In a previous post, I wrote about my experience at the Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary in Koh Samui, Thailand. However, when I was considering going to a wellness retreat, I remembered feeling uncertain.
I was scared initially, by the concept of "going to a wellness retreat". Of course the idea of staying in a beautiful sanctuary, where you are focused solely on your wellbeing was something that my heart was craving.
But when it came to committing to this decision, I found myself feeling anxious about the idea.
These feelings came from an expectation that I would be spending a lot of time by myself, feeling isolated with nothing to distract me from my thoughts.
At the time, it would have been incredibly reassuring to have found a guide on what staying at a wellness retreat was actually like so that I could prepare for the experience.
So today, I will be sharing with you some of my tips on how to prepare for a wellness retreat! I hope you enjoy!
Get clear on why you want this
Before you commit to going on a retreat, ask yourself "What do you really want from this experience?". Also read my post about creating intentions instead of goals!
This will help bring more clarity to what you want to focus on during this time.
In order to get the most benefits from staying at the retreat, you need to take ownership for nurturing yourself.
The retreat will support you and provide you with the tools that you need, but ultimately it is you that will be doing the soul work.
Take some time out to sit by yourself, meditate or create a vision board for how you want to feel at the end of the retreat. Take note of where you are now too so you can determine what you want to create more of in your life. I used Danielle Laporte's The Desire Map (affiliate link). Its a workbook that is essentially a roadmap to find your core desired feelings. This is a fantastic starting point!
Here are also some journal prompts to help you on your way!
Keep these intentions with you when you go to your retreat so you can refer to it.
Find somewhere that speaks to your heart
Besides deciding on your budget and when you want to go on a retreat, spend some time researching various types of retreats to find one that speaks to your heart.
Some questions to ask yourself
What type of retreat do you want to go to? Retreats may have a particular focus such as yoga, fitness, surfing, massage and relaxation treatments, detox, weight loss, or meditation.
Where would you want to spend your days in a retreat? You might prefer staying by the beach, near the temples, near a hot spring, at a Japanese onsen or even in the woods surrounded by snowcapped mountains. For me I was instantly drawn to Kamalaya because of it's unique story and location. And the idea of being in Thailand, being amongst the colour, the heat and energy just lit me up inside.
What kind of activities would you love to do during this time? Depending on the location, most retreats will offer different activities such as hiking, walking along the beach, snorkelling etc. What activities resonates with what you love to do?
Would the retreat make up part of a longer holiday? When I stayed at Kamalaya, I also spent some time in Thailand beforehand. If you are already thinking of going somewhere for a holiday, it makes sense to add on an extra few days to this holiday.
What kind of programs do they offer? Some holistic wellness retreats offer packaged programs that align with your needs and budget. These programs may have different goals such as detox, healthy eating, fitness, yoga, stress release or relaxation.
What kind of accommodation do you want to stay in? Some retreats have accommodation options that means you will be sharing a bedroom with other guests. Some places offer deluxe accommodation where you will have your own space to yourself too.
How long will you stay for? This depends on your budget but also on how much time you feel you need to be there for. I felt that 7 days was perfect for me as it took me about 2 days to get settled for me to detox from the outside world.
Will you go on your own?
I believe that your experience at a wellness retreat would be more rewarding if you experienced it on your own. For me, feeling comfortable with being on my own was something that I really wanted to work on, so this was perfect for me.
You will be shaking things up from a very personal and soulful level. There will be times when you will experience heightened feelings and emotions. However, being at a retreat will ensure that you will feel fully supported during this part of your journey.
Of course, this doesn't mean that you need to sit by yourself during meals for the entire duration. In fact, some of the best conversations and discussions can happen with those that you meet here - purely because everyone is on a similar journey.
Starting your wellness journey before you arrive
I highly recommend doing this if you have the time before you leave for your retreat. I prepared for it by journalling, meditating, and eating wholesome, healthy foods. I even created a beautiful space in my room for this practice to get myself prepared.
If you don't have the time to do this, then this is fine as well. Your starting point will just be different and your journey will begin from the time you arrive at your retreat.
Be open to change and new experiences
The retreat is a beautiful opportunity for you to get to know yourself better, to understand how you want to feel and the kind of person that you want to be.
So be open to this process. And be open to new experiences and challenges - even if they feel scary. It's really the best place to be for exploring any uncomfortable feelings that are coming up for you, knowing that you will be completely supported.
Also, allow yourself to let go of any comparison during your time there - this isn't about anyone else's journey but your own.
You don't have to be wellness warrior
I think there is a misconception that retreats are only for people who are vegan, who love to meditate, do yoga and drink green smoothies. There is also a misconception that retreats are for people who are overcoming emotional difficulties, break downs, breakups. This is not true at all.
The fitness, meditation and yoga classes are generally suitable for varying levels of expertise. In fact, I loved trying a variety fitness classes for the first time. And the range of healthy food options are likely to appeal to a variety of tastes too!
A wellness retreat is really what you make it to be. That's why setting your intention on what you want from your experience is so important.
For those of you who may be considering going to a wellness in future, I hope this gives you a few tips on what to expect and to consider in preparation. I also wrote about What To Pack For A Wellness Retreat, so have a look at this post for more information.