5 things I learned (and adapted) from The Retreat
Two weeks ago, I boarded the A380 heading from Vienna to Dubai for a super short (but very meaningful) lesson on wellbeing at The Retreat Palm Dubai. The idea was simple: “Fall in love with taking care of yourself!”. The motto hit home with me at an instant. Possibly due to the fact, that taking care of myself and creating time for myself is one of my biggest personal goals for this year. Or maybe because wellness vacations are a huge travel trend that I have been keeping an eye on. Many times, we mistake vacations in in’s true meaning.
the action of leaving something one previously occupied.
How often do we spend hours planning every last detail of our vacation. All the things we HAVE to do. How often, do we think a vacation is the perfect excuse to stuff our face with burgers and beer, because it is not something we usually do? Don’t get me wrong, I am all about treating yourself and indulging. But I feel that it is important to do so with a purpose.
At The Retreat Palm Dubai – MGallery, it is the hotel’s aim to nourish the guests’ soul, empower a balanced lifestyle and provide the best functional areas to do this in. This includes all details, from the restaurant menus to the quality of sleep, from the indulgent spas to the fitness approach. Our three days at The Retreat were filled with workshops and talks held by incredibly inspiring personas, yin yoga, moonlight meditation and learning how to nourish our body and finding self-care through food. As you’ve probably guessed: right up my alley! I took away so much from the stay, that I made sure to take notes throughout the entire time. From said notes, five things stood out in particular, which I want to share with you today.
How To: Well-Being & Self-Care
Food: Every time we eat, we are presented with a choice. We can either harm or nourish our body. I don’t want to go into what each of those mean in every-day life because diet is very personal and individual, but I am sure you all know what I mean. Kate Reardon, who is a qualified practitioner of Naturopathy and Nutritional Medicine and an Intuitive Metaphysical Healer spoke about food as self-care and the impact it has on our mind as well as our body (and spirit). This does not mean that a glass of wine is a big no-no or the occasional plate of paste is off-limits, but rather what it means to understand how to really fuel our bodies. This includes the setting of which we eat and the way we treat the food on our plate.
Interior: As someone who loves all things interior, the feng-shui workshop was amongst my highlights of the trip. Our homes play a major role in our overall well-being, just like hotel rooms do on vacation. So, so true! Ever since Mike and I moved, we feel like we’ve been on honeymoon. Our new home is our sanctuary. We feel so incredibly blessed to have found a place that instantly lifts our mood when we come home.
Fitness: Listed here for obvious reasons, but I also had a major personal learning. Working out (whether that is a major sweat session or a long walk in the sun) is me-time for me. It is something that I love and need as part of my life. However, me-time should never create extra stress. Hence, I have decided that I still want to give my fitness the priority it deserves (read: a fixed element in my calendar), but I don’t want to stress myself to get up extra early for a workout if I went to bed too late or squeeze in a gym session at a random hotel when I am exhausted from a day filled with meetings. You can burn as many calories as you want, if your body is releasing the stress hormone cortisol, you probably won’t lean out any time soon. “Cortisol tells your brain you’re under threat. If that threat appears day after day, it tells your body to lay down fat cells in your tummy and start storing fat there in case food becomes scarce. Cortisol is also released when you exercise and the higher the intensity or duration of your workout, the bigger the cortisol release.” This is probably the reason why I looked my slimmer after Christmas at home (well-rested, happy) even though I ate much more and didn’t exercise as much.
Meditate: Mindfulness and meditation are words we’ve been hearing pop up a lot lately. With good reason. For a fast-paced society like ours, always on the go, always connected, always online, it is incredibly important to find the means to stay connected to our inner self. Amongst practitioners, meditation is also becoming a key-player in preventing (or treating) burnout. Why? Meditation helps to manage anxiety and stress. It helps you sleep better. It sharpens your memory. Meditation also helps to put things into perspective and focus on what is important vs. what is not. The moonlight meditation and inner calm I felt afterwards was the perfect reminder to start using Headspace (the app I use to help me meditate) more often again and to add yoga back into my fitness routine.
Ask Yourself: Another lesson we learned from Kate Reardon was to ask ourselves how we can serve our mind, body and spirit on a daily basis. First thing in the morning. “What can I do to serve my mind today?” (podcasts, learning something new,…) “What can I do to serve my body today?” (sweat, bath,…) “What can I do to serve my spirit today?” (nature, pray, …)
It is important to create time in your every-day life to answer those questions with the according actions. Also, take 2 minutes twice per day to check back in with yourself. “How am I?”, “How can I serve myself at this very moment?”. She literally told us to set an alarm for this in order to make a habit out of it.
PS. According to Kate, manicures or a fresh haircut do not count as self-care. That’s basic maintenance. Be sure to make your self-care meaningful and a step towards creating a better you from the inside out!
Not only do I hope, that some of these notes are helpful for you to create more well-being in your life, but I also hope that writing it down helps me to incorporate as many of the things I learned at The Retreat in Dubai as possible. It sounds so simple in theory, but far too often “life” gets in the way.