It can be a daunting task when looking at all of the retreats & healthy holidays that are available, and so we have put together a few helpful tips which we hope will prove useful when choosing the right retreat for you…

Everyone occasionally feels the need for a little special time away with some relaxation & rejuvenation. Whether you want to simply reclaim your sense of self, gain some focus & perspective, find a little inner calm or peace in the midst of a busy life & the stressful & demanding world we live in, to take time out to do some soul searching over where your life is heading, lose that stubborn weight, detox your body & or your mind, improve your overall fitness & wellbeing… going on a retreat can be the perfect solution…

A great retreat can be so much more than just a health focused holiday — it can be a truly fabulous & life changing experience.

Here are our top tips to try to assist you with choosing the right retreat for the right reasons:

Find the right environment for you:

The right location & environment can give you a tremendous health & wellbeing boost — while the wrong one can leave you feeling disappointed & flat, so with this in mind do lots of groundwork & ask some serious questions, because even similar-sounding places can be quite different. If you love to be at the beach & close to the sea for instance, will you be within a short walk of the nearest beach? Are any of the fitness / training sessions actually held at the beach?

Do you want a very structured retreat? Where everything is set out for you, or do you want a very fluid program & the freedom to choose what you do and when? Ask if attending every class / workshop is mandatory or your own personal choice? So that if for example you would rather just take a little alone time & read a good book at the beach or go for a swim rather than attend a scheduled activity…will the choice be yours? Do you think you might need a little assistance with customizing your retreat? Or do you know exactly what you want to do? Choose a retreat that has a dedicated manager that will be at the retreat each day to advise you and ensure that you get exactly what you need.

If you are looking to meet new people but to also ensure that you will have plenty of personal space if you need it, does the retreat offer this? Or is everything communal? Will you have to share your accommodation with a stranger/s? Or will you have your own private room / bathroom etc. Will you have to pay an additional charge if you don’t want to share with others? Although many retreats offer lower pricing if you share and they say that they will match you with someone the same sex / age  consider this one at length as after all you are on a retreat not joining a dating agency! It can be a way of keeping the price of your retreat down, just so long as you really don’t mind sharing your personal /living space with a stranger? Look also for a retreat location with beautiful natural surroundings, and one that offers space to be alone whenever you want or need to be.

If you’re considering going to a retreat for the very first time, go to a retreat that offers personal guidance, one that offers optional, guided group activities, as even experienced retreat goers find that occasionally being drawn into and benefiting from the magnetism of group activities can be absolutely invaluable when trying to keep your energy levels high and yourself focused.

Prepare yourself:

Does the retreat have a healthy eating program? Do they offer guidelines on what to cut down on before you attend the retreat as for example, those who love their coffee can find that withdrawal can include some headaches, and you don’t want to spoil your precious holiday by suffering. So eat cleanly, reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption & get some rest in if you can all before you go on retreat, as otherwise, you may need to take the first day or two of your retreat just to find the energy and motivation that you need.

As soon as you leave home, try to put all of the everyday stresses and strains of your normal life out of your mind, as over thinking what you have left behind (work, family, commitments etc.) can spoil your retreat, whereas letting go of those stresses and strains and enjoying a worry-free retreat can actually help you to focus & solve / resolve problems that may have been troubling you for some time.

Give everything a go!

Be open-minded and let yourself have fun, & plan to try a variety of activities, for example: even if you have tried a yoga class before and really not enjoyed it, try another as the teacher or style of yoga taught can make a whole world of difference. Try a holistic therapy or indulgent spa treatment, go out of your way to try something new, reserve your evenings for rest & relaxation, chatting with new friends, reading that book that you have been meaning to start forever! & always allow for a little inspiration and self indulgence, don’t be lead by anyone else’s agenda, set your own!

Try to keep a little perspective:

Your free time / holiday time is extremely valuable, and there is no magic formula for a retreat, as each & every one is different, just find one that suits you and your needs, & above everything else, relax and enjoy yourself…don’t put pressure on yourself, or allow anyone else to place pressure upon you, you may not see or feel immediate or dramatic results, when you go on a retreat, you are probably just setting out on a new path, so take those first steps and have a fabulous time.

So the bullet points are:

  • Be clear on what are you looking for!
    To improve your health, wellbeing, lose weight, improve your fitness levels, detox your mind & or body or a blend of everything?
  • Choose a style of retreat that appeals to you, do you want military or relaxed, holistic, spiritual?
  • Pick a good location for you, by the sea, in the countryside, mountains etc. where do you feel most energized or relaxed?
  • What is the travelling time from home to the retreat? It may be more convenient / cost effective to choose a retreat within Europe or maybe you are looking for something more exotic?
  • Many retreats are not open year round; do they have a time that suits you?
  • Price, do you have a set budget? Are the costs realistic?
  • What EXTRA costs are involved? Or is it a fully inclusive package?
    Some extras to look out for: Check out the airport transfers, an extra or included? Is the retreat full board? Do they provide healthy snacks or just main meals, is mineral water, herbal tea etc. provided? Or will you need to budget for additional drinks and meals?
  • Will you have to share your accommodation bedroom / bathroom with another guest/s? If yes what will the extra cost be if you do not wish to share? If you book as a single will you have a single bed? or a double?
  • Is the accommodation suitable for your needs? Low rise, high rise, indoor / outdoor pool, a Spa? a gym? How far is it from the beach?
  • Does the retreat offer beauty therapies, holistic treatments & massages?
  • If you are choosing a health-focused retreat, do the staff members include a Doctor, Nutritionist, and Counselor?
  • What type of food are you looking for? Healthy, fresh, organic, juice only, does the retreat cater for food allergies, intolerances, vegetarian, and vegan diets?
  • What is the maximum group size, as if you are looking for a little individual attention a retreat with 25+ guests, probably will not be right for you.
  • Does the retreat have set times for booking in or out? & can they offer assistance / early / late check in / out, if your flight arrives very early or leaves very late?
  • Is the retreat that you are choosing a fully legal registered business in the country in which it is located? this should be a non negotiable point for your retreat and your personal wellbeing!
  • Is the retreat run from a private house? or from professional business premises such as a purpose built retreat venue or hotel? do they have full public liability insurance to cover every aspect of your retreat?
  • Are the staff / team members listed on the web site? & are they all professionally qualified or simply keen amateurs?

Choose wisely…and above all…enjoy!