Why You Should Take A Wellness Vacation During The Holidays

Skip the family stress and head to a retreat

The holiday season is just around the corner. Whether you normally head home to family for the holidays (making this, for some, maybe the most dreaded time of year) or spend the holidays with friends, you might find that you have the urge to simply get away from everything and everyone. It's been a long year, am I right?

If that's the case, given that you have time off and vacation savings set aside, now might be the time to consider a wellness retreat, the latest in buzzy wellness trends. Rather than a regular vacation, which can obviously be rejuvenating on its own, wellness vacations and retreats provide more than just the typical R&R you would get at a beachside resort. Wellness retreats are more of a spiritual experience (and usually force you to put your phone down and involve some new age-y, spiritual practices).

Think about it: As nice as it might be to treat yourself and splurge on just any fancy vacation instead of having to eat yourself into a food coma at yet another Thanksgiving dinner, this doesn’t necessarily mean there’s any healing involved. In fact, thanks to the ubiquity of alcohol and... more alcohol, you might just end up with a hangover headache or five while on a typical vacation.

“A luxury experience may not always offer the greatest opportunity for transformation, as much of the deepest spiritual work is often about getting out of your comfort zone,” says Ruby Warrington, founder of The Numinous, the high-vibe spirituality online magazine, and author of Material Girl, Mystical World. With the recent boom in the wellness industry and new age, holistic ways of healing becoming popular, wellness retreats are becoming the new "It" ways to travel—both physically and mentally.

“I think the biggest trend in wellness travel is people opting for a fully transformational mind, body, spirit experiences, versus just a regular getaway with some yoga on the side,” says Warrington. 

While many wellness resorts are on the pricier side, especially this late in the game, don't worry. There are plenty of spiritual havens that offer alternative options to make the practice accessible for all. NYLON favorite Maha Rose, for instance, has a Catskills and Mexico location where plenty of retreats are offered (and some of which Warrington hosts), which can include anything from acupuncture and reiki training to breathwork and private yoga sessions. Warrington mentions that not only do they offer payment plans and scholarships, they also offer accommodation alternatives (such as camping) to significantly lower the price of attending.

So, why at a time when many are taking trips home to see family (or planning Friendsgiving-type of get-togethers), is it best to be a little selfish and treat yourself to a wellness retreat? Warrington explains: 

Family commitments aside, Thanksgiving is a moment of pause in the hectic pace of modern life—literally the only time of year when it feels like everything truly stops. For this reason, it’s actually ideal to use this long weekend as a time to come to yourSELF—as you can switch off fully, free from any FOMO about what you may be missing out on at work, in your friend group, etc. Any time you can fully disconnect in this way can be extra restorative for your mind, body, and soul.

Not to mention, winter is prime time to turn the focus inward. Warrington explains that while summer is great for outdoorsy physical activity, the darker winter months are traditionally a time to retreat—hibernate, if you must—spiritually, “in order to be reborn in the springtime.” And with New Year’s resolution planning right around the corner, she suggests using this break to set some intentions for the coming year.

So go ahead, use this time (and that money you set aside for a plane ticket to your parents’ house) to indulge in some self-love. Besides, you can always plan a family visit later in the New Year, while you’re still fully Zenned-out. 

Warrington is co-presenting the New Year, Nu You wellness retreat in Kripalu this January. For more information, click here.