By Katherine Chain, content and marketing manager at Balance Holidays

Have you ever found yourself struggling with work-related stress? Some people often feel the effects too much work can have on them, particularly if you are at the early stages of building up a company. While we all have an annual leave allowance some of us may struggle to completely switch off from work during this time.

A holiday retreat can be the perfect solution, whether referring to a location focused on meditation, yoga or simply a resort, which provides a tranquil setting for rejuvenation. A study published by Psychology Today on the after-effects of a retreat on guests suggests the benefits are numerous. Let us briefly examine how to “unplug” from our work lives, with tips you can use for your next retreat.

Choosing the location

Before looking at ways to extricate ourselves from the work mindset while taking a break, it is important to mention that a substantial amount of research should be completed. Every wellness retreat offers its own set of benefits, and these will naturally differ from location to location. Some promote organic, healthy eating while others centre around meditative practices or holistic treatments. Appreciating which is the most relevant is vital to reap the benefits of what is in store.

Leave stress at the door

The National Centre for Biotechnology Information has found that wellbeing holidays offer the ability to break the stress cycle and even to help restore strained relationships. Still, we have to possess an open mind in order to access these advantages. This can be difficult when we are still “connected” to our work lives. Checking emails, sending messages to colleagues or mulling over an upcoming project should be avoided at all costs.

On the contrary, try to live in the moment and absorb all that the wellbeing retreat has to offer. Some of these environments are “phone-free” zones specifically to encourage you to put your phone aside and become more present. Many retreats will guide you through the practice of mindfulness; this involves bringing yourself firmly into the present by focusing on breathing and increasing the awareness of your surroundings. By allowing themselves to only be in the present and not think about the past or the future, those who practiced mindfulness on one of our retreats felt a sense of calm and relaxation.

Avoid temptation

As an extension to our previous point, a great tip is to completely rid yourself of any temptation to work in the first place. Leave your laptop at home and turn your work phone off. Your holiday time is for you to relax and appreciate yourself and loved ones.

Break the cycle

A study performed by the medical-based charity Nuffield Health, found that retreat holidays can strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing heart disease. However, these advantages are only accessible if we are able to break our traditional routines. The same study showed these after-effects could last for up to months after the occupants had returned home.

Avoid projection during healing breaks

A study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has shown that thinking too much about work can have a negative impact on our cognitive functions. The study suggests that over time, this mindset develops into a habit. While on a wellbeing retreat, your mindfulness should involve the “here and now” as opposed to any future responsibilities. This will provide your mind with the emotional “breathing room” required to begin to unwind. Incidentally, you could use any mindfulness practices you have learned upon your return home.