For Mental Health Awareness Week we asked Savant Spy to find some UK spas that can help prevent life getting on top of us
There are essentially three stages of mental illness: preventative (giving yourself lots of self-care and me-time), crisis (call a doctor) and recovery (often after a stressful event, illness or life stage).
Naturally, the middle stage is not when you want to be looking at a spa day – ideally, we should all take regular time out to relax before tipping over the edge. If you feel that you need some headspace, or that recent events have created a pile-up of physical and mental ailments, don’t even hesitate – book yourself time off right now. Luckily, in this age of increased mental health awareness, there are certain spas that are specifically equipped to support your journey to mental wellbeing.
Since the days when doctors would advise ‘taking the waters’ for your ‘nerves’, spas have offered a calming, nurturing oases in a crazy world. Nowadays, some spas have combined the wisdom of alternative or spiritual health with nerve-calming cures by inviting experts to offer life coaching, talking therapy or rebalancing techniques such as meditation, sound baths or colour and light therapy.
Around the world there are some fabulous spa retreats with medical and psychotherapeutic teams, that are basically luxury rehab for the posh. The Borgo Egnazia in Puglia, Italy, for example, offers laughter workshops in its serene spa. The Sha Wellness Clinic in Spain has anti-stress break, or you can head to the glorious Chiva-Som for biofeedback sessions that can make you more aware of your stress-triggers and negative thoughts.
If you want to escape the daily grind and focus on your mental wellbeing, here is our selection of UK-based spas and retreats that support mental as well as physical health.
As the link between gut-health and emotional wellbeing gains ground, International wellness spas tend to focus on nutrition and naturopathy. In the UK, we have the small but perfectly formed Homefield Grange which offers a range of de-stressing alternative treatments alongside yoga, Nordic Walking and plant-based or raw food in the wilds of Kettering.
More in depth than your average spa retreat, these escapes were set up and created by psychotherapist, mentor and life coach Fiona Arrigo. You can book into an individual or group retreat for emotional healing, detox and life changing therapeutic programmes run by teams of qualified therapists and coaches. Think rustic charm with fresh flowers, candles, wood fires and being looked after by Arrigo Angel housekeepers.
Sometimes a powerful, life-changing experience forcing a re-connection to your own resilience is required to heal. The Spa Spies have already tried horse-whispering in Wiltshire and Arizona – which unlike its gentle name implies requires facing a wild beast in a small ring. Resurface is built on similar principals. You can learn surfing, try trauma-sensitive yoga, psychoeducation, experiential group therapy balanced with mindfulness and yoga.
The Penninghame Process is all about personal growth and transformation, and is run by psychotherapists and life-coaches with visiting experts. Steps 1 and 2 of the course are six days and provide safe space for inner enquiry and re-wiring, or negative conditioning, against the awe-inspiring wild scenery of south-west Scotland.
This rugged eco spa resort offers plenty of mind-cleansing blue space with its clifftop Atlantic views – best enjoyed from your private hot-tub – as well as Ayurvedic treatments to balance your mind, body and soul. Ayurveda is a 5000-year-old Indian wellbeing philosophy that develops health plans embracing massage, mediation and diet in response to our individual body types. As well as individually tailored spa journeys, guests can enjoy yoga and meditation classes while gazing at crashing waves.
You don’t have to cross the M25 to find peace of mind. This new mindfulness hotel group is devoted to holistic wellbeing and has created a stylish oases of calm in a traditional London Georgian Townhouse. The flagship Inhabt Southwick in Paddington includes a peaceful library, an atrium for yoga and Pilates, a meditation pod, mindfulness walks through the city’s green spaces, in-room aromatherapy and a plant-based menu from their partners at Yeotown. The sister hotel, Queen’s Gardens is due to open a deluxe spa, Inhale, later this year.
On the brink of burnout? Trying to function on sugar and alcohol? If your mind, body and soul need an energy reboot as well as a life-changing plan, head to this eco-rural retreat run by a yoga and surfing teacher for a five-day rebalance. Ditch the diaries and clear your mind fog with daily coastal walks, meditation, beach running, yoga and qigong. Food is delicious, plant-based and healthy; each day ends with a muscle-melting massage and sauna.