8 steps to the best restorative retreat-style staycation
Post-holiday travel quarantine has made some of us feel like a staycation is the safe option for summer 2020, but this isn’t necessarily bad news. Nutritional Therapist, Jackie Newson suggests ways to take advantage of the opportunity to rejuvenate, limber up and pamper your body with a retreat-style home spa staycation.
If your original plans were to fly somewhere exotic for a spa holiday or book yourself into a retreat, you probably have a few ideas of what you would like to achieve during your healthy staycation. You may be looking to complete a detox diet, focus on fitness and regular exercise classes or even indulge in a few beauty treatments. So, who’s to say you can’t organise all these things yourself and enjoy a fabulous spa break in the comfort of your own home. You’ll gain all the benefits, at a fraction of the price and without the stress of long-haul travel.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Restorative yoga
It’s no surprise that most health retreats include a full schedule of yoga classes as this Indian traditional form of exercise combined with breathwork is a deeply restorative discipline. Yoga has tremendous full-body benefits and is easily tailored to your own abilities. To help get you started, there are plenty of free sessions online from beginners to advanced. If you schedule in a short session at the beginning and end of your day then you could be feeling much more centred and at ease by the end of the week.
What are the benefits of yoga?
According to research, the therapeutic effects of yoga are numerous1. One of the lesser-known benefits of yoga is that it promotes recovery from addiction when combined with standard medical treatments2. The more general benefits that yoga may help include:
- muscular strength
- cardiovascular function
- chronic pain
2. Cardio challenge
If lack of space or motivation left you unable to exercise your way through lockdown, now that parks and beaches are open again there’s no excuse to skip the opportunity for a regular workout. Set yourself a little cardio challenge, it doesn’t have to be too strenuous to start with, you could simply jump on a bike and start to cycle your way to fitness.
Governments throughout Europe are doing everything they can to encourage cycling, not just for fitness but to improve air quality too. This includes funding for electric bikes, which make cycling up challenging hills much less strenuous and a great way to help support cardio fitness. So when you return to work, if you’re a city commuter, an electric bike could be a new option to cut your journey time, save travel money and continue contributing to your fitness. Not only are your muscles getting a great workout, but you’re also doing your bit for the environment.
3. Go local for hair and beauty
Set aside some time in your staycation retreat schedule for some beauty treatments. Facials may still be disallowed due to COVID restrictions in some countries but there are plenty of other options for top-to-toe pampering. Not going abroad means you could support some of your local businesses that may have struggled during lockdown. Heading to the salon to untangle lockdown hair with a moisturising hair mask, cut and style followed by a manicure and pedicure could leave you feeling renewed and refreshed.
4. Relaxing massage
Stepping up your yoga and exercise classes during your healthy week at home could leave you with aching muscles halfway through the week. To prevent this from stopping you achieving the goals that you have set for yourself, it’s a good idea to treat yourself to a massage or two to help release tension from your body. Studies show that massage therapy may significantly help to lower anxiety and depression3. What’s more massage may help balance blood pressure and alleviate stress4. With all that’s happened this year, it’s definitely worth putting a relaxation therapy on your home spa list.
5. Aromatherapy oils
Aromatherapy has been around for more than 5000 years and uses essential oils to help restore balance. Evidence suggests that essential oils such as lavender may aid sleep quality and help offset anxiety5. Visit your local independent health food store or find an online store and carefully select a handful of aromatherapy oils and a room diffuser to create a real home spa experience.
6. Get juicing
It may seem like juicing is old news, but why dismiss something that can provide so much nourishment in one easy hit. If you are embracing an upscaled exercise programme, then a container full of freshly pressed vegetables and fruit juice is the perfect portable hydrator. The following juice recipes use just three ingredients, are tasty and easy if you have a cold press juicer to hand. For an extra blast of vitamin C, add in a scoop of Neutrient Total C Powder.
Mild and sweet and super refreshing with a nutritional profile that includes vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, E, K, beta-carotene, betaine, folate, calcium, choline, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, fibre, flavonoids and omega 36.
200g baby spinach leaves
4 green apples
4 medium carrots
Wash and chop ingredients ready for your juicer. Start by juicing the spinach then the apples and finally the carrots, chill and serve.
You might not be holidaying on a tropical island, but this juice helps transport you somewhere hot and exotic in an instant! It has a nutritional profile that includes B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, K, beta-carotene, calcium, choline, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium and phytosterols7.
