I don’t go around describing too many things as life-changing, but having just come back from co-leading the High Vibe Tribe Retreat held at Blue Spirit Costa Rica with fellow coach Amy Woodall, I can tell you that they perfectly describe the experience. Not enough can be said about what happens when a community of people come together with the same purpose. In particular, wellness and mindfulness retreats can be magical, unforgettable … and indeed, life-changing.
The High Vibe Tribe Retreat was extraordinary in every way. During the week we went did yoga and practiced mindfulness exercises daily, went horseback riding and ATV riding, and embarked on a waterfall hike and swim. We enjoyed amazing meals, beautiful sunsets, and an awesome community of women. So, if you’ve ever thought about or are seriously considering signing up for one soon (domestic or abroad), I would encourage you to just say yes. Do it. Here’s how retreats change lives.
Answers to the Why’s
Everyone who signs up for a retreat has their own purpose … their own why for doing so. And it usually has to do with finding answers to deeply personal questions. Some examples:
- How do I repair my relationship with my partner?
- Which big career decision is the right one for me?
- How do I heal from divorce … a death … a loss?
During this most recent retreat, whether it was through planned group activities, meaningful conversations, deep reflection or even journaling, so many attendees got answers, and some came from very unexpected places. For example, one participant was struggling with how to reconnect with her estranged adult son – she wasn’t sure whether to reach out to him, or wait until he contacted her first. She met a masseuse on the retreat property, and through casual conversations, they found commonalities in this area, and that chance meeting led to clarity. When you put yourself in situations that are ripe for personal growth, you not only learn from yourself and others in the group, you might also learn from chance meetings with strangers that you’d otherwise never meet.
Freedom to be You
For many, the idea of getting away somewhere for peace and tranquility sounds ideal. But the whole part about actually going with a group of other people is what gives them pause. Here’s the thing about retreats – when done well, all types of personalities will benefit. We had a broad range of comfort levels at this last one, from extreme introverts to extreme extroverts, and everything in between. It’s important for all personality types to be free to share when they want, or be in solitude as much as they need. There is such power in creating an environment where people can have their own unique experiences that enrich who they are without pressure to participate in any way that feels uncomfortable.
All retreats are designed for different purposes. Ours was to provide opportunities for like-minded, high-achieving women to connect with others ready to unlock their fullest potential. Each day our agenda included things like meditation, yoga, and deep inner work. We also went zip lining (for those who wanted to) and engaged in other unique physical activities that were challenging and helped individuals discover their own strength and courage. As a result of the connections made and the shared experiences, participants formed unbreakable bonds that will continue back home and in the real world.
New Tools to Deal
It’s important for people to know they’re not alone, which is another aspect of retreats that is invaluable. We’re all feeling stressed, overwhelmed and in need of alignment – physically, spiritually and emotionally. It helps to come together with others who are feeling the same way and can support each other. There’s a great quote by Andrew J. Bernstein about stress that I like: “Remember that stress doesn’t come from what’s going on in your life. It comes from your thoughts about what’s going on in your life.” It’s important to learn and have effective tools to deal with stress and other challenges in healthy and productive ways. Whether they’re new breathing techniques, yoga and mindfulness practices, goal-setting strategies, journaling, or getting more comfortable sharing with others, participants learn tools that they can apply themselves to recharge and renew when needed.
Improved Quality of Life
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “I need a vacation from my vacation.” Vacations with family and friends can be great, but they can also be exhausting – especially if you’re responsible for planning and organizing it, or are overseeing the details for kids, family members or friends. Retreats are all about you – you just have to sign up and be willing to make an investment in yourself.
Research by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine shows that wellness retreats have a direct effect in reducing depression, stress, and anxiety, as well as improving quality of life. They also have lasting and measurable health benefits that last beyond the event itself. Participants in the study showed significant improvements in their psychological and physical health as much as six weeks later. From the study, “… these results suggest that retreat participants enjoyed benefits over and above the ‘vacation effect’ from being away from routine domestic and work activities.”
In other words, getting away is good for you, especially when it’s a wellness and mindfulness retreat.
Just Say Yes
We’ve talked about five main benefits of attending wellness and mindfulness retreats, but here’s a quick list of more that I wanted to mention:
- “Me time”
- Long-lasting bonds
- A safe environment to relax and recharge without responsibilities
- Solitude and reflection
- Opportunities to gain new perspectives
- Support without judgment
- Going home with yoga, meditation, journaling, or breathwork practice routines
Just say yes. Amy and I are already in the planning stages for our next retreat. If you’d like to be the first to know future retreat dates and details, click this link and add “Retreats” in the comment section – we will place you on our priority notification list.