By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
It’s never too early to begin brainstorming your New Year’s resolutions. So, I have some great ideas for you as you anticipate 2020. Naturally, you’re probably thinking about improving your dietary habits. This is true whether you’re looking to lose weight, increase your energy level, eliminate junk food. Or you might just want to practice mindful eating (you know, chowing down without your smartphone in hand or the TV on). Chances are good that you’re also thinking about your fitness level. For example, you might want to try a new class or routine. Or, you might commit to working out for 30–60 minutes every day (or an admirable five days of the week). But while these goals are all excellent, there’s something missing: your mental health. People everywhere are booking their vacations at mindfulness retreats. When was the last time you stopped to evaluate your mental and emotional wellness?
Next year (and in the years to come), I hope you’ll prioritize self-care in addition to nutrition, exercise, and fitness. After all, when you’re not feeling balanced, happy, and confident, it’s difficult to make anything else in your life work. Are you unsure where to get started? Perhaps a special mental health retreat designed to help you to recenter yourself is just what you need. Check out five mindfulness retreats that may be the perfect fit for you in 2020.
If you’ve ever experienced clinical depression, anxiety, or some combination of the two, you know how serious these conditions are. They affect every part of your life, and they make it difficult to achieve any of your goals—or even to enjoy your daily life. It is crucial to seek professional medical help for depression and anxiety if you haven’t already. If you have major concerns, then talk to your general practitioner as a good first step. It’s only after you’ve received personal attention for any mental health needs that you should consider a retreat.
On the other hand, time spent at a mindfulness retreat can be a rewarding experience for many people. When you’re ready to get away from it all, here are some great wellness retreats. These will help you to relax and recharge for the year ahead:
The High Hampton Resort in Cashiers, North Carolina offers a little something for everyone. You can enjoy hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Or you can try fishing, golf, tennis, and a beautiful spa where experts will pamper you into a state of bliss. If your whole family is in need of a wellness reboot, bring the kids along. The resort offers plenty of outdoor adventures for young people.
If you need to kick the winter blues ASAP (and who doesn’t?), head to the Amrit Ocean Resort in sun-drenched Palm Beach, Florida. You’ll have access to the crystal-blue ocean and white sand beach. Plus, you’ll enjoy a comprehensive wellness program emphasizing mindfulness, nutrition, fitness, relaxation, and sleep. From yoga instruction and meditation sessions to a room customized for your personal sleep needs, you’ll feel worlds away from the stress of your daily life in no time at all.
If it’s expertise in mindfulness-based stress reduction you’re seeking, join life coach Katie Sadler in a magnificent Tuscany villa in May 2020. She offers an incredible, all-inclusive week of gourmet Italian food and wine. You’ll embark on a day tour of beautiful Florence, along with expert-guided wellness activities. These include yoga, meditation, and special mindfulness workshops. If you and several work colleagues have been looking to participate in special mindfulness group therapy to increase office productivity and build your professional rapport, this unforgettable trip may be the ideal opportunity.
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Monday motivation ⚡️Dragging post weekend? Remember those goals. Sometimes it helps to keep them at your workspace or somewhere accessible in your phone. Write them down, put images of your dream home behind your desk, vision board. Motivated by a bathtub overlooking the Amalfi Coast? Make that your phone background for a few days. Each time you’re losing steam, let that vacation goal fuel your drive, and fake it till you make it. How we show up when we’re low on motivation is often what makes the difference. ⚡️#makeyourimpact
Many wellness retreats offer yoga as an optional activity. But if you’re looking for a true yoga intensive, have a look at Yoga Arava. This is a gathering of yogis of all ages and experience levels in the breathtaking Arava Desert, Israel. In addition to instruction from master yoga practitioners (Vinyasa Flow Yoga and Bikram Yoga come to mind), enjoy a variety of workshops from experts in nutrition, mindfulness, and much more.
With its tropical climate, gorgeous beaches, and stunning sunsets, Hawaii is a wonderful destination. It’s great for anyone looking for a break from everyday life. At the beautiful Alohilani Resort on world-famous Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, you can relax in a private pool cabana, sip a refreshing tropical drink, and marvel at the undersea life in the stunning Oceanarium. Be sure to hit the fully appointed fitness center and spa to energize and relax.
Maybe a big trip to a mindfulness retreat isn’t in your budget this year. Or maybe you don’t have time in your busy schedule. It can be hard to spend a week (or more) away from your personal and professional obligations. This quick list of tips for self-care and stress reduction at home (or in the office, or on the go) can help you to stay focused even when life is at its most hectic. If you can set aside even 10–15 minutes of your day to do something nice for yourself, you’re already on your way to better mental and emotional wellness. Here are a few additional ideas:
Make a playlist of your favorite songs for your commute. If you tend to feel sluggish and exhausted, emphasize upbeat, energetic tunes (and feel free to crank up the bass!). If you’re more likely to feel agitated and stressed by traffic or a late train, choose music that is soft and soothing to help you stay in your happy place.
Save 10 minutes to half an hour before turning in for the evening to read an interesting new book. Put down your computer and smartphone and turn off the TV before you do, as they’ll only add to your stress level.
Spend time on a hobby you enjoy, even if it’s just a few minutes. Try playing the piano, knitting, painting, or simply skimming a few new recipes you’d like to try.
I can’t emphasize this enough: self-care is not an indulgence or a reward for having a productive day. Rather, it is a necessity for all of us. Taking care of your mental and emotional wellness is every bit as important to your overall health as your dietary habits and exercise routine. It can help you to stay on track with your nutrition and fitness goals, too. You might travel to an exotic locale for a luxurious retreat or group personal training sessions. Or, you might simply make room in your schedule for a little more “you time” in the comfort of your own home. Regardless, know that taking good care of yourself is what you need and deserve every day as you look forward to a happy, healthy, and productive 2020 and many more years to follow.