How to Mentally Prepare for a Wellness Retreat

At Sangha Wellness Retreats, one of our mottos is to “enjoy a vacation you don’t need a vacation from.” Essentially, we want to make sure we come home feeling rested and relaxed. Unlike some all-inclusive holidays that seem to require a 30-day liver detox or an adventure holiday that is so jam packed we forgot the “holiday” part of it. Why is it that we often know far in advance that we are going away, yet we still rush around like maniacs trying to get everything and more done so we can relax when we are away? The irony is, we amp ourselves up so much that we can’t actually make that happen.

When we have a lot on the go, our stress response keeps us elevated or in fight/flight mode. We are alert, moving fast, checking things off and barely pausing to take a breath. This is how most of us spend our entire day – we have a lot to do! To keep up with our self, and to be ready for action, we stay in this mode long past when we need it, just in case. This is also why we struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep during these busier times. This is also why it takes us a few days once it all stops to actually relax. We end up our precious vacation time amped up and unhappy or worse, coming down only to have our immune system go on vacation, and spending our holiday sick.

Here are a few tips that you can use to help mentally prepare for your retreat:

  1. Plan your busy “I have to get everything done week”, the week before you actually leave. This gives you that last week to come down (I am being a realist – we all stress out before we leave to go away) this gives you time for those last few things you forgot about and a chance to eat and sleep well before you leave.
  1. Is there anything that is making you nervous or worried either on the trip or what you are leaving behind? If it is on the trip, get in touch with your retreat guide for extra re-assurance on anything you are concerned about – that’s exactly what we are here for! Also, if we know we can better support you and help watch for any triggers.  If it is for things at home, have those additional conversations or write certain instructions down to give you peace of mind. Try to pinpoint exactly what is causing the worry and build a mantra around it. Example: My kids/cats are fine!
  1. Keep up your regular yoga and meditation practice. Despite the fact that you will be doing a LOT of it while you are away, keeping up with your practice before you go will help you maintain your stress and anxiety levels. Helping to ground you and keep you present. Exactly the reason you started a regular practice in the first place.
  1. Let it go! You will probably forget to pack something you might not cross off all the things on your to do list before you leave. It’s okay! Someone will be able to loan you an extra sweater, you’ll be able to buy a toothbrush at the airport gift shop. You won’t remember everything, it’s all good.

I know that sometimes in the last few days before we leave, we get wrapped up in all the organizing that we forget about how exciting and awesome it is to actually go! Focus on that!! Before we know it we’ll be back home in the middle of it all once again.

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