N.B. business owner says more people taking solo trips to woods for COVID stress relief

A growing number of people are seeking forms of stress relief as the number of COVID-19 cases rises amid the third wave of the pandemic. Some are doing it solo.

La Solitude de Pre-d’en-Haur retreat in Memramcook, N.B., has experienced an increase in the number of people booking overnight stays in its solo cabins in the woods said Etienne Bernard, coordinator for the retreat focused which focuses on self-reflection.

The retreat is located on a peaceful wooded area located along the Petitcodiac River and offers silent retreats to individuals and groups.

“Here, you are not with human beings, you are by yourself, but you have the river and you have the sky and the air and you have the trees,” said Berard.

Read more: COVID-19 stress is taking a toll on moms

The solo cabins are booking up fast as more people seek a different kind of quarantine for the soul, “even if you are isolated you feel free.”

He said that many visitors who are overcome with stress amid the pandemic are seeking time away from isolation at home with their families and time away from stressful work environments.

“There is more fear there is more all kind of emotions and problems with families because people do not all believe all same things,” he said.

Monique LeBlanc of Dieppe, N.B. recently spent a few nights at the retreat for a training seminar.  She said that she cherished her time alone in the cabins surrounded by nothing but trees and nature.

“You instantly feel with quiet this calmness overcome because it is so quiet and it is simplicity,” said LeBlanc.

She said it was a welcome relief given that right now, life is anything but simple.

“There is still doubt and new worries with and the variants and things coming it kind of eats you up inside and you gets stressed and you feel anxious all the time,” she said.

Read more: Stressed about returning to ‘normal’ life after COVID-19? Experts share tips to cope

Alexander Hvalov of Notre-Dame, N.B. is hoping to help people shed some stress through sweat. He recently opened a mobile sauna service called, NB Saunas.

“People more stay at home and they don’t go outside and I know some of the community centres might have restrictions for public places where people can be together,” he said.

The saunas are attached to trailers which he delivers directly to people’s homes said Havalov. He said that only people within their friend and family bubbles can gather inside the sauna, which he said that fully disinfects between each client.

His biggest challenge amid the pandemic has been educating Maritimers about the stress-relieving benefits of saunas, said Hvalov.

“People have asked what is that is it a whiskey barrel,” said Hvalov, who said his saunas are more like a form of stress relief on wheels.

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