Family Wellness Retreats

Fancy 'de-stressing' with the family in tow? Getting away and getting in touch with your kin may be the best way to reconnect with yourself as well, Emma Charlotte Bangay discovers.

When you think of ‘getting away from it all’ do you envisage a solo expedition? All gorgeous in theory, but what about when you return from detoxing and de-stressing and are dropped into the daily realities of school runs, overdue bills, work worries and school lunches?

The remedy

The remedy for this dose of reality served cold? Get away from it all - together. “Gone are the days of going on holidays to orphan the kids to the hotel kids club,” says Varney Magill, Senior Co-ordinator of Nuala Resort in Bali, which packages retreats specifically for families. “Adults need time out from the kids, but stress comes from within,” Varney highlights. “If you are stressed with your kids, you are stressed with life. Sometimes just getting away from the surroundings that cause the stress, can be the solution, allowing you to appreciate each other and have fun.”


Varney has seen a huge increase in demand for family-friendly, streamlined getaways that offer a healthy routine, meals, minimal technology and maximum meditation time further proving that its not the rug rats you need to get away from, but the rat race! “Parents are becoming aware of the benefits of spending time with the kids and engaging in activities as a unit. Kids grow up far too fast these days and it’s important that they want to spend time with their parents.”

Escape the everyday, every day

If you have the finances and time to get away from home, do so urges Varney. “It’s important to stop and take note of the more simple, natural aspects of life,” says Varney, noting this can often only be done away from the household cleaning and homework. If you are looking to book a family wellness retreat, ensure it has these things on offer:

Daily exercise: Even if it is light meditation, yoga or a decent walking path. “This will keep you all fit, active and give you a common activity to enjoy during your spare time,” Varney explains.

Don’t necessarily book a double room: “Balinese families remain a very close unit throughout their lives,” explains Varney. “It is very uncommon for each member of the family to have his/her own bedroom, so each member of the family learns to accommodate the other and share space. They learn to share from a very young age.” It’s lessons like this – within the landscape and culture of the retreat you choose – that can be adopted to benefit your own family.

The family who spas together: Enjoy little indulgences and treatments like massages and manicures together. Apart from being relaxing for the adults, it gives the kids a real sense of equilibrium and importance within the family. A just reward for any accomplishments they have made during the year or simply time to spend unconditional one-on-one time together.

Daily detoxes

If you can’t manage to get away physically – or once you return from a family retreat - there are some things you can remove from your home life, to bring you closer together.

Technology: Take a break from those gadgets and interact physically and verbally. Have a ‘no-phone’ rule at all meals and in all bedrooms. Only speak to each other when eye contact is involved and in the same room, rather than yelling from various burrows and bedrooms!

Eating habits: Removing highly processed foods can not only benefit your health, but mood levels as well. Take a break from salts and sugars as much as you can and begin to cook or prepare meals together – even going so far as each family member cooking their ‘specialty’ once a week.

Downtime: With technology off (at the power board) spend time together with a board game or read solo if the kids aren’t up for a family charades marathon!

Driving: Don’t be bombarded by bad music or droning shock-jock drawl whilst you drive. Reconnect in transit by playing educational or quiz audiobooks like those from National Geographic.

Sports: Take up a sport that the whole family can enjoy together like yoga, jogging, tennis or cycling.

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