Your Guide to Health and Wellness Retreats

You need a break. Your know your body and mind need to recharge from the stress, pressure and obligations of your day to day life. A change of scenery is in order. You want to get away from it all for a while. What is the best option to nurture and nourish yourself, though? Will a simple holiday do? Should you book a stay at a wellness hotel? Or would a health & wellness retreat be the best option?

In this blog post, we explain what a health and wellness retreat is, what you can expect to get out of it, what benefits it brings and who it is for. We also explore the difference between a wellness hotel and a health and wellness retreat and what to look out for when you book one.

What is a Health and Wellness Retreat?

There are many different types of health and wellness retreats. What they generally have in common is that they offer a purposefully designed program of therapies, wellness modalities and activities that encourage and support self-exploration, personal growth and healing. You can expect a team of health and fitness experts to guide you through the retreat and take your individual needs and goals into account. A health and wellness retreat will allow you to disconnect from the demands and stresses of everyday life and create a space for you to unwind, rest, let go of unhealthy patterns, rejuvenate and explore which self-care practices you want to implement long-term. These can include but are not limited to mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Qigong, TaiChi, breathing techniques, journalling, forest bathing, cold water therapy, massages, etc.. There’s usually a holistic approach to health and therefore a combination of physical, psychological, and/or spiritual activities. Ideally, you will walk away feeling relaxed and nourished, with new perspectives and insights, a new understanding of where you’re at and the motivation to take the necessary steps towards where you’d like to go. Depending on the health and wellness retreat you choose and the focus it has – e.g. overcoming emotional trauma, recovering from burnout, overcoming limiting beliefs, changing your relationship with food, working on your self-esteem or physical health – treatments, workshops, activities and nutrition will vary.

Is there a difference between a Wellness Hotel and a Health and Wellness Retreat?

Yes, there is are quite a few significant differences between a stay at a wellness hotel and a health and wellness retreat. The former is a more or less – depending on what you book – luxurious hotel with wellness facilities such as a fitness centre, swimming pool, sauna, steam bath as well as a spa area where you might be able to book massages and other treatments. The wellness hotel’s aim and focus is to provide a variety of generalised wellness options and an overall relaxing environment to a wider audience – without particularly catering to individual needs or health goals. It will largely be up to you which of the facilities you use and to what extent. A health and wellness retreat on the other hand will focus on your personal healing journey. You will also be offered continuous guidance and support by a team of experts that can tailor the well-designed and thought-through program to your personal goals and needs. A health and wellness retreat has a much more structured and intimate approach to help you not only disconnect from the noise and franticness of your day-to-day life but to also re-connect with yourself and your body’s wisdom on a deeper level as well as with what’s truly important to you.

What does a Health & Wellness Retreat look like?

Health and wellness retreats are usually set in tranquil locations surrounded by stunning nature – this could be near a beach, in the mountains or in a jungle. You will find the facilities designed and decorated in a way that creates an atmosphere of peace and serenity. Most health and wellness retreats will have a gym, pool and/or sauna/spa area. The length of stay can vary from just a few days up to a month with the most common options being one or two weeks.

Expect to have an individual room or maybe even your own yurt/hut/bungalow/cottage. There will be communal spaces like a dining hall or buildings where you gather for (yoga/fitness) classes or (personal development) workshops. This is where you will run into and can connect with like-minded people who share similar struggles, goals and hopes. There is a framework that takes care of your basic needs: You can for example look forward to at least two and normally three nutritious and balanced meals per day. The health and wellness retreat will be built around a daily or a weekly schedule that will offer you a new routine and various options and incentives to create healthier habits. Most of these retreats invite you to an at least partial digital detox that will allow you to be more present with yourself and immerse yourself deeper into what the program has to offer.

What Activities do you do at a Health & Wellness  Retreat?

