What I Learned from Taking a Solo Wellness Trip
Although I love most aspects of my life, a few months ago, I finally reached a point where I needed to step away from my infinite loop of work-coffee-email-workout, rinse and repeat. I fell into a monotonous pattern and knew I needed to do something before I hit burnout and exhaustion from stress. I finally listened to the inner voice inside my head that said, “Treat yo’ self, girl — go on a retreat and reset your mind before it’s too late.” So that’s exactly what I did.
The hardest part about planning the trip was taking the leap and actually scheduling it. It never felt like the right time to request vacation and put a hold on my never-ending to-do list. I finally took the plunge and spontaneously booked a solo wellness retreat to Switzerland to find my reset button. By the end of my trip, I felt a revived sense of curiosity in my surroundings and a new wave of productivity and focus in my work and home life. Scroll on for what I learned on my solo adventure and tips on how I unplugged for a week in the Alps.
1. Pick a destination that calls to you. The first step to finding your ideal getaway is asking yourself what you want from your time away. Is it to experience a new culture or detox from your tech-addicted lifestyle? Are you looking for some self-care to feed your mind, body, and soul? I knew I needed a combination of all of the above, so I chose a place that checked off all the boxes and a few more. I picked Zurich to explore a new city and then take a train through the Swiss countryside to Davos, the highest city in Europe. Davos has been a wellness destination for decades due to the health benefits of its high-altitude climate and top-notch ski resorts. Après ski: Yes, please!
2. Do your research on where to stay based on what they offer. Find accommodations that are in line with your personal interests. I stayed at the brand new Hard Rock Hotel Davos because they have unique offerings like the new yoga Rock Om program & music-infused Rock Spa. Yoga is a huge part of my life, and I wanted to make sure it was accessible on my retreat. I didn’t even have to bring a mat; the hotel provides in-room yoga classes on the TV and Manduka yoga gear. Of course, being the Hard Rock, they also have amazing original tracks from DJ Drez to guide your vinyasa practice. If you’re a music fanatic like me, you can also enjoy their Sound of Your Stay program, which takes in-room listening up a notch and even offers you the chance to listen to old school vinyl records or test your skills on a real Fender guitar. Quite the amenity trifecta!
The location of where you stay within the city is key to maximizing your activities. I was able to do yoga, hike up the Swiss Alps, hear live music, take a cooking class, and eat and drink to my heart’s content all within steps of my hotel. At the Hard Rock, they invite you to live by their motto during your stay: “Play hard. Relax harder. Repeat,” which I graciously accepted. (Photos via Hard Rock Davos)
3. Get comfortable with riding solo. People asked me if I was worried about being lonely or scared of traveling alone, but it was actually one of the biggest draws to embarking on this journey. I ended up finding a stronger, more confident side of myself because of how self-sufficient I needed to be. I felt empowered after I was able to face my fears of eating out alone and figuring out directions all by myself.
My solo wellness retreat turned out to be an addictive travel experience with a mix of cultural immersion, adventurous activities, and therapeutic treatments that nourished me from the inside out. If you have never traveled alone, I would highly suggest trying it out in your home city before heading out on a bigger adventure. Take yourself on a solo date, go see a movie, or go out to dinner and see how you feel. Solo travel forces you to step out of your comfort zone and view the world on your own terms. If you need some inspiration, check out this Riding Solo Guide.
4. Use the Marie Kondo method when packing. I found that traveling alone means you need to make sure all of your belongings are packed in a manageable and organized way, which is another way of saying pack smart. You have to be reasonable about what travel necessities will truly bring you joy on your trip and not weigh you down. Outside of my wardrobe, my top four must-haves were:
- Travel Charger: Go ahead and load up your electronic of choice with downloaded podcasts, books on tape, and music to listen to throughout your travels. This charger is small but packs a punch and will keep you going for days on end.
- Medterra CBD Sleep Tablets: Bye bye, jetlag. I don’t know about you, but sleeping on a plane just doesn’t come easy for me, and a 12-hour flight takes a toll on my body. These tablets will provide a good night sleep and set you up for a successful first day of exploring.
- Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels: I swear by these eye pads. In just 10 minutes, you’ll feel and see an instant difference in your inevitable under-eye travel situation. Throw these on right before you land so you look and feel fresh stepping off the plane.
- One Line A Day: Journaling can be a daunting task; instead, bring this small memory book to write down significant events or feelings of each day for self-reflection. Use this to check in with yourself to make sure you’re getting everything you had hoped from your trip and make adjustments as necessary.
5. Silence notifications and release your expectations. Whether it was Gmail, Slack, texts, WhatsApp, or news alerts, even though I said I wouldn’t, when notifications popped up on my phone, I checked them out of habit. I learned that alone time (sans phone) is healthy and allows you to relax when you’re away from other people’s needs and expectations. If you need to check in back home, schedule designated time each day and let people know when you will be checking email or available for a call, and plan on responding only then.
Take photos but make sure to put away your phone and enjoy the experience. Cliché as it sounds, live in the moment you’re currently living in. I even put “Be Present” on my phone lock screen to remind myself when I picked it up.
6. Splurge on one thing and treat yourself. Schedule a massage, book a fancy dinner, take a full-day tour, or buy tickets to a show. Even if you’re working with a small budget, find one thing that you want to splurge on. Make it something you’ll really enjoy and remember as a special experience. I chose to embark on a day full of melting at the Rock Spa. From their music-centric spa menu offerings to their hydrotherapy pools, I had four hours of complete bliss. I went back and forth from a color changing sauna to an ice shower to an essential oil steam room. I can honestly say that day, I did live my very best life. (Photo via Hard Rock Davos)
7. Put yourself out there and try new things. Embrace the local community, immerse yourself in their culture, and try something new. Traveling solo gives you the freedom to experiment and truly find your likes and dislikes without having to worry about anyone else. I made friends with the lovely staff of the Hard Rock and got their top recommendations of things to try. Their concierge helped me book a Swiss Chocolate making class where I got to try different chocolates and even mix my own. It sparked a new interest in me to take up cooking and baking classes!
When you put yourself in new situations, you open yourself up to meeting new people and learning new things about yourself. You’ll meet other boss babes as deeply interested in self-growth as you! It’s time for you to find your own version of your wellness retreat. Take a break from the day-to-day grind and unplug. Listen to your body and replenish your mind with some downtime. Whether you follow my lead and travel to Davos for a week filled with high altitude hiking, yoga, and spa treatments galore, or find your own dreamy solo trip, it’s needed and you deserve it. Get it, girl!
Tag us in your next solo vacation on Instagram @BritandCo.
(Photos via the author, unless otherwise noted)
Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.