My typical travel itinerary looks like this: see, do, eat, drink. There’s nothing wrong with a jam-packed schedule on some getaways, but after a few trips like this, they start to feel less like getaways and more like another chore. Instead of returning home refreshed, I come home from my vacation in need of another vacation so that I can recover. That’s when I started hearing some buzz about the best wellness retreats.
Wellness retreats are, essentially, exactly what they sound like. They’re vacations designed to truly rejuvenate the work-wearied and the tech-overloaded. Sometimes they’ll sweep you away to another country, and other times they’re held at swanky hotels just a few miles from home. Either way, the focus is the same: to help you recharge. There’s no pressure to see and do. All that’s expected of you is to simply be. So that leaves just one question: what kinds of wellness retreats are out there?
Probably the most popular types of wellness retreats are yoga retreats. Many yoga studios have begun to offer these getaways once or twice a year as part of their regular programming. They usually entail yoga on the beach or on a mountain, healthy food and drink that’s carefully prepared for you and other mind-body exercises aimed specifically at easing the stress that comes with daily life.
Don’t feel like you must be a seasoned yogi to come to a yoga retreat. Even newbies are welcome to come and dive into the practice headfirst — and what better way to learn yoga than on a beach with the sound of ocean waves as the soundtrack? Depending on where the yoga retreat is held, you’ll see different price points for these getaways. So, if you’re on a budget, choose a domestic retreat at a mountain lodge versus a beach retreat in the Caribbean.
Most of the best wellness retreats will incorporate some elements of meditation. However, you can also treat yourself to an entire weekend of meditative exploration. Meditation retreats give you the tools you need to bring a healthy meditation practice back into your everyday life. You’ll learn how to quiet your mind, breathe deeply and work through any stressful situations that come at you.
Some of the best wellness retreats focus on the ultimate form of self-care: a couple of days at the spa. Some dedicated retreat centers have in-house spas where you can indulge in an aromatherapeutic massage or a round of reflexology to complement your yoga practice. Don’t feel like you need to follow a specific retreat program, though. You can build your own wellness retreat at a hotel with a luxury spa. Just block out a weekend, invite a friend and indulge in your favorite treatments.
Sometimes, no amount of yoga or meditation will bring me down from the height of stress. The only thing that will do that is: switching off my phone, canceling my plans and enjoying unadulterated peace and quiet. Of course, it’s virtually impossible to do this on my own — I only have so much willpower. That’s why I really love the idea of a structured silent retreat, which gives you all the tools you need to unplug from the world.
A silent retreat involves more than just powering down your devices, though that’s obviously going to be the first thing on the to-do list. Silent retreats allow you to really commune with yourself and Mother Nature as a guide shows you how to achieve deep, soul-changing silence. Silent retreats usually involve some yoga and other forms of meditation, of course, but the focus is to shed the shackles of daily life and really find what makes you happy and brings you true joy. You may discover something new.
With the best wellness retreats now a part of my travel routine, I’ve found that vacations feel like vacations again. I come back to the daily grind with more energy, motivation and joy. If you’re running on empty, maybe it’s time to slow things down and try a retreat this summer. You might come home wondering why you ever vacationed any differently!