Health retreats are everywhere, and everyone is talking about them. But what exactly is a health retreat and how do you decide if one is for you? In this post, we’ll explore everything related to health retreats and how to choose one that’s suitable for you.
Health retreats and their benefits
A health retreat is like a vacation for the mind.
We live in a world where chronic daily stress has become a norm. The effects are usually insidious and not visible till much later. Stress has been shown to affect our mood, sleep cycles, food habits, cause weight fluctuations and keep us tied down to the hamster wheel that we call life. Everyone around us seems to be stuck in the same cycle, and it has been normalized to a degree that is unhealthy. We spend our days slouched in a chair, with no consideration to our posture or its effects on things as basic as breathing, to give an example.
What we lack in our daily life is a routine. Not the kind where your mental faculties are stretched in a million different directions, and your to-do list keeps growing with the demands of others. It has become normal for us to try and catch up as life seems to pass us by. In the process of always being connected with the world, we’ve lost touch with the person who matters the most – ourselves! Our daily routine has become conformed to an unnatural time schedule that is dictated by the external world.
Our bodies have a rhythm of their own. She works according to the cycles of nature. If we were to take a step back from our to-do lists, we’ll find that our bodies already know what we need. It may be difficult at first because we have forgotten her language, but with time and patience, we can renew that connection. It’s easier said than done, though. A lot of us don’t know what to do with our time if we don’t have something to do for a few moments. We have become that dependent on the demands of the outside world.
This is where a retreat comes in. Imagine living in a beautiful natural resort, where all your needs are taken care of, and all you must do is show up for yourself. You have a wonderful community of women like you who are on the same journey. There is a daily itinerary planned out for you by experts who know what it’s like to be burned out, and most importantly, how to reconnect to themselves. A good retreat will take the guesswork out of the picture so you can focus on what you need to do for yourself. No more running errands for the rest of the world while putting your needs on the back burner. The only person who matters is you!
A lot has been said about the effects of nature on our mental and physical health. Breathing in the fresh air, spending quality time with people like you from all around the world, listening to their stories; all of these provide a much-needed respite and a chance to unplug and be present in the moment. Healthy nutritious meals, good hydration, quality sleep, and mindful movement are the cornerstones of a well-organized retreat. The focus is on wellness as opposed to a particular goal, and that’s what makes it easy to learn to go with the flow of life, to be an observer, rather someone who needs to fix everything.
It’s important to note that a health retreat won’t ‘cure’ you of your problems. But it can function as a great aid and serve as a source of motivation. It’s a vacation for the mind and a chance to reset and rejuvenate. It’s an experience you can draw upon for strength long after it’s over. The effects are meant to stay with you, and not disappear when the retreat is over. Knowing what to expect from the beginning can make the experience richer.
A wellness retreat will usually have a well thought out itinerary that will focus on building healthy habits while letting your mind get some much-needed rest. You’ll have access to yoga and meditation classes, seminars on healthy living, local tours which foster an experience of rich cultural exchange. Although each retreat will have different activities depending on the country it’s being organized in, the common thread of promoting wellness runs through them all.
Many retreats also believe in giving back to the local communities through nonprofit work. That further improves the connection between our shared humanity and interaction with the natural world.
What to look for before choosing one?
Choosing a retreat that is right for YOU is key. Here we’ll explore a few aspects to consider before you take a call:
- Know your why – what is your objective with considering a retreat? A lot of people want to move more, sleep better, eat healthy or just take a breather from the demands of life and family. They want to take time out for themselves and refocus their priorities. Whatever your goal is, make sure you clarify it beforehand.
- Get to know the organizers – Attending a retreat can be a big decision, both financially and personally. It can be especially tricky if all the information available is online. We need to make sure that we can trust the people we’ll spend a considerable amount of time with, in what would likely be a remote area. It’s a great idea to get in touch with the organization and get a feel of their approach. Ask as many questions as you want and see if the conversation flows organically. You should feel at ease on a personal level. This step is as crucial as choosing a location, which we’ll explore next.
- Location – We at The Whole Experience host retreats in different countries, all through the year. Some of the countries we regularly visit are Thailand, Bali, Colombia, Italy, Greece, and South Africa! Being in so many different locations with varied cultures has given us a deep understanding of the difference a good location can make in the success of a retreat.
Make sure to choose a location that resonates with you, and with where you are in life, right now. Are you more interested in mountains, or a place by the beach? Do you prefer being in a forest, surrounded by the wildness of nature, or would it be better to stay in a quaint little town surrounded by hills? These are important questions to consider. Take a moment to understand what your mind and body needs. Would you like to be in a place with a special significance, historically or personally? Or are you in need of a fresh start and want to explore some place you’ve never been to?
- Amenities – Every retreat will have its own host of amenities. It’s vital to look at the accommodation and other inclusions to set your mind at ease and avoid surprises later on. Check with the organizers as to what will be provided, and what you need to bring on your own. Having as much information as you need beforehand can make the process much easier.
- Activity focus – This takes us back to the first point where we clarified our goals, as they will dictate what activities we want included in the itinerary. Do you want to focus on yoga and meditation, natural holistic therapies, aromatherapy, fitness sessions, local cultural immersion, or all of the above? Knowing what activities you’d prefer to do will make the decision a lot easier.
With the above knowledge and your own goals clarified, you can now proceed to decide if a wellness retreat is right for you and if so, which one. We’re excited to announce an upcoming retreat in our very own Motherland – Africa, where we organized our first retreat in 2019. Since then, it has become one of our most favorite destinations. Not only is the region steeped in idyllic natural beauty, but it’s also significant for its heritage and historical significance. If you’d like more information on the same, you can find it here …