Quality Me-Time

Stories from the Alps, 02.03.2021, Astrid Steinbrecher-Raitmayer

A holiday in the mountains is a fountain of youth. Up there, the worries and cares of everyday life are smaller, people are more relaxed. The amount of red blood cells increases. Body and mind can finally calm down and regenerate. You only need to allow it to happen.

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Frau macht Yoga am Hüttenteich am Steg | © Urlaub am Bauernhof Steiermark / Daniel Gollner

Calm Down, Relax, Unwind - It Sounds So Easy


Obviously, since the phone is buzzing all day long and there’s a distraction on every corner. However, short breaks are important. Doing something good to yourself is the right thing to do. After all, breaks reduce the body’s stress levels and put a halt to the feeling of being constantly on alert. They help you clear your mind, activate your personal sleep mode and allow you to fully unwind and let go of your worries. By taking a break, you can prevent the negative side effects of excessive stress such as tension, headache or bad sleep. At last, you can focus on the most important of all: yourself. What are you waiting for? Go up the mountains, stay in a mountain cabin and switch off! Actually, how does it work?

The Magical Power of Nature

“Our brain’s supervisory system is always active”, Hermenegild Schäffer, host at the mountain cabin “Almhütte Hermenegild” in Styria, knows. She has found a way to cut the supervisor some slack. “I go to the mountains because of the silence. I enjoy sitting up here and not hearing a sound - only my breath and the wind. It’s fascinating. Here, I find peace of mind.” This magical power of nature can only unfold if you’re ready to let the magic happen. Planning to reach the summit within three hours, quickly having a snack in the cabin and rushing home afterwards to see some friends is certainly not the right mindset.

The Mountains - A Fountain of Youth

Physical activity at high altitudes is nice and particularly good for your health. Egon Humpeler, an internist from Bregenz, has conducted the “Austrian Moderate Altitude Study” and found out that regular hikes at moderate altitudes (1,500-2,500 m) are beneficial for the body’s oxygen levels. The low amount of oxygen in the air at high altitudes causes your organism to work more. As a result, it produces new red blood cells that deliver oxygen to the tissues in your body, stimulates cell renewal and strengthens your body. It’s great to do that at Willi Staudacher’s mountain cabin “Sonnalmhütte” in the Liesertal valley or at the Loinger family’s hut “Prädatenalm” in the Kitzbühel Alps. The latter is set at 1,480m, right beneath the mountain Feldalphorn. It’s an ideal starting point for all kinds of hikes. And you should definitely plan to explore a few of them. Hiking is beneficial for body and mind, boosts the production of serotonin and makes you feel happy. If you go to the mountains, you don’t need to see a psychologist!

Digital Detox

Up here, it’s so much easier to let go of everyday stresses and strains. At the mountain cabin “Obere Sandrisser Hütte” (1,900m), everything’s far away and, thus, much less important at this very moment. When the cow bells fall silent, it’s quiet. Really quiet. Little Plough, Great Bear and Orion brighten the night sky. The next morning, at breakfast, you can look at the reflections of the Karawanks in your teacup. The Koller family’s cabin “Obere Michlbauerhütte” on the mountain Katschberg is equally picturesque. It is perched on a sunny plateau above the tree line, surrounded by alpine pastures, with a stunning view of the Hohe Tauern range. Here, you can watch the cows and goats graze on the pastures. If you’re lucky, you might spot a golden eagle, deer or marmots. There’s so much wildlife! The nuisance #1, the phone, often has no signal. Hence, it’s easy to resist the temptations of everyday life with a clear conscience. Instead, you’ve got more time to enjoy the clean air, to ground yourself in the present moment and to get some exercise.

Creating calmness, practicing mindfulness, learning from nature - the mountain cabins and chalets in Austria are a great place to focus on this. Meditation can calm your body and mind. Your individual images of nature shape your subconscious. Connect with your inner self and find new awareness of life. Light-hearted, energised and at peace with yourself instead of stressed.

Astrid Steinbrecher-Raitmayer
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All Articles by Astrid Steinbrecher-Raitmayer

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