The program of a health retreat will focus on and support holistic, sustainable wellbeing through education, connection and relaxation. Activities and treatments that are being offered can include but are not limited to

  • Intermittent fasting
  • Massages
  • Yoga
  • Various mindfulness practices like for example walking, journalling or eating a meal in silence
  • Breathing techniques
  • Meditation
  • Workshops on topics around personal growth/development like for example core values, setting boundaries, etc. or maybe on foraging or growing your own fruit & veg
  • Pilates
  • Qigong
  • TaiChi
  • Other movement therapy like for example dancing
  • Reiki
  • Sound healing
  • Cold water therapy
  • One-on-one counselling or coaching
  • Cooking classes and/or a nutritious meal plan
  • Immersing yourself in nature through hikes and guided tours or forest bathing

Most activities will happen in a group setting where like-minded individuals can connect with and learn from one another as well as benefit from the guidance and support of an expert. The activities offered and the schedule will depend on what type of retreat you choose and how many practitioners and therapists they have available.

The Benefits of Health and Wellness Retreats

How and to what degree you can benefit from a health and wellness retreat will depend on your mindset, general openness and your willingness to engage in the program and with the group. The potential benefits of health and wellness retreats include:

  • Getting a break away from your everyday stressors in a psychologically and physically safe and generally enriching environment where you feel cared for, supported as well as challenged.
  • Mental clarity, new insights and a fresh perspective on yourself and your life.
  • Re-connect with your body and senses through nature and various healing modalities and leave feeling re-empowered and rejuvenated.
  • Discover and explore new activities and kickstart healthier habits.
  • Learn new skills and self-care practices.
  • Become more fit and boost your wellbeing.
  • Detox your body through healthy, nutritious food and by forgoing alcohol, cigarettes and drugs for the duration of your stay.
  • Take your first steps or continue on the path of your personal healing journey and allow yourself to be inspired to change and grow.
  • Connect with like-minded people who are on a similar path.

Why should I go on wellness and health retreats?

Anyone looking to develop a greater physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual balance and wants to take action to create sustainable wellbeing in their life can benefit from health and wellness retreats. With the guidance of health and fitness professionals you can develop a plan that allows you to continue your journey of personal growth and healing at home. If you are willing and ready to put the work in, attending a health and wellness retreat can lead to not only a boost of motivation but lasting change. No matter what you are struggling with or what you’d like to work on – may it be stress, anxiety, depression, physical or digital detox, eating habits/digestive problems, fitness and/or yoga, strengthening your immune system, … – you will be able to find the right wellness and health retreat out there.

How much does a Health & Wellness Retreat Cost?

A health and wellness retreat is more than just a relaxing holiday. It’s an investment in yourself and the life you want to create. It involves working with and being supported by highly qualified and experienced experts/therapists/counsellors/coaches that guide you through the program and help you achieve your personal goals.

The cost of the health and wellness retreat you choose will depend on your length of stay, the type of accommodation, what type of meals (what dietary restrictions are being catered for) as well as the activities and healing modalities that are offered/included in the program. At New Life Portugal, our program offers three different paths (Resilience, Wellness, Rest & Rejuvenate) alongside weekend retreats, sober holidays and long Covid recovery. The prices range from 256€ to 357€ per night.

What to expect from retreats at New Life Portugal?

All health and wellness retreats are New Life Portugal can be tailored to the individual needs and goals of the guest. Our team of experts are real people with real life experiences that can help and support you with burnout, anxiety, depression, loneliness, grief or if you have struggled with addiction in the past and want to prevent a relapse. Our program offers a wide range of therapeutic elements rarely found all in one place that will allow you to develop physical and mental resilience as well as sustainable wellbeing.

Depending on the program path you choose we offer psycho-educational or experiential workshops, research-driven community and nature-based activities, one-on-one counselling and/or coaching sessions, group yoga and meditation classes, access to our luxurious facilities, including heated pool, sauna, gym and meditation hall with 360° views of the mountains, 3 nutritious, balanced meals per day and peaceful, private ensuite rooms. You can also book massage therapy or cultural excursions. There will be plenty of time and space to rest and reflect. Periods of what we call “noble silence” are part of all the retreat experiences which allows for greater awareness, supports being present in the now, connecting to yourself and your surroundings on a deeper level, promotes better sleep and makes digital detox easier.

At New Life Portugal, you can learn how to navigate challenging life events, how to achieve a better work/life balance and how to replenish your own energy sources in sustainable and healthy ways. You will also benefit from living in a supportive community of like-minded people.

If you are curious to learn more, don’t hesitate to contact us and we will offer you an obligation-free consultation to help you choose the best path for you and tailor it to suit your individual needs.