The 30th of July is the United Nations International Day of Friendship. It’s been set aside as a special day to recognize how the powerful bonds of friendship help to make the world a better place. And really, wouldn’t we all be better off if everyone could just get along?
There are lots of ways to celebrate International Day of Friendship, whether you take your bestie out to lunch or get a group together for an adventure in the great outdoors. What you may not have thought about, however, is taking off on a wellness retreat. Wellness destinations are becoming a hot item on many “must-do” lists, and if you don’t want to go it alone, it’s a great way to spend some quality time with a friend.
We’ve put together a list of what’s out there so that you can start thinking about ways to build your friendships while looking after your physical, mental and spiritual well being. And if you’re secretly thinking “not a chance”, you’ll be surprised at how intriguing, and fun, some of these places can be.
When most people think of the word “retreat” they imagine slowing down and taking things easy. Adventure retreats, however, are exactly the opposite. If you’re feeling in a rut or spending too much time at your desk, these retreats will get your blood flowing again and really make you feel alive. A range of activities are offered from rock climbing to kayaking, cycling, extreme sports and horseback riding. Depending on where you go, you could be surfing in the morning and hiking to a waterfall in the afternoon. Luckily, there’s usually a massage and a soft bed waiting at the end of the day.
If you’re not into pushing your physical abilities, try working on your mind instead. These retreats focus on reducing stress and teaching you techniques to manage daily pressures once you’re home again. While spa-type retreats will have you feeling mellow during your stay, mindfulness retreats work on building new skill sets and coping strategies to make permanent, healthy changes in your everyday life. Some deal with specific issues like parenting, careers or intimate relationships while others center on more general mindfulness techniques, including meditation, that you can employ to cope with just about anything.
How many hours a day do you spend tethered to a screen? No really, how many? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably more than is healthy for you. Never mind what it does to your brain function and eyesight, you’re likely losing a lot of your social skills as well. Digital detox retreats teach you how to unplug and go back to making real human connections. Take a giant step away from the world of avatars and instant messaging to rediscover what it’s like to have normal interactions with new friends. Not “friends”. If that sounds terrifying, you’re exactly who these are made for.
If you’re still stuck on a traditional definition of retreat that involves lots of pampering, good food and a full glass of wine, those are out there too. Grab your buddy and head for any number of luxurious spa getaways where the hardest decision you’ll have to make in a day is whether you want a foot rub or a deep massage. Or both. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little self-indulgence, and a few days of staring at the stars and sweating in the sauna could do you the world of good. Available in a beach setting, scenic mountaintop, forest wilderness and everywhere in between.
Good friends can be hard to find, so be sure to let yours know you appreciate them on International Day of Friendship. And if you want some memories to share in the years to come, think about going on a wellness retreat together. Who knows, you may even go home with more friends than you came with.