Everyone loves an indulgent vacation—with the excessive food and hot photos. But a new trend is sweeping the nation this year. A wellness retreat focuses on restoring your body and soul, and “meeting your true self; not escaping from it.” Expert wellness and lifestyle instructors are now designing and hosting specially formulated retreats, with organic meal plans, yoga classes, custom workout plans and spa sessions.
Because clean living is becoming more popular and the awareness of mental health is rising, many women aren’t interested in interrupting their healthy lifestyle for a extravagant vacation. And while an all-you-can-eat cruise buffet sounds great in theory, after spending a week doing nothing, overeating and battling with family logistics, we often feel desperate for routine again.
So you’ve decided to find yourself on one of the best wellness retreats of 2017. What do you bring? What don’t you bring? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back—so you can just focus on getting rested and centered.
No matter what kind of retreat you’re attending—mountains, beach, Europe or California—you’ll want to write about it. The first thing in your bag when you pack and the first thing you take out of it when you arrive is a journal.
You may be surprised to find out just how beneficial journaling is for our emotional health. Documenting your day does more than just keep a track record of events, allowing you to express yourself emotionally and creatively. Journaling allows you to process your emotions, look back and identify good and bad days and what made them that way, and ultimately get to know yourself better.
Wellness retreats are the perfect places to write. Give yourself permission to write free of bias and judgement. Record the events of your day, write what you’ve learned, or simply doodle and write down a few sentences about how you feel. Tracking your emotions and progress throughout the duration of your retreat will allow you to look back and re-experience your self discovery later!
From a practical stand point, you definitely want to pack in accordance with the climate and geography of your location. A retreat is less about a fashion statement and more about discovery and experience, and so air toward the functionality of your clothing items over anything else.
You’ll most likely be doing a lot of working out and exploring on your retreat. Pack comfortable shoes and clothes you feel good in.
The beginning of your retreat is the moment you step out your door! Set yourself up for success with packing plenty of healthy snacks for on the go and a big water bottle. During your retreat, have a plan to eat healthy, wholesome meals to keep your energy up and body nourished. If you have a meal plan at your getaway, still have a few clean snacks with you if you experience low blood sugar.
Sometimes it’s less about what you put in your suitcase and more about what you leave out of it. Many retreats encourage participants to give up certain distractions—and even if yours doesn’t, you could challenge yourself!
Leave your work at home, if you can. Focus on the present moment during your time away. And while cell phones may be necessary for logistical issues, leave your phone put away.
Social media, one of the largest contributors to anxiety and stress in today’s culture, will put more pressure on your to take cute photos and potentially take away from the immersion experience of your trip. Don’t worry about making your wellness retreat picture perfect—focus more on restoring your energy, and centering your being.
Another thing you might want to try is going makeup free. There are numerous reasons to skip the foundation for your complexion, but there are several psychological benefits of feeling confident without makeup. It might be nice to see what it’s like not wearing makeup for a few weeks.
At the end of the day, a wellness retreat is a very personal experience. You know what would benefit you the most on your trip—maybe it’s your favorite pillow!—and what would be best to leave behind. Focus on feeling independent and at peace with who you are and leave the material stuff behind you!