Healthy Living Lessons from the Yukon

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen my post that I was taking a couple weeks away from social media. Well, I was actually doing much more than that. I just got back from a 2.5 week vacation, including a 13 day canoe trip in the Yukon. Me and my hubby are celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary this September and this was our gift to ourselves (we were also kid-free!).

I wanted to share my reflections from the trip. And yes, this is relevant to creating a healthier home and life, I promise.

1. Unplug for your mind.

When I was telling people about the trip, they told me to share photos along the way. I said I couldn’t, there wouldn’t be any reception, and this was met with a slight raise of eyebrows. But this is one of the reasons I absolutely adore backcountry camping (I do it with my kids too).

In this day and age, it’s hard to go somewhere for 2 weeks that doesn’t offer WiFi or cell service. But this is precisely why I love camping. With SmartPhones and free WiFi popping up EVERYWHERE, it’s hard for us to actually shut down. And this can create stress and anxiety – even if you don’t recognize it.

Being completely unplugged, without even the option to check email or Facebook, allowed my brain to fully shut down. It’s usually going a mile-a-minute, and I will admit that I have a somewhat unhealthy addiction to social media (I’m working on it!).

Truly unplugging from time to time I believe is essential to your well-being. Try it for even a couple days if a week or two sounds too daunting, you might be surprised how much you enjoy it.

2. Pause & appreciate.

Build time into your schedule to slow down. We are so busy these days (or we like to think we are), but how much of your life are you truly appreciating?

What struck me so intensely on this trip were the sights and the smells. They were absolutely stunning – and the photos don’t do either any justice. It made me wonder how much we are missing in our day to day with all the hustle and bustle.

I’m working on keeping the zen now that I’m back into the daily routine, but I’m not going to lie, old habits die hard. I’m starting with 3 simple actions that I did on the trip without really trying, but seem to take more effort now that I’m back at home:

  • When you’re eating, put your fork down between bites to actually taste and savour the flavour.
  • When you’re walking past a garden, stop and literally smell the roses.
  • Take 3 deep breaths several times a day – right into your belly.

By slowing down – nothing crazy, even just those 3 tips I just listed – your nervous system will have a chance to get out of the fight-or-flight mode many of us are constantly in. The more you can get out of stress (physical, emotional, and mental), the more you will allow your body to perform better and allow you to do more of what you love.

3. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

This was actually a pretty scary realization on the river. Luckily our “what if” scenarios about paddling into a forest fire weren’t required because while we could see and smell smoke, the fire was a long way off. But our bodies send us smoke signals too, and unlike paddling on a river surrounded by forest, we can make choices that take us away from the fire, or even better, put it out.

What signals is your body sending? So much of what many of us consider “normal” or just something we have to live with really shouldn’t be. Bloating, painful periods, headaches, infertility, eczema, asthma, PCOS, autoimmune disease… All of these are signs that something in the body is imbalanced. Our bodies need more support from us to deal with the toxic load we have them in almost constantly – from toxic chemicals in our homes to physical stress to electronic stimulation and more.

If you’ve been sitting with a symptom that makes you uncomfortable and is affecting your day-to-day, your body is sending you a smoke signal. Don’t ignore it – because smoke is much easier to deal with then fire. Find a licenced Naturopathic Doctor who will listen to you and your symptoms and get to the root cause rather than just masking the symptoms.

4. Health is a destination, the journey is up to you.

Sometimes, things work out as planned (we had incredible sunny and hot weather for 10 straight days). Other times, you’ll need to adjust your course (we put 2 nights worth of dehydrated pasta sauce in one package and ate the whole thing for one dinner before realizing the mistake… don’t worry, we didn’t starve!). Nobody’s journey towards health will be the same – you need to create a path that works for you!

Being healthy is about feeling great now while treating your body with love and respect so it can serve you well for what will hopefully be a long and happy life. There is no magic pill. No diet or exercise routine alone will make you healthy. Healthier, maybe, but healthy, no. Looking at your lifestyle holistically is critical, as is finding balance. It’s easy to look quick fixes but really we need to be investing in long-term habits. In the end, these will get better results, cost far less money, and save time and hassle.

If you ever have an opportunity to visit the Yukon – even if it’s not backcountry camping – I highly recommend it! Be sure to follow me on Instagram (@emma_greenathome), where you’ll be seeing more photos from the trip over the next little while.

Thanks for reading!

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