sightseeing  trips in the car, but last year, Russ, 45, organized a  guys-only three-day  hiking trek in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Not  wanting to waste time with  planning and logistics, Russ hired  Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) naturalist  guides and invited some other  family members to join them.

At the site, guides prepped the group on what to expect during three  days of  moderate-to-strenuous backpacking. That first day, as they  summited Mt.  Washington (New England’s highest peak and the site of  numerous hiker  fatalities), the wind blew 50 miles an hour and  visibility was poor. “We felt  safer with guides, knowing how easily we  could have gotten lost or hurt in  those conditions,” says Russ.

Wind-battered but triumphant, the group arrived at Lake of the   Clouds Hut, where an AMC crew cooked a hearty dinner and showed them to   one of several bunk rooms, which they shared with other hikers. There  were no  flush toilets or showers, but the hut was well equipped with  food, water,  pillows and blankets.

After breakfast, the group packed their lunches and headed out for  another  full day — this time in bright sunshine — to reach Mizpah Hut  for their second  night. They climbed more mountains, and the guides  helped Nicholas use the GPS  to locate a geocache treasure.

Physically reinvigorated, Russ felt like he’d been gone a month, not  just  four days. “I watched Nicholas’s confidence build as he made it  over rough  terrain carrying a 40-pound pack,” he says. “I saw him become  responsible when  he took a turn as our trail leader, even though he was  the youngest. The change  from hiking in nature was profound for all of  us, from age 12 to 54.”

Another advantage of their short but rugged adventure: The brief time  window  allowed the Carrolls to go for broke on the trail, then return  home rejuvenated — not exhausted.

Planning tips:

  • No matter how brief your vacation, plan to spend some time in  nature. It  will get your head out of work mode and help stress evaporate  more  quickly.
  • Hiring a guide for rugged trips helps keep you safe and saves you time on  planning and logistics.


Yin and Yang  Weekend

When to go: You and your travel companion have  different  fitness levels or enjoy different activities — or you simply  yearn for some  variety.

My first three-day vacation was inspired by the fact that I was  recovering  from knee surgery and wanted to join my husband on his annual  ski trip. I don’t  typically ski even when my knees are in top shape,  but I was in desperate need  of some restorative time away. So we opted  for a trip to suit both our agendas:  He skis, she spas.

We searched for a hotel that could accommodate our dual needs and  found one  just two hours from our Boulder home — at Devil’s Thumb Ranch  Resort & Spa,  in Tabernash, Colo. On 6,000 acres in the Rocky  Mountains, the resort has a  relaxing spa and yoga classes (for me), 65  adrenaline-packed miles of groomed  Nordic ski and snowshoe trails (for  him), and a fireplace in the room (for  us).

On our first full day, Ken drove with his telemark skis to nearby  Berthoud  Pass, which straddles the Continental Divide, where the  backcountry powder is  deep. I threw a parka over my yoga attire and  walked to the spa, where the yoga  room has a view of snowy peaks. After  class, it was time for my Altitude  Adjustment, a treatment involving massage and hot towels soaked in relaxing  lavender oil. Thoughts of writing deadlines evaporated.

Just before dusk, Ken returned, grinning like a skier who had been  gliding  through clouds. We celebrated our individual vacation  experiences together in  the hot tub under the stars before sharing a  candlelight dinner.

Having multiple options ultimately benefited us both. On our last  day, Ken  indulged in some tension-loosening yoga with me before renting  Nordic skis and  blazing off on the Lazy Sunday Loop. We met for lunch,  and then he decided to  attempt a few laps of skate skiing. In the spirit  of adventure, I strapped on  snowshoes and tested my knee on an easy  trail. I watched Ken skate the loop; he  spotted me tramping through  snow. We waved to each other and laughed. The  future, I think, holds  many more three-day vacations tailored for two.

Planning tips:

  • When your trip involves a seasonal sport like skiing or golf, travel midweek  to avoid weekend crowds.
  • Find a hotel or resort that offers a smorgasbord of activities in one  location.

By , Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness  publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic  lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in  favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit   to learn more and to sign  up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe  to the print or digital version.


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