Therapeutic hike will get ‘Behind the Masks’ of women’s mental wellness |

Therapeutic hike will get ‘Behind the Masks’ of women’s mental wellness

Behind the Masks Women’s Hike

When: 12:30-2:30 p.m. or 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11

Where: Prospector Trailhead

Cost: $30


Since March, a majority of the concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus have been physical. The public has been asked to keep track of aches, pains, shortness of breath, fever and other potential COVID-19 symptoms.

But what of the emotional challenges that rise up due to days, weeks and months of isolation?

The Christian Center of Park City is among other local mental-wellness nonprofits that are addressing this issue, and its Counseling Center of Park City will host two Behind the Masks women’s hike on Sunday, Oct. 11, at the Prospector Trail.

The first, which has limited availability, will run from 12:30-2:30 p.m., and the second, which has more openings, will run from 3-5 p.m. Each hike will include open and safe discussions regarding connections with the community, connections with oneself and connections to the spirit, said Katie Thomas, Christian Center of Park City clinical mental health counselor intern.

It’s easy to hide behind the physical masks that we’re required to wear, and it’s hard to be authentic…” Katie Thomas, clinical mental health counselor intern

“This has been something I’ve been thinking about since July, because due to the pandemic, we sometimes mask physically and emotionally how we’re doing,” Thomas said. “It’s easy to hide behind the physical masks that we’re required to wear, and it’s hard to be authentic and connect with each other. So, I wanted to create a safe environment for connection before we moved into the winter months.”

Participants will also be required to follow COVID-19 protocols, Thomas said.

“We ask them to wear masks, take their temperatures and use hand sanitizer,” she said.

The idea to focus on women came from a practical standpoint, according to Thomas.

“While men have also struggled during this time, I think women, who have been taking on a lot of responsibilities, find it easier to neglect their own self need and self care while doing this,” she said. “And since we needed to have reduced numbers in groups anyway, we decided to focus on women for a different dynamic.”

The hike will include small-group and large-group discussion through guided questions, mindfulness breathing exercises with essential oils, positive affirmations led by trained therapists and nutrition tips regarding foods that can increase immunity during the flu season, Thomas said.

The registration cost is $30, and that will include a healthy snack, water, take-home resources and essential oil roller bottles, according to Thomas.

“My background is in recreational therapy, and I have found connecting with people through leisure activities are ideal for them to open up,” she said. “Since outside is one of the safer places people can connect, we decided to do a hike.”

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