There is no doubt about it–our personal time is precious. We spend most of our year working, and then have to choose where and how we would like to spend the one or two weeks of vacation time we earn each year. When there are so many choices and options, making that choice can be nearly as difficult as earning the vacation time itself.
Many people choose a vacation that mirrors their lifestyle. They plan a trip to far–off locations, race through a to-do list of sights and attractions, sleep too little, eat too much, and return home more exhausted than they started. Although it may be fun, the purpose of a vacation is not really to exhaust yourself in the name of tourism and check items off your bucket list.
Others choose to visit family. While this is a good choice for strengthening support networks, family vacations have their own limitations. Spending extended periods of time with relatives can dredge up old issues and memories. Time spent with family can be more stressful than time spent at work. Once again, we can return home more drained than before we left.
Another option is the wellness vacation. Often called retreats, boot camps, or spa vacations, this experience can be one of the most beneficial ways to spend that precious vacation time. Wellness vacations are nothing new. They have been prescribed by physicians for centuries. In fact, they could be considered the world’s first preventive medical treatments. Physicians would prescribe a week (or longer) at a spa where the patient could focus on their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Exercise, healthy food, spa treatments (massage and body treatments), and personal reflection were all on the menu and part of the prescription.
At first glance, a wellness vacation may seem a bit selfish. After all, how often do you take a week to focus only on yourself and your well-being? That really is the point. Most often we put the needs of others above our own. The needs of work, the needs of family, the demands of daily living. So many times our own needs fall last on the list. A wellness vacation is a guilt-free invitation to get to know ourselves again, and put ourselves first for a change.
One of the first benefits of a wellness vacation involves location. The venues vary from rustic to luxurious, but are usually associated with natural and healthful locations. New locations open new perspectives. Programs are designed to take advantage of the natural surroundings without the pressure to visit all the local sights or landmarks. Time is meant to be dedicated to you, not to your bucket list.
Exercise is another key benefit to a wellness vacation. Many wellness vacations incorporate a yoga practice. If you make yoga a part of your health regime, you know how difficult it can be to find time to practice each day. In a wellness vacation, there is usually a morning and an evening session. It is amazing how much improvement you can see in your practice through the week. You will also feel the mental and physical benefits of yoga much more quickly during an accelerated practice period.
You can’t help but detox during a yoga retreat. Combine a yoga practice with three healthy meals a day, and you will create a newer, clearer you. In addition, a retreat helps with digital detox as well. While most locations have internet or wi-fi, the emphasis for the week is not on staying connected with others. It is about connecting with yourself. Facebook, email, and twitter may still be important, but a retreat lets you put their actual worth in perspective.
Many wellness vacations include seminars on healthy living choices, meditation, and stress management. Not only do you get to relax and de-stress during the vacation itself, you receive the tools to bring that feeling home and extend it into your daily life.
As you go through the program, you learn to replace old habits with new, healthy ones. Because it is a time dedicated to self-improvement, you actually have the time to think about how you can create the best lifestyle designed to support the best you.
A wellness vacation can give you the opportunity to live like the rock star you are. The focus is on you–your health, your happiness, your well-being. You don’t need to think about meals or what restaurant to choose. All of that is taken care of. Massage and body treatments are available for the asking. Yoga instructors and health coaches are there to expand your physical and mental well-being. There is abundant free time for relaxation, reading, meditation, or possibly exploring the local sights if desired. Evenings can be spent getting to know new friends and share the experiences of the day.
Best of all, a wellness or yoga vacation leaves you refreshed and rejuvenated. You won’t return home worn out or exhausted. You will be relaxed and invigorated. You will have a new perspective on problems that seemed overwhelming only a week before you left. It really is a way to get a new lease on life.
A wellness vacation may not be the right choice for everyone. However, if you are looking to improve your health, calm your mind, and pamper yourself while having fun along the way, it may just be the perfect ticket. It can be a truly transformative experience.
Have you ever been on a wellness vacation? I’d love to hear about your experience!
There are only a few spots left open for my San Jose del Cabo Yoga Retreat happening in May. Click here to make a reservation and get ready for a wellness vacation that could very easily change your life for the better (and that’s a good thing).