How to make your home a health retreat

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Get all the benefits of a week-long stay at a health spa – without leaving home.

On paper, taking some time out at a health retreat sounds attractive. 

Not only is a one-week stay is relaxing, it can have some seriously beneficial knock-on effects for your physical and emotional wellbeing. 

But if cost or inconvenience means you can’t make it happen, don’t worry. Here’s how to create a similar effect at home.

Turn off your tech

A side effect of visiting a retreat that’s tucked away in a remote, rural location? Patchy internet and mobile-phone reception, which is good news for your health. 

Switch off for a while at home and not only will you have more time on your hands (many of us check our smartphones 85 times a day!), your risk of anxiety might even fall, particularly if you’re someone who likes to use a couple of devices at once. 

WATCH: This is what happens to your brain and body when you check your phone before bed

Let nature call

There’s another good reason most health retreats aren’t smack bang in the middle of the city – nature is good for us. 

Take a regular 90-minute walk surrounded by trees and you are less likely to feel a positive benefit to your mood. 

Not a leaf in sight at your place? Listen to a “nature” CD instead. Just hearing sounds like trickling water and birdsong is believed to lower stress levels .  

Think about sleep at dinnertime

And we don’t mean planning an early night (although that can’t hurt!). Instead, think carefully about what you put on your plate. 

Healthy meals are at the heart of any health-retreat experience and what you eat for dinner can have an impact on your sleep. 

The best meal for some good-quality shut-eye is one that’s high in fibre and protein but low in saturated fat. It may help you to fall asleep faster and spend more time in the restorative stage of deep, slow-wave sleep . 

Go organic

The jury is still out on whether eating organic food is significantly better for us nutritionally, but for a health-retreat-style detox, it’s a good idea for a short period of time. 

Stick to an organic diet for just seven days and the level of pesticides in your body decreases by almost 90 per cent, according to researchers from RMIT University .

READ MORE: Is organic food  better?

Meditate for 25 minutes

You might have hours to spend meditating at a retreat but if you’re short on time at home, all you need is 25 minutes a day. 

Meditate for that long over three consecutive days, and your stress levels could be significantly lower . 

Set up a space where you can have alone time, and decorate it with things you love – flowers, objects with meaning – to help create a lovely ambience. 

Not sure you can meditate without help? Download a meditation app, like Meditation Oasis’ Relax & Rest Guided Meditations or Smiling Mind.

WATCH: Meditation made easy

Get some scents

Even the air inside a health retreat smells relaxing. Replicate the effect at home by using some soothing scents. The top picks? Lavender and sweet orange oils; research suggests these aromas helps people feel calmer. 

Create a clean space

One thing you’ll notice about most health spas is how clean and pleasing on the eye they are. 

So while it might not sound like a traditional retreat-like activity, make time to clear up clutter around your home, especially in those areas you’re “retreating” to, such as your bedroom and perhaps the study.