Photo credit: C9 at Target
This past weekend I took a trip to the Hamptons. It was 48 hours filled with a lot of firsts–the main one being my first wellness retreat! One of the things I love about my job is getting the opportunity to test-run new products, new workouts, and in this case, new experiences. Along with a group of fantastic female journalists, I made my way out to Montauk to Ruschmeyers hotel. It honestly was like an adult camp. Who doesn’t love camp! Maybe not everyone, but still, it was amazing. We stayed in rooms that resembled cabins, and the main garden had hammocks and life-size checkers.
Besides being transported back to my days as a young camper, I got to spend time with two fitness-leaders: Adam Rosante and Kristin McGee. Kristin lead us through sun salutations as the sun was setting on the beach. In a yoga class instructors often refer to the “oceanic sound” of the breath and encourage you to connect with it. Practicing near the water really amplified that connection for me. Though the view was undeniably beautiful, I spent most of the practice with my eyes closed listening to the waves and breathing in that salty, delicious ocean air. I do have to admit, however, that yoga on the beach is a lot harder than it looks! I sunk down into the sand constantly and was wobbling all over the place. Regardless, I felt restored at the end and was so happy to be a part of the experience.
I’ve learned through my research that wellness retreats come in all shapes and sizes. However, the point of them remains consistent throughout. A humble retreat like this one and even more lavish ones are supposed to bring you back to a greater state of wellness.
I mentioned earlier that I experienced a few firsts on this trip, another being my first lobster! Can you believe it? It only took me 22 years to crack one open.I had no clue whatsoever what I was doing, but I have to say I quickly became a lobster fan after all that cracking, twisting and pulling. I couldn’t resist a few dips in the melted butter, either! Too good.
We ended the evening with a big bonfire, live music and my absolute favorite dessert in the world–s’mores. It may not have been the healthiest evening, but being well is about balance. Any expert or registered dietitian will stress that. Balance means waking up in the morning and having scrambled eggs and a green smoothie, yes. It also means indulging in an ice cream every now and then, or having a few glasses of wine on occasion.
I ate three s’mores that night, and I don’t regret a single one of them.
At 8AM the next morning, Adam kicked our butts in a killer bootcamp. My muscles were sore before it even ended. Afterwards we enjoyed a nice breakfast of fresh fruit and avocado toast, followed by a mini spa session. Once the “official” activities ended I broke away from the group to explore the town and beaches on my own.
So, what really happens on a wellness retreat? This may not sound like a groundbreaking 48 hours, but it really helped to reboot my mindset. Living in Manhattan can be incredibly stressful and it feels like you’re moving 100 miles per hour at all times of the day. A wellness retreat reminds you to think of yourself. It gives you the opportunity and excuse to be selfish and assess how you’re feeling. It gives you the chance to slow down.
This may have been my first, but it definitely won’t be my last! If you get an opportunity to go on one yourself I highly recommend it. I’ve heard a lot of people say that you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. I think there’s some truth to that.
Oh, and I was feeling so inspired during this trip that as I was walking along the beach alone I spontaneously just dropped all my belongings and started running. Running in the sand was a lot like yoga in the sand–it was hard as hell, but it felt pretty damn good afterward.