Need a vacation but feel like the usual tourist spots will be more stressful than relaxing? Looking to escape the pressures of your daily job? Or just want a change of scene that does not involve a high rise in sight? If you answered yes to any of the above, then vacationing at a wellness retreat could be just what the doctor ordered.
So what exactly is a wellness retreat? Think of it as a gift to yourself to rest, relax and rejuvenate mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally. Unlike the usual vacation, a wellness retreat gets you out of your head and helps you work towards a healthier and more fulfilling life via specially designed activities and programs led by leading health and holistic experts.
Whatever your wellness goals, be it to shed a few pounds or unlock a deeper level of meditation, there’s a wellness retreat out there for everyone. Ahead, we break down the different types of wellness retreats available and how you can benefit from them.
1. SPA RETREAT
Spa retreats are the ultimate indulgence. Who can say no to a weekend of full body pampering, facials and massages that knead the stress away? Whether it’s a planned getaway with the girls or a spontaneous trip by yourself, a spa wellness retreat is an opportunity to decompress and detox at leisure.
WHAT TO EXPECT
At the basic level, spa retreats offer therapeutic treatments ranging from facials to massages, aromatherapy and body treatments designed to improve your overall sense of well-being. When you’re not being pampered from head to toe, your downtime at larger spa retreats will offer a wide range of non spa activities you can try out such as horse riding, swimming, golf or tennis. Others still will allow you the opportunity to explore the retreat grounds or your new destination. This type of wellness retreat will give you an opportunity to slow down and detach from the stress in your life.
A spa weekend can give you some much-needed downtime to recuperate both mind and body from the daily toil of everyday life. A good massage can boost circulation and take away aches and pains while steaming sessions in the sauna will help you sweat out toxins from your body. And then there’s the undeniable pleasure of being pampered by professionals for hours on end while you relax and surrender to bliss. This is one wellness retreat everyone can enjoy!
2. DETOX RETREAT
A detox holiday is so much more than a juice cleanse! (Although, we can confirm, delicious juices are usually involved!) It’s a chance for you to reset your body from head to toe by removing toxins and lingering waste from your system. Even if your lifestyle involves exercise and healthy eating, living the hustle and bustle of city life means that at some point you get exposed to pesticides, preservatives and environmental pollution that you can’t control.
WHAT TO EXPECT
How you go about detoxing can depend on the chosen retreat and what the nutritionist feels is best for each individual system. This could range from the aforementioned juice cleanses to intermittent fasting, total fasting or just a change of diet that involves foods rich in anti-oxidants, probiotics and whatever else may be lacking in your current diet. Giving your body a much needed break from junk and over processed foods can kickstart your journey to a healthier you.
There are plenty of reasons to go on a detox. Some do it for weight loss, others to clear their skin and digestive system and still others for their overall wellbeing. Whatever your reason, getting the toxins flushed out of your body can be an exhilarating experience that leaves you feeling energized, emotionally balanced and have your gut, digestive, thyroid and immune system kept in check.
3. DIGITAL DETOX RETREAT
Not gonna lie, we love our digital dopamine hit as much as the next millennial. But the Instagram likes, Facebook comments, business lunches and happy hours can take a toll on our mental and emotional health if we don’t take the occasional step back to detox our minds. To quote a cliche, sometimes you just have to disconnect to reconnect. And we love ourselves a chance to do so in beautiful locales with settings so gorgeous we forget to look at our phones anyway!
WHAT TO EXPECT
For starters, expect to have your digital devices switched off, kept away or surrendered to truly benefit from the vacation. Some retreats even go as far as to have no wifi or tech devices on their off the grid, remote premises. Talking about work or trying to network is also a major no no. What you will do, depending on the retreat, is go for guided hikes, long walks in nature, develop healthy eating and sleeping habits and attend workshops on art, writing and mindfulness.
