Whether you want to detox, lose weight, or just get away from the daily grind, there’s no question that visiting a health retreat can do wonders for our wellbeing. For many of us though, such an indulgence is often out of reach due to time restraints, family responsibilities or just the costs involved. Throw a global pandemic in the mix, and it’s even more out of reach for a while yet. For many, however, COVID-19 lockdown has meant our home has been our healthy and safe sanctuary of late. Despite the lockdown lifting in NZ, the reality is, many of us will continue to spend more time at home as working from home becomes a more viable option.
So, while we’re all certainly not going to be in any position to jet off to a Bali health retreat anytime soon, why not turn our homes into healthy retreats and reap the benefits of balanced living right where you are? Forget just a 7 day focus on your health make a few simple tweaks to your own home and you can create a healing, rejuvenating refuge 365 days of the year! The following tips can help to calm your nerves, improve your diet, boost your energy, and increase your happiness – all sans a pricey (and currently inaccessible!) trip to a luxe tropical health resort.
Create a Zen Corner
Setting up a special space where you can retreat to spend time in stillness, silence, and solitude is the best way to invite some of that health retreat serenity into your home. Arrange a few plush pillows (cool green and blue hues are the most calming) and some soft blankets in a dimly lit corner of your quietest room. Switch your phone off, clear away any distracting clutter and then plop down on the pillows and close your eyes. Focus on breathing slowly and deeply, in and out, for five minutes, eventually building up to 30 minutes of meditation daily. If you like, you can create an inspiration altar point adorned with candles, crystals and inspirational pictures and you’ve got yourself one Zen space to get your OM on.
Play Peaceful Music
Peaceful rhythms can settle your nervous system, encouraging relaxation after a hectic day. Research shows that classical music can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Conversely, fast-paced tempos can rev up your body and mind. Match your home’s soundtrack to your mood—or the state you want to be in: Shake off morning sluggishness by blasting upbeat tunes. Or perhaps wind down while you cook dinner by playing soft instrumental music.
Bring in an Element of Water
Water is extremely meditative and calming. Studies show that being near water—or hearing the sound of flowing water – can lower heart rate and stress levels while encouraging feelings of serenity and relaxation. Even just looking at water can be soothing and relaxing. Arrange floating candles in clear water-filled vases, purchase a small plug-in water feature, or buy a desktop fishbowl filled with aquatic plants (fish optional!) If you’re tight on space, hanging photos of ocean or river scenes, or even swapping out your screen saver to an idyllic island destination, can lend you some of water’s calming effects.
Stock Up on Wholefoods
You won’t find stodgy, sugar-loaded or processed food on any health retreat worth its salt! Having a substantial supply of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbal teas and wholefoods on hand at home will encourage you to make healthy food choices to nourish your body and soul. You don’t need a holistic chef whipping you up detoxifying broths either. Just create healthy eating habits at home and set the stage for good health, so that the need to whisk yourself off to a retreat to detox isn’t created in the first place!
Display Candles & Burn Essential Oils
Lighting candles and burning essential oils are two of the quickest, easiest, and cheapest ways to instantly transform the ambiance of any living space. The warm glow of candles instantly promotes a sense of calm. Just make sure you buy candles made from natural wax (like soy or beeswax) for a chemical-free burn, and don’t let them gather dust while you wait for that special occasion to light them. Enjoy their peaceful glow on any given night and you may even save a little on electricity while you’re at it! Essential oils are a natural complement to candles and can be burned in oil burners or diffusers throughout the house.
Smells can activate the brain’s memory centre which can trigger a sense of calm and comfort. You’ll get the biggest overall benefits by surrounding yourself with aromas you love and that remind you of happy occasions, so get creative with your concoctions! They’re also powerful enough to change your mindset and help ease pain. Just be sure to use therapeutic grade oils to ensure the aromas that you are inhaling don’t contain any synthetic chemicals or artificial fragrances. With the hectic pace of our lives, it’s natural that we crave peace and serenity from time to time. Our united experience of “slowing down” over lockdown need to not cease just because we have got most of our freedom to rush around and “go go go” back. Surrender yourself to the beauty and healing haven that you can create in your own home. Go on, re-treat yourself. Namaste.