Choosing the right wellness retreat

January 17, 2023

We all dream of taking a break from our everyday lives. Have you ever considered a wellness retreat?

A number of places in Québec offer the kind of stay that will let you take a step back from your life. Whether you choose to go with a facilitator or go on your own, a wellness retreat can nourish your inner world. It can offer an introspective journey that’s conducive to mindfulness. A retreat can get you out of your routine and can even spark a fresh start.

Does this idea appeal to you? Here are a few things worth considering to help you choose the right wellness retreat and prepare for your stay. 

Why go on a wellness retreat?

There are many reasons why you might want to go on a wellness retreat. For example:

– You’re becoming tired, and you need to recharge.

– You want to get to know yourself better.

– You’re going through something difficult, such as grief, a breakup or a health issue.

– You want to take stock of your life.

– You’re seeking to relax or to clear your mind.

– You want to prioritize yourself.

– You’re looking to deepen a practice like yoga or meditation.

– You’re interested in learning from the person guiding the retreat.

– The theme of the retreat speaks to you.

– You want to make some positive changes in your life.

– You’re curious about the place where the retreat is being held.

– You’re seeking to better understand your emotions and feelings.

– You’d like some time to look inwards.

– You want to take care of your physical and mental health.

– You’re seeking connection with your spiritual side.

Choosing a wellness retreat: what to consider

Are you thinking seriously and becoming more certain about wanting to take part in this unique and rewarding experience? Then it’s time to choose what type of retreat you would like. Given the multitude of choices available to you, here are some points to consider.

The place where the retreat is held

First, the place where the retreat is held can have a significant impact on your experience. While a retreat is primarily an inner journey, the environment will still colour many moments of your stay. Here are a few things you might want to ask yourself when you’re weighing your options:

  • How unique is the experience?
  • What type of food is offered?
  • How comfortable will it be?
  • How nice is the building, or how simple are the facilities?
  • Is it close to nature?
  • Is the place environmentally responsible?
  • Does the place have an interesting history?

The location of the retreat

The location of the retreat can also be a factor. Do you want to stay close to home, or would you rather travel a bit so you’ll be out of your comfort zone? Make sure the city or area you choose will let you get out of your routine. Being by the water or close to a wooded area, or even an urban environment, can be beneficial.

The best time of year to slow down

With our busy lives, it can be hard to take time for ourselves. Is there a time of year that’s better suited to slowing things down a bit? Or would you rather take some time out to get away and unwind when things are busy at work? Perhaps a particular time of year gives you the blues and you want to schedule your retreat ahead of time. Whether you plan your retreat months in advance or not, you’ll no doubt be looking forward to giving yourself the gift of time.

The facilitator and the theme of the retreat

If you choose to join a guided retreat, the facilitator’s expertise and the theme will likely be factors in your decision. The themes that are discussed during the teachings can be as diverse as the ways of exploring them. For example, a retreat centred on balance might offer yin yoga or guided meditation sessions so that you can integrate what was discussed in body and mind. Find out about the facilitator: do you agree with what they say on social media and in their communications? Do you have shared values or a similar profile or interests? What’s important is that the themes speak to you and that you feel good about the person leading the retreat.

Cinq femmes méditent

The type of retreat

At some retreats, time is set aside for sharing. Is that something that appeals to you? Be aware that, if you feel called to participate in the form of either active listening or speaking, these discussions can lead to strong emotions or insights. In some cases the participants form a special bond. Solidarity, sharing, empathy and openness can give you the strength you need to better face your day-to-day life once you’re back at home. That said, you can still choose silence if that’s what you would like. The important thing is to respect yourself at all times. That’s how you create your own inner space so you can connect with yourself. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask the person leading the retreat if you want to find out more about the schedule, the size of the group, and whether a silent retreat is possible.

A retreat on your own

If you need some time to be completely alone with yourself, that’s entirely possible too! Whether it’s at a wellness centre or cottage, or whether you’re wilderness camping or on a trip, a solo stay can have many advantages. You can take part in activities at your own pace, make your own choices as you see fit, and rest as much as you want. You might be afraid to be alone at first, but spending time on your own is an incredible way to develop your relationship with yourself, to live in the moment, and to step back and observe your thoughts.

In short, when you’ve found a formula that works for your needs, your interests, your limitations and your budget, it’s time to make a booking! From there, it’s up to you to take your first steps toward this special time just for you.

How to prepare for a retreat

Here are a few tips to help you leave your stress behind and to help you get in the right frame of mind for your stay:

  1. Plan your trip: purchase your train or bus tickets, arrange for carpooling, check if parking is available, etc.
  2. Make a list of the things you’ll need to bring: comfortable clothes suited to the season and the destination, a pen or pencil and a notebook to write down your thoughts, snacks for when you get hungry, a reusable water bottle, etc.
  3. Plan to disconnect: let your loved ones know you won’t be reachable during the retreat. Mentally prepare for being off social media for a while. Putting your smart phone away can be daunting, but it can also be an excellent way to live in the present moment and get in touch with yourself during the retreat.
  4. Get informed: satisfy your curiosity about the theme of the retreat or the person leading it. You’ll probably be able find readings, podcasts, or blog posts on the subject. They will help build enthusiasm and give you food for thought before you embark on your retreat.
  5. Come up with an intention for your retreat: what do you hope to take away from it? What matters most to you these days? This intention will help shape your reflections and your attitude throughout your stay.

The retreat is just around the corner!

The day is finally here! Your retreat is about to start. Savour this time that you’re taking for yourself. Leave all expectations behind and dive into the experience with open arms. We hope your stay is filled with self-love, peace, self-compassion and synchronicity. The gift of self-care is such a good way to move forward in life with serenity.

What about Le Monastère des Augustines?

If Le Monastère des Augustines sounds like a good place for your experience, please go to our website to learn about the retreats we offer, or have a look at our wellness packages. Our accommodations offer an inspiring setting, with a choice of authentic or contemporary rooms. And the food we offer is in line with the concept of mindful eating. But most importantly, you’ll be welcomed into a place steeped in history where the Augustinian Sisters’ values of hospitality, kindness, openness and sustainability will be there for you throughout your stay.

Also, each visit or purchase with Le Monastère helps further the social and cultural mission of our non-profit organization, which includes offering support to caregivers and health workers, along with sharing the Augustinian Sisters’ proud heritage with the community. Your stay with us therefore brings invaluable support in ensuring the continuity of this unique place. Thanks in advance for your interest in our facility. Please feel free to contact our team if you have any questions!

Tapis et accessoires de yoga lors d'une retraite de ressourcement au Monastère des Augustines