Newsflash: The next time you think you need a vacation, you probably do. A stressful job, domestic responsibilities and difficult relationships all deplete us of our sanity. So, it’s no surprise we forget one tiny detail while juggling our busy day-to-day — taking care of ourselves. Before you roll your eyes, just hear us out. Heard of that elusive phrase ‘life balance’? Guess what? Getting away from your daily routine is sometimes just what you need to restore that equilibrium to your life, you know, re-charge your batteries if you will. To make our case for why you should be packing your bags, we spoke to Kelsey Matheson, co-owner of Anamaya Resort in Costa Rica, which specializes in yoga, meditation and surfing retreats.
Here we go:
Yes, well-being is a thing. Accept it.
Read this sentence carefully: “You are the most important investment you will ever make,” says Matheson. Now read it again. Then, let it sink in for a bit. The work hard, play hard attitude is fine, however you need to realize that taking a break from the daily grind is not a bad thing. “It should be the top of your priorities and you’ll be healthier and happier for it,” she adds. A wellness getaway could be anything from taking a few yoga classes, hiking in the mountains or learning to surf. The important thing is to choose what you want to do — no compromises.
You know that gut feeling? Go with it.
“Choose where your instincts lead you,” says Matheson. “Look at locations that are giving you goose bumps when looking at pictures. A lot of our visitors at Anamaya tell us they were drawn to the resort because of the photos.” And we can see why. Located atop a hill with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, Anamaya is surrounded by lush rainforest; the proverbial ‘postcard perfect’ location. Once you’ve decided on a location, the next step is to establish your objective. Is it finding peace, meditation or losing weight? “Have realistic expectations,” says Deborah Peniuk, owner of AYA Life, which organizes health and wellness excursions. “Don’t be sold on the first one you see.”
Location, location, location — it’s not just for real estate.
This is imperative according to Matheson. “Go somewhere inspiring like an ocean or a mountain,” she says. “Get away from familiar surroundings and spend time in an environment that’s different from what you are used to.” We know what you’re thinking: sun, sand and an endless supply of Margaritas. But what about challenging yourself to try (or learn) something new? Aside from basic and aerial yoga at Anamaya, guests can learn how to surf, take a horse-riding lesson, go hiking and zip-lining or indulge in a massage. “You want to be able to do and try things you haven’t before so you can have awesome experiences that create lasting memories,” says Matheson.
Make Sherlock proud.
It goes without saying — do your research. Read reviews, contact your desired resort with questions, find out more about the instructors and discover all of the different kinds of activities that are offered. Here’s a handy little insider tip from Matheson, who does a lot of solo travelling herself: “How you’re treated from the moment you request information from the resort will dictate the kind of experience you’ll have there.”
At Anamaya the vibe is like a laid-back weekend at the cottage with guests eating their meals together, taking walks to the nearby town or enjoying a night out. So don’t be worried about being amongst strangers. (Yeah, that’s not a valid excuse.) “It’s beneficial to meet and bond with other people of the same mindset,” says Matheson. “What people are usually worried about when they arrive turns out to be the coolest part of the retreat.” And this writer can definitely attest to that.
Be selfish (a.k.a make yourself the priority).
Don’t raise your eyebrows. This is probably the only time you can justify doing something beneficial for yourself without feeling guilty (okay, we’re not counting that square of dark chocolate you just ate). “Do one thing a day that scares you, but also don’t try to do everything available to allow for downtime to relax and rejuvenate,” advises Matheson. You don’t need to do it all; that’s for when you get back to the real world, remember? “Keep it in mind to honour yourself on the journey and you’ll get the best results,” she concludes. We’re totally down with that — time to start planning.