Going offline gives you the opportunity to pause and reflect, meditate, develop mindfulness, connect with yourself, take long walks in nature, travel anywhere or express yourself in art or writing. When we unplug our devices, we allow our brain to relax from sensory and information overload. Doing so allows you to mentally recharge, reconnect with ourselves and those around us and live in the moment.
4. WEIGHT LOSS RETREAT
You don’t have to wait for summer, New Year’s or a special occasion to get into shape for your health. Embarking on a weight loss program is an ideal way to mix leisure with long term value for your physical wellbeing. Your body weight can impact you in many ways, be it physical pain because of pressure on joints or psychological distress via depression and low self esteem. If the calorie counting and extreme diets have not worked in your favor, perhaps it’s time to seek professional help in getting to the bottom of what’s causing your weight gain.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Weight loss retreats are no longer the brutal fat camps of yesteryear in case you’re wondering. To be sure, discipline, commitment and perseverance are required if you’re to see lasting results, but the weight loss journey at these wellness retreats are enjoyable. You’ll be working with certified dietitians and nutritionists to come up with a personalized diet, eating calorie optimized gourmet food, working up a sweat in fun fitness activities and getting pampered at the spa – what’s not to love?
Bid adieu to those stubborn pounds and get ready to embrace a fitter, healthier, shapelier you. Get access to qualified nutritionists, dietitians and fitness coaches and come away armed with proper nutritional knowledge and exercises to keep your weight at a healthy range.
5. YOGA RETREAT
If you think yoga retreats are only for advanced practitioners and certified yogis, you thought wrong. Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that aims to join the mind, body and spirit. The goal of yoga is to achieve liberation and union with the universe. Achieving oneness with the universe is easier when you’re in exotic locales soaking up the natural beauty of your surroundings.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Yoga retreats have varying levels of intensity so choose one which matches your comfort level. That being said, the average yoga retreat will usually have two to three sessions a day, giving you plenty of downtime to explore your destination. Some retreats might offer group excursions, while others combine yoga with activities like surfing, volunteering, wildlife and more.
A yoga retreat is a chance to ditch your day-to-day routine and bypass the mundane by calming your emotions and getting into a higher mental state. Unwind, relax and get your body in tune with your mind through exercise, breathing and meditation. On the physical side, you’ll be stronger, leaner, more toned and flexible – it’s impossible not to be so after stretching yourself into various positions!
6. FITNESS RETREAT
Whether you’re a couch potato or a lapsed gym rat, there’s no time like the present to hit the reset button to establish a healthy fitness routine. And what better way to get back on track (and the treadmill) than to embark on a fitness retreat designed to challenge and build your physical stamina. Plus, unlike your regular gym, wellness retreats are sure to to be in spectacular locations that will motivate you to get out and get moving.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Get your heart pumping and work up a sweat with your fitness activity of choice. Whether you’re looking to take your HIIT workout to the next level or want to try your hand at kickboxing, a fitness retreat is where you’ll have the freedom to experiment and hone your techniques. Your assigned fitness instructor will come up with a routine that works best for your body type and fitness goals.
What you get out of a fitness retreat will depend on what you put in. Do you want to tone up, lose weight, increase cardiovascular fitness or strengthen your physical stamina? Go in with predetermined goals and reap the rewards of a well invigorated body.
7. ADVENTURE RETREAT
What? You thought wellness retreats were all about being zen? And sitting still? If you’re the type that gets bored easily, an adventure retreat might be what you need to get your adrenaline pumping.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Adventure retreats are all about pushing your physical boundaries through outdoor adventure activities. Here is where you’ll have the chance to take your fitness to a whole new level. Think kayaking, trail running, rock climbing, surfing, and more, bored is the last thing you’ll be.
Challenge your body and go home fitter, stronger and more energetic. You’ll come away feeling more confident after discovering the potential you didn’t know you had.
Now that you’ve got the lowdown on wellness retreats, pick a destination and take a trip that puts you first!