Feeling like you’ve come to a cross roads I life? Or do you have a niggling doubt that’s holding you back? Savant Spy says a visit to a spa will help you take back control and feel like you’ve had a fresh start.
Going away to find yourself was once considered a bit of a posh lifestyle fad, the kind of thing Edina and Patsy did in Ab Fab, the preserve of the rich and self-indulgent. One thinks of Gwynnie heading to The Ashram in LA for a bit of chakra cleansing, mountain hiking and a guided journey back to the self. Our very own spa spy had a life changing moment in Switzerland - read about her transforming experience here.
Now, however, it’s become more acceptable as essential to our health and wellbeing. And these days you don’t have to trek up the Himalayas to seek guidance from the Dalai Lama to experience emotional and spiritual transformation.
Many UK spas are now offering life-changing retreats, bringing in life coaching, meditation, workshops and yoga experts so that you can use your spa time to really examine your life, explore what you need and come home equipped to make any necessary changes.
Spa plus life-coaching
With the success of celebrity therapist Fiona Arrigo's pricey retreats in Somerset, there is clearly a growing market for stressed-out working men and women who want something more nurturing than the male oriented boot-camps for burnt out execs.
Life coaches help people explore what they want in life, what is holding them back and develop strategies to enable them to achieve their goals. You can see a Life Coach about anything, from a lifestyle or career change to achieving weight loss or happiness. Life coaching is unregulated and practically anyone can call themselves a life coach or a lifestyle guru, so look for a life coach who holds a professional qualification as well as lots of experience.
More spas are booking in life coaches and lifestyle gurus for transformative weekends and retreats. These may include workshops, inspirational talks, one-to-one consultations as well as nutritious food, yoga and spa treatments.
The Lifehouse Spa in Essex has a resident Life Coach, Beccy Miller, who has developed her own life coaching model OSCAR. O is for Ownership (develop your confidence), S for Structure and Space (define your goals), then it's Clarity, Alternatives and Actions, and finally Resourcefulness.The model offers a structure for growth, and is adapted to each individual need.
Spa to change your life
These days you don’t have to trek up the Himalayas to seek guidance from the Dalai Lama to experience emotional and spiritual transformation. Life-changing retreats are popping up all over rural England, from The Bridge, which offers deep healing on a six day retreat, to the clean start breaks at Middle Piccadilly. We like the sound of the Value Your Mind retreat in all based on natural surroundings, with nourishing food, walks in nature, rejuvenating yoga, meditation, life coaching and a compassionate mind workshop. You can book 1-1 Inner Calm Transformational Coach with a relaxation and self-confidence specialist.
Also try The Mindful Digital Detox retreat at The Swinton Bivouac at Swinton Country Club and Spa (£375 per person). You will stay in a tree-lodge far from the madding crowds, deep in the Yorkshire dales, and indulge in sound baths, forest bathing and reiki drumming around the campfire. There’s even a Druid Temple if you want to go full pagan, but if you start to get cabin fever, you can pop over to the country club and enjoy the gorgeous spa.
The Scarlet Spa is perched on a Cornish cliff-top with breath-taking ocean views and eco-credentials that will make you weep in your gratitude journal. Their three-night Yoga Break (from £511) blends the spas Ayurvedic approach – a traditional Indian healing philosophy – with private yoga classes, mindful coastal walks and a chance to bubble away in the spectacular outdoor hot tubs. The shape of the weekend will depend on the visiting yogi, but you will begin by settling into your room and meeting with practitioners to set your intention and end with suggestions for home practice. Namaste.
Champneys Spa Resorts run a range of holistic retreats for those wishing to get their lives back on track through attending to all aspects of the self. There’s a two-night Attitude is All retreat with the flamboyant Tanya Wheway, where you can learn to live creatively and make an action plan for success, and a Make Life Easy retreat where you can rediscover your passion for living.
Sandi Clark has run the Bring Yourself Back into Your Life break with husband Mike Mayes for two years.
There are an awful lot of people out there who don’t know who they are, says Sandi. I often see the real person behind all the roles they’ve taken on, and it makes them sad that they haven’t seen their true self for so long.
Sandi and Mike train people to get in touch with their own ability to see and sense energy and begin to understand how their mood is affected by people, information and colour.
We teach them they’ve got choices, says Sandi. It’s really so simple, but so empowering. You don’t have to stay friends with someone if every time you see them, you feel drained. You don’t have to like everyone, and not everyone has to like you. Let them get on with it.
While these retreats have the advantage of specialist advice and guidance, you can achieve renewal in various ways during an ordinary spa day. The spa itself offers the security and nourishment to support your journey. It may also have useful treatments or classes to open up your mind to self-exploration.
One example: Sinéad De Hόra is an intuitive therapist who works at the Akasha Spa beneath the Café Royale in London. Sinéad reads your body and provides it with what it needs at that moment, then feeds back to you what she has learned. The things she picked up from me were impressive and invaluable: she saw I needed to declutter my life, take time for myself and access my creativity through being in nature. Beautiful! I went away and did just that. Or you could just book in for a mindfulness meditation class as part of your spa stay. Getting in touch with your body and feelings is essential to finding out what you really want: not a new car/hairdo, but a genuine need for deeper fulfilment.
As Sandi pointed out, when you’re at a spa you’re not being bombarded with information. You can really take the opportunity to look inward as well as reconnect to your senses: make sure you take a notebook to scribble down any thoughts that arise.