2½ cups of pineapple chunks
Juice of ½ a lime
1 cup of coconut water
Juice the ingredients and pour into a long glass. What could be simpler?
7. Detox your diet
You may have found yourself eating all sorts of processed foods during lockdown so you could follow a retreat-style diet during your spa staycation to get back into the healthy nutrition zone. Try something simple to follow like a wheat-free diet and focus on cutting out processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, soft drinks and added sugar. This is similar to the kind of diet you might be expected to follow on a retreat so you could expect to gain some health benefits.
Up to 20% of the population are thought to suffer from food intolerances8 and one of the most common is wheat. You could be totally unaware that wheat doesn’t agree with you until you take it out of your diet and notice a positive difference in your health and wellbeing.
Wheat may make you feel foggy-headed, tired, irritable and depressed and could contribute to bloating, wind, indigestion and even eczema. A wheat intolerance may also aggravate other health conditions such as chronic fatigue, arthritis and PMS, evidence suggests this might be due to the presence of gluten in wheat, known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity9. By removing wheat from your diet, you could find you have less bloating, a clear head, lifted mood, more energy and possibly a little weight loss too.
Retreat style food ideas
Starting your day with a nutrient-packed juice followed by a protein snack like a boiled egg or yoghurt may help you feel less tempted to snack before lunch. Here are some wheat-free food ideas to stock up on before you start your retreat-style diet:
- Rice crackers
- Corn crackers
- Rye bread
- Rice bread
- Wheat-free bread
- Corn flour
- Corn pasta
- Rice noodles
- Buckwheat pasta
- Organic meat and poultry
- Nut butter
Get into the habit of reading labels because so many processed foods like soy sauce, stock cubes, pickles, curry powder and instant coffee contain hidden wheat. Look out for wheat starch, rusk, wheat germ, flour, thickener, wheat bran, food starch, edible starch and wheat protein.
8. Top nutrition supplements for a healthy home spa
Although juicing and detox diets may ultimately make you feel good, there’s always a chance you could miss out on some vital nutrients. The additional exercise could also leave you needing higher levels of some key vitamins and minerals. It’s a good idea to supplement your retreat-style diet with some quality, well-absorbed supplements:
Vitamin C – think immune support, joint health and amazing skin. Research confirms that vitamin C contributes to the normal function of the immune system and the protection of cells from oxidative stress, as well as contributing to normal collagen formation for the normal function of cartilage, bones, blood vessels and skin.
Magnesium – to help you sleep, support energy production and ease stress. Studies support the use of magnesium to support restful sleep, ward off fatigue and manage stress due to many of this mineral’s actions in the body. Magnesium is shown to contribute to the normal function of the nervous system and normal psychological function as well as contributing to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Vitamin B complex – delivers a powerful package for energy and cognitive function. B vitamins play a key role in managing stress and maintaining a balanced mood. Research shows that vitamins B1, B2, B6, biotin, niacin and folate contribute to the normal functioning of the nervous system and in terms of mood, vitamins B1, B6, B12, biotin and folate contribute to normal psychological function. For additional brain health support vitamin B5 contributes to normal mental performance.
Which supplements should you choose?
Altrient supplements contain microscopic liposomes giving them a distinct advantage over standard oral supplements when it comes to crossing cell membranes. What’s more, the size of the liposomes makes them less likely to be destroyed by the immune system. These benefits are further enhanced by the phospholipid outer layer that protects the contents from being degraded by digestive juices on route to the target cells and tissues.
The remarkable technology responsible for liposomal supplements like Altrient Vitamin B, Altrient C and Altrient Magnesium Magtein, ensures products that are highly absorbable, virtually indestructible, fast-acting and much longer-lasting.
Jacqueline Newson BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy
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Sarkar S, Varshney M. Yoga and substance use disorders: A narrative review. Asain Journal of Psychiatry 2017; 25: 191-196.
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Karadag E, Samancioglu S, Ozden D, Bakir E. Effects of aromatherapy on sleep quality and anxiety of patients. Nurs Crit Care. 2017; 22(2):105-112.
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Barbaro MR, Cremon C, Stanghellini V, Barbara G. Recent advances in understanding non-celiac gluten sensitivity. F1000Res. 2018;7: F1000 Faculty Rev-1631.
Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Avins AL, et al. A Randomized Trial Comparing Acupuncture, Simulated Acupuncture, and Usual Care for Chronic Low Back Pain. Arch Intern Med 2009; 169: 858-866.