Wellness retreats are usually in a beautiful, natural location and involve things like yoga, meditation, massage, spa treatments, bushwalks, self-help seminars and Instagram-worthy meals.
That all sounds pretty healthy
It is! The problem is that a retreat usually only lasts a few days. Regular exercise and nutritious meals are some of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health – but they’re not much use as one-offs. To make any real difference, you need to be exercising at least once a week (ideally a lot more!) and incorporating fruits, vegetables and wholegrains into your everyday diet.
Similarly, getting a facial can be like taking a single multivitamin tablet and expecting big results. You’d be better off spending the money on a cream or serum with ingredients your skin thrives on, that you can apply every day.
The detox effect
A lot of wellness retreats advertise themselves as a ‘detox’ – a way to purge the toxins built up over the previous months in the city. But, research tells us that detoxing is actually a bit of a myth. Your liver, lungs, skin and kidneys are constantly filtering out toxins and drinking juice for a few days won’t make them any better at their job.
But what we do believe in is a digital detox and a drama detox. Switching off your phone and email for a while can help you release some of the tension of being always on. And having all your meals and activities planned out by someone else can be a welcome mental break.
It’s also much easier to get a fresh perspective on your problems when you’re outside them for a while. You’d be surprised how much smaller they seem. You might get new ideas for solving them, or find you can just let them go altogether. Sometimes freedom is realising you don’t have to care.
Kickstart a good habit
We reckon the way to get the most out of a wellness retreat is by using it as a way to kickstart ongoing healthy habits. Before you leave, clear all the junk food out of your cupboard, make a ‘new you’ meal plan, and bookmark a few free yoga videos. Then when you come back, all fired up and inspired, you’ll have everything you need to keep the good energy rolling through your life.
We’ve talked here about whether wellness retreats are as good for you as they claim. The bottom line is, if you enjoy yoga, bushwalking and Acai bowls more than lounging poolside at a resort, then who cares – go and have a good time!
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