Do you ever just feel tired of your daily life? Do you just want to shut everything out so that you can relax and find some sanity? If your answer is yes, you may be overdue for a mental health retreat.

Most of us get caught up with our multi-tasked busy lives, and fantasize about escaping just for a while. Perhaps this is a natural response to all the stressors that weigh on us every day. However, science also says that “escaping” for a while is exactly what we should be doing!

Here is how a mental health retreat can be helpful in rebooting your life.

A woman soaking in an infinity pool outlooking the ocean.
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What Is A Mental Health Retreat?

A mental health retreat typically uses complementary and alternative therapies within a holistic residential setting. The principal purpose is to improve a person’s well-being through the stay. “Wellness retreats” and “wellness tourism” are basically the same thing with just a different name to call it.

The concept of it is so diverse that it can be for any amount of time in any way that allows you to focus on your well-being. A quick retreat in the city might be an evening at a spa that allows deep rest through a hot tub or massage. A more extensive retreat might be for a few days or more at a remote location in nature where they offer extensive programs that help enhance the wellness experience.

A man taking a meditational walk through a labyrinth of rocks.
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Besides, getting away for a while is proven to relieve stress in itself.

How Effective Is a Mental Health Retreat?

A study in 2017 looked at participants who went on a one-week retreat to measure the effectiveness of a retreat. The retreat included aromatherapy, health measures, mental health-related questionnaires, and various tests to measure a person’s well-being.

Results showed significant improvement in a person’s wellbeing after a one-week retreat and the positive effects sustained for 6 weeks. As for physical benefits, it reduced weight, abdominal circumference, improved blood pressure, and sleep quality. There were significantly improved results in the depression anxiety stress scale and mood state tests as well.

This means that a mental health retreat can refresh a person enough to get them through for a while after they return.

A group of people participating in a yoga pose out in nature.
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3 Elements to Enhance A Mental Health Retreat

Here are 3 elements to look out for when you consider planning for a mental health retreat. If it’s difficult to afford (time and money-wise) a full getaway right now, you can still incorporate these elements in your life in small ways to mimic a mini-retreat within your everyday life.

A serene garden.
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Connect With Nature

Nature heals, soothes, and restores our wellbeing. Being in nature or just even viewing an image of nature reduces anger, fear, and stress while increasing pleasant feelings.

Just a 40-minute walk in the forest improves mood and feelings of health and robustness. Exposure to nature contributes to better physical wellbeing, boosts immune function, improves creativity, reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and production of stress hormones. 

Pick a mental health retreat that allows you to indulge in nature or go for a short walk in nature. Go barefoot and feel the ground or dip your feet in the ocean. Even if it’s for a short period, simple direct engagements with nature can help recharge your mind and body.

A person standing bare feet on a field of wild flowers.
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Greening your office space can also help make you feel relaxed. Perhaps you can create a little mental health retreat in the corner of your room with plants for a relaxing effect.

A Healthy Diet

Our health is affected by what we eat. It’s not only physical, it can affect us mentally too. Science suggests that a plant-based diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and healthy proteins lowers the risk of weight gain and chronic disease. 

There are retreat programs that provide healthy meals that help with dietary choices and eating habits. Eating healthy meals for a certain duration will give us a push in a healthier direction.

If a mental health retreat is difficult, you can go on a healthy diet for a few days to self-activate a reset.

A healthy vegetable-based meal.
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You can find more on how healthy diets affects our wellbeing in our past blog post.

Hydrotherapy – Soak Yourself in Water

Did you know that soaking in water is beneficial for your health and wellbeing? Using water as therapeutic treatment is called hydrotherapy, water therapy, aquatic therapy, pool therapy, or balneotherapy.

According to scientific evidence, hydrotherapy improves immunity, management of pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, asthma, anorectal disorders, mood, fatigue, anxiety, obesity, hypercholesterolemia, hyperthermia, labor, etc.

The different effects on various systems of the body depend on the temperature of water and water quality.

Find a spa nearby for a mental health retreat experience or simply fill up your tub at home. If you like nature, perhaps an environment where you can swim in the ocean or lake would be nice. Hot-spring water can enhance health benefits with its mineral components in the water.

A woman soaking in the tub while holding a drink and looking outside.
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A Mental Health Retreat for a Relaxing Time-Off

Stress can build up no matter what kind of environment we’re in. It’s important to notice the signs and take time off when you feel strained. Sometimes a little getaway through a retreat is all we need to come back more energized. Plan ahead and make sure to schedule time off for your mental health!

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References:

Association of Nature and Forest. (n.d.). Forest Bathing is an Evidence-based wellness practice. Https://Www.Natureandforesttherapy.Org/about/Science. Retrieved July 26, 2021, from https://www.natureandforesttherapy.org/about/science


Cohen, M. M., Elliott, F., Oates, L., Schembri, A., & Mantri, N. (2017). Do Wellness Tourists Get Well? An Observational Study of Multiple Dimensions of Health and Well-Being After a Week-Long Retreat. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine23(2), 140–148. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2016.0268


Harvard Health. (2017, June 5). Harvard researchers continue to support their healthy eating plate. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/harvard-researchers-launch-healthy-eating-plate


Mooventhan, A., & Nivethitha, L. (2014). Scientific evidence-based effects of hydrotherapy on various systems of the body. North American Journal of Medical Sciences6(5), 199. https://doi.org/10.4103/1947-2714.132935



University of Minnesota. (n.d.). How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing. Retrieved July 26, 2021, from https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing

About the Author

SELF

As a writer, worked on many medical-related articles based on academic papers. Specializes in articles on mental health and stress care.

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