Focusing on your wellbeing is the best gift you can give yourself. Participating in Wellness Retreats – which include yoga retreats, meditation retreats, detox and healing retreats, is one of the best ways to regroup and recharge in the New Year. So what happens on a wellness retreat? And why is it so good for you?
Attending a Wellness Retreat is an excellent jumpstart to a healthier you. Here are just a few of the amazing benefits:
- Gain new insights about your purpose or direction in life
- Return from your vacation energized and refreshed
- Release any blockages in your life, physically, mentally and emotionally
- Address daily life habits you want to change and develop new, healthier habits
- Improve your physical health and gain that momentum to keep you going after you go back home
- Reconnect with your inner feelings by having the time and space to decompress
- Find new ways to express your authentic self
- Extended “Me time” and digital detox
These benefits are not just anecdotal. Findings from an independent, in-depth study administered by the University of South Carolina confirm the enhanced wellbeing of a vacation focused on wellness. Beyond pounds lost and fitness levels gained, the benefits of a wellness retreat are long lasting. They actually help people lead happier, more vital lives.
The study, which included focus groups and a quantitative guest survey, highlights the “wellbeing triggers” associated with a wellness vacation. Defined as “intrinsic motivators that lead to happiness, positive affect and vitality,” wellbeing triggers include autonomous self-regulation, mindfulness, competence and guest relatedness.
Any wellness retreat worth its salt is based on “Structured Choice,” with the staff taking the role of “good parent” versus “drill sergeant.” Support staff was identified as instrumental in encouraging participation and a sense of mastery. Guests typically control their schedules by voluntarily participating in multiple, orchestrated activities. This facilitates goal attainment without undermining an individual’s sense of autonomy.
Defined as a healthy form of introspection that leads to inner peace, mindfulness is scientifically-proven to offer numerous health benefits—including reduced stress and an increase in serotonin, the mood-lifting hormone. Mindfulness is cultivated through wellness seminars, psychological counseling, journaling, yoga, meditation and restorative spa treatments. The immersion experience also allows time for reflection.
Competence is the human need to feel effective and productive, and is a crucial aspect of wellbeing. Guests at wellness retreats often receive education with respect to diet and exercise, and practical tools that carry over to everyday life. In addition to developing an at-home exercise regimen and other life skills, some retreats offer guests the opportunity to learn how to cook healthy meals and even shop for the right ingredients. Guests also become educated on nutritional supplements and herbs they can take at home to continue along their healthy path.
One of the most amazing things about a wellness retreat is the opportunity to deeply engage with like-minded individuals. Guest-relatedness refers to the need to for people to feel connected and engaged. In the USC study, camaraderie was repeatedly highlighted as central to the wellness vacation experience. The research indicates that relationships among guests support wellbeing and promote positive mood. These retreats develop a sense of community through group activities like hiking, and family style dining. This “alone but together” experience is perfect for the solo traveler experiencing some sort of life transition like divorce or the loss of a loved-one.
We all need time to decompress, to reflect and to listen to our inner voice – this is what a wellness retreats does best. Retreat, regroup and recharge. So what are you waiting for?
*Our partner Red Mountain Resort has a new 3-night Self-Healing Retreat – ideal for solo travelers.