New year, new opportunities for self-improvement. There's no better way to start 2020 than by making a commitment to a better you. Wellness is the new cool when it comes to travel and is the industry's fastest growing sector, with more options than ever for combining your time off with a little self-love. Want to jump on the bandwagon? Here are a few life-changing wellness holidays to consider for the year ahead.
Sleep and repeat
These days, a good night's sleep is a valuable commodity in our time-poor, always-connected times, and finding techniques to combat the stresses of modern life is more important than ever. At Amatara Wellness Resort in Phuket, Thailand, you can book in for an eight-day Sleep Retreat to reset your body clock to a natural sleep-wake cycle. Here, a polysomnography (overnight sleep test) is combined with healthy food, zero screen time after sunset, and relaxation and breathing techniques to help you develop better sleep behaviours. In northern Italy at Lago do Garda, Lefay Resort & Spa's Sweet Dreams programme works to combat insomnia by stimulating your body's energy lines. Over six days you'll experience the likes of acupuncture sessions, energy massages and reflexology, alongside learning practices such as qigong for rebalance.
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Log off and unwind
The proliferation of devices in our busy lives is increasingly an issue. One way to restore some work-life balance is with a circuit-breaking digital detox. UK company
offers a device-free yoga retreat at a luxurious private manor house just north of London over a weekend each November. Jivamukti yoga sessions are paired with a plant-based menu, massage, relaxing beds, deep bathtubs, and pretty gardens and woodlands to provide the perfect environment to forget about your Instagram account — well, for three days, at least. You can always post about your amazing experience once you get home.
If a women-only getaway appeals, how about signing up for a "slow rest" retreat at a country house in the historic French village of Montesquieu? Aimed at those seeking time out from their busy lifestyles or recovering from illness, the Little French Retreat takes groups of just six women at a time for its Equinox Slow Rest for Women — five days of restorative yoga, releasing meditations, therapeutic breath rituals and more. Therapies employed include reiki, sound medicine, crystal therapy and essential oils. In Spain, Mallorca's Escapada Health Retreat & Clinic offers a four-night Women's Health retreat, which focuses on natural healing and healthy lifestyle choices through times of imbalance such as fertility issues, menopause or sleep issues. Ayurvedic cuisine is paired with massage, acupuncture, yoga and mindful movement sessions, and all guests receive a personalised health plan to take home with them.
Fresh air and freedom
Getting out into nature is a salve for the soul and these days you can find wilderness retreats all over the globe where you can connect with your environment in comfort. One of the most beautiful spots to be immersed in the wild is Alaska and at the
near Homer in the state's south, you can have a naturalist almost all to yourself who will introduce you safely to the area's wildlife, including whales, sea lions and seals, as well as taking you hiking and sea kayaking. There's also yoga and plenty of opportunities to curl up in front of a roaring fire when you feel like getting cosy.
If you're feeling the need for some serious you time, Be Kind Retreats Bali has a Self-Love Retreat that promises to help you "reconnect with yourself in a mindful way". Catering for just three women at a time, the six-day retreat includes sacred letting-go rituals, a healing session, a women circle, yoga, mediation, a workshop and a holy water cleansing ceremony. Also in Bali is Bliss Sanctuary for Women which serves up a seven-day Self Empowerment retreat featuring healing sessions, tarot card readings, unlimited massage, spa treatments and yoga, sightseeing, healthy local cuisine and a range of delicious sounding baths — think "blissful sleep" and "Bali flower" soaks.
Fit and fabulous
On the other end of the spectrum are retreats for those looking for challenging physical activity, and there is something out there for everyone. One option is Pointe Break Retreats , which combines healthy organic food with yoga, surfing and ballet in the exotic locales of Portugal, Costa Rica and Mexico, while Hike Caribbean offers a series of walks at varying lengths and levels of difficulty across seven tropical islands, including Antigua, Montserrat and St Kitts. You can pair these hikes with other activities such as birdwatching, yoga or history, and there's even an option to do it off-grid in the Dominican jungle. In the Mediterranean, Sun Fun You's cruise itineraries onboard its 16-passenger wooden yacht come with certified fitness instructors who supervise hikes and swimming off the boat supplemented with yoga, strength training and muscle-recovery stretching when you're back on board.
Healthy weight loss
Maintaining the right weight for your body is all about learning good habits and incorporating them into your daily routine, and a responsible programme can help get you on the right track. In the UK, Cornwall's
has a Weight Loss Programme for either five or seven nights that offers up ways to achieve a change of lifestyle for sustained weight loss through healthier choices. Meals include breakfast smoothies and plant-based cuisine, while juices and intermittent fasting takes place throughout the week. There are also consultations with a clinical nutritionist, spa treatments, private yoga and hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming or meditation sessions, raw food workshops and daily guided Nordic walks either on the moors, the Cornish countryside or on the Cornish Coastal Path. In Mystras, Greece,
a Nutrigenomics programme uses medical tests and analysis of each guest's physical makeup and metabolism to make individualised recommendations for nutrition and exercises. Euphoria also offers spa treatments, various therapies, daily activities including hikes, yoga and Pilates.