10 Wellness Getaway Lessons You Can Take Home

Ever notice that you’re at your busiest and most stressed when you need a vacay. Not exactly convenient. Enter our wellness getaway hacks.

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wellness getaways, a woman doing a balance yoga pose on a mountain
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The benefits of wellness getaways

As a travel and health writer, I’ve attended my fair share of wellness getaways, retreats and classes. One recent favourite: a luxe weekend at Victoria’s Fairmont Empress Hotel with wellness coach Catherine Roscoe Barr.

There’s huge value in taking a break from the chaos to focus on yourself – especially when healthy meals are included! But until you can make it to your next wellness-focused getaway, here are 10 lessons I’ve learned that everyone can share.

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wellness getaways find purpose, woman looking into sunset after a run
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At wellness getaways, you find your purpose

You don’t have to Eat, Pray, Love your way to happiness. Roscoe Barr offers up the advice that “the biggest thing is learning to live with intention.” That doesn’t mean that every minute should be spent exercising, journaling or planning your next meal. But when you do decide to binge-watch GLOW with a giant chocolate bar, don’t choose it by default – do it because it’s absolutely what you want to be doing in that moment.

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wellness getaways joy, woman smiling on the beach
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At wellness getaways, you find out what joy is

A mindful approach to well-being includes knowing what truly makes you happy – not just happy in the moment. Roscoe Barr differentiates “authentic joy” from “instant gratification,” and encourages her clients to learn to tell the two apart and make choices that lead to the former rather than being defined by the latter.

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wellness getaways habits, a woman drinking greentea
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At wellness getaways, you work hard on new habits

Roscoe Barr likens old, ingrained habits to four-lane highways and new ones to bushwhacking. In other words, repetition is the key to success.

As you work to develop new healthy habits (like reaching for an afternoon green tea instead of that extra-whip caramel latte), don’t be too hard on yourself – and remember that what starts as effort will become automatic in time.

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wellness getaways put yourself first, woman getting a massage
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At wellness getaways, you put yourself first

Selfishness can be a problem, sure. But proper self-care is more like that airplane oxygen mask – you can’t help anyone else without helping yourself first.

“When we’re depleted, we’re a lesser version of ourselves,” says Roscoe Barr. Learn what you need to recharge and make it an essential part of your schedule.

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At wellness getaways, you learn to say no

To make room for the most positive elements of your life to shine through, you have to let go of what’s not serving you. Roscoe Barr suggests taking a Marie Kondo-like approach to opportunities that come up: Before making a decision, hold them virtually to your chest and assess if they will bring you joy.

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wellness getaways breathe meditation, a woman meditating on the beach
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At wellness getaways, you discover your stress busters

Stress happens, and it’s not always a bad thing. But rather than being surprised when that tight feeling shows up in your chest, be prepared.

Make a list of ways you can counteract the stress to help yourself feel better in the moment, suggests Roscoe Barr – anything from closing your eyes and taking three deep breaths to making plans to hit your local juice bar with a friend after work.

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wellness getaways positivity, a woman with an enthusiastic smile
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At wellness getaways, you flip your mindset

Human beings can adapt to anything, and what once seemed like an amazing opportunity can quickly turn to drudgery. (Read: That dream job that wasn’t as much of a challenge as you’d thought.) But sometimes, a simple shift in how you think about things can make all the difference in the world to how you approach it.

Next time you’re thinking “I have to” do something, change the wording to “I get to” and see if it makes a difference in your attitude.

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wellness getaways mini workouts, a woman getting ready for a quick run
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At wellness getaways, you try mini workouts

A lot of us have an all-or-nothing approach to exercise – if you can’t make it to your favourite 90-minute yoga class, why bother, right?

But Roscoe Barr encourages clients to do mini workouts to stretch and strengthen the body and give stress and anxiety a physical outlet – a brisk walk, say, or a quick circuit of strength moves. It’s amazing what a difference just 10 minutes can make.

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wellness getaways meal prep, a woman shopping at the market on a Sunday
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At wellness getaways, you learn about routine

Willpower is tough, and decision fatigue is real. So why set yourself up to fail? Instead, plan ahead and start routines – what Roscoe Barr terms “rituals” – so you don’t have any decisions to make. If you always make a weekly meal plan on Sunday mornings, you don’t have to worry about it anymore – it’s just part of your routine.

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wellness getaways feel good, woman on a beach at sunrise, loving life
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At wellness getaways, you focus on the good

When it comes to healthy living, Roscoe Barr encourages clients to think about what they’re adding rather than what they’re taking away: “We want to put so much good in our lives that the unhealthy stuff gets pushed out.”

So instead of always thinking about the “bad” things you’re doing (or want to be doing), focus your energies on the positive changes you want to include. You might just run out of time for the rest.

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