The Importance of Retreats

Retreat is not an absence; rather it is the search for a true presence. - Georges Gusdorf

Every year, mostly during summer, millions of individuals and families travel to beautiful locations to relax, unwind and get away from their busy daily lives. However, holidays can also be stressful times and this is why we need to consider retreats.

Retreats are aimed at providing you the solitude you need. This can be complete solitude as in individual and silent retreats, with your spouse as in marriage retreats, or in the form of groups as in yoga retreats. Wellness retreats are usually situated in secluded and serene locations that present the perfect platform for you to forget about the hustle and bustle of life and let your nerves relax. However, regular vacations can be taken anywhere that need not necessarily be in a quiet and calm locality. Moreover, retreats also offer a plethora of other activities that quench your thirst for adventure and exploring new cultures. So what are some of the benefits of retreats?

  1. Retreats have long-term benefits compared to regular vacations:  We’ve probably all experienced being on a vacation that leaves us exhausted, stressed out, and in need of recovery from the vacation! So much has to be managed and so much can go wrong on a vacation, not to mention the stress of traveling to your destination, especially during a pandemic.  When you go on a retreat, however, the sole purpose of that kind of a trip is to relax and focus on yourself, rather than having a frantic schedule of going from one tourist attraction to the next. That is why retreats can have long-term benefits on your health and well-being. Yoga retreats, in particular, are known to provide relief to patients of respiratory problems, anxiety, bone thinning, high blood pressure, arthritis, incontinence, and rheumatism, along with several other ailments. 
  2. Retreats give you an opportunity to be in  Nature: Retreats usually happen in resorts or locations that are based in beautiful natural surroundings. This has many benefits to your health and well-being. First of all, it calms you and helps you relax which lowers your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that our body produces when we are dealing with the pressures of our daily lives and hectic schedules, in addition to unusually stressful situations that we might be suffering from.  In addition, being in nature and in beautiful surroundings brings us joy and excitement and allows for interaction with plants and animals such as birds or dolphins depending on the location. These are pleasurable activities that bring us joy and boost our well-being, in addition to allowing great photo opportunities.
  3. Retreats offer you the chance to meet like-minded people: When you go on a retreat, you are likely to meet people who have similar goals and values as yourself. People who are looking to achieve certain goals out of going to a retreat are likely to share similar interests, beliefs, values and possibly even have compatible personalities. These people will become a support group for each other during the retreat, as well as possibly becoming friends and staying in touch after the retreat is over. You can think of that as an added bonus! On that note, you might want to consider going on a retreat with a friend. That way you will both keep each other company, as well as meet like-minded people and have a new experience to share and bond over more deeply.
  4. You will have access to professional guidance: Most if not all retreats will have some sort of guidance as part of their programs. As a client, you might have access to coaching, counseling, personal or group training, or might be asked to participate in workshops or meditation groups. In general, you will have the opportunity to do sessions or workshops that help improve your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. These programs will not only benefit you during the retreat but will also give you information, resources, and support to continue to benefit from your experience after the retreat is over.
  5. Everything is planned for you: One of the main benefits of going on a retreat is that you can totally relax and enjoy the experience without having to worry about handling the details of the trip such as bookings, commutes, schedules, standing in busy lines, and so on. You can just focus on relaxing and getting the benefits of the retreat without the hassle of figuring out all the details and doing the tedious and stressful work of planning a holiday.
  6. Retreats can be more economical: Naturally, there is a wide range of retreats and some can be quite expensive, but you can choose a retreat that fits your budget. People who go on retreats tend to spend less than people who go on a regular vacation, simply because they don’t have as much of an opportunity to spend money. On a regular vacation, you might go from one location to another and have a lot of different choices for dining and entertainment or shopping. This alone can increase your spendings astronomically in comparison to staying in one location and focusing on retreat-related activities rather than the usual activities which tourists engage in.

A retreat can give you a chance to find inspiration, start a new project, or get into a new habit: Depending on the type of retreat you go to, you might start a new habit of eating healthy or exercising. Being out in nature or meeting and talking to new people can give you new ideas or a new perspective. Just the feeling of being rejuvenated and re-energized might give you that zap of energy that you needed to kick start a new project or make a bold decision in your life. You might choose a retreat that has coaching or a counseling program that can help you heal from past trauma, or you might go on a couples retreat with your partner and work on your relationship. There are also retreats for executives or teams that help them make better decisions for their organizations. There are so many different types of retreats and so much to be gained from them. It all depends on your intention for that retreat and how much you allow yourself to benefit from it.

In Summary: Retreats are a great way to relax and unwind, focus on yourself and your goals, and find new inspiration or make new friends. There are many different types of retreats such as wellness retreats, personal retreats, couples retreats, and executive or team-building retreats. It is up to you to choose the kind of retreat that you need and how much to benefit from it.

Starting point offers a retreat called “Healthy Escape” at a lovely location which is Imar Spa in Umm Al Quwain, United Arab Emirates. It is a wellness retreat for women only. To find out more about it please go to Healthy Escape