Squeezing in downtime is the best way to keep your serotonin levels high. Whether it’s “omming” yourself to sleep, ocean swims at sunrise, tasting your way through tapas bars with your friends or inhaling the rainforest scents of a nature walk, regular Zen time is the only way to stay happy, healthy and sane.
But if you are feeling particularly wound up by the pressures of life, why not go the extra mile and book yourself into a health retreat? It will do you wonders and may even ease up those achy muscles, tension headaches and iron out that permanent frown between your brow.
So get your nose out of the Eat Pray Love books and give your soul the real-life nourishing it deserves.
Here are our favourite health retreats on the Sunshine Coast right now.
Living Valley Springs
Head to picturesque Kin Kin for a dose of a serious first-class mind, body, and soul transformation at Living Valley Springs. With 1-28 day packages, this luxury health hideaway caters to anyone from frazzled CEOs and weary executives to worn-out mums and dads. And this place is not mucking around when it comes to shaking out those noxious habits. There’s remedial and lymphatic drainage massages, colonic hydrotherapy treatments, clay wraps, facials, manicures/pedicures, naturopathic consultations, meal plans, personal trainers, organic gourmet feasts, detox shakes, juices, broths, lectures, cooking demonstrations, Russian steam baths, mountain climbs, access to a gym, swimming pool and nature walks through the 145 acres of lush bushland. So toss those frozen meals straight into the bin and pull yourself away from Netflix, it's time to find the new you.
Bellbunya Sustainable Community and Eco-Retreat Centre
If your inner greenie is calling and you are passionate about getting off the grid, and learning about permaculture and alternative economics—this is the hippie haven you have been searching for. Throw in a dose of personal and spiritual growth and you’ll be one happy, earth-loving, uber-conscious citizen. Bellbunya is a demonstration centre for sustainable living and a place where you can get a taste of this alternative lifestyle as a visitor or volunteer. There’s also yoga, spiritual development and cooking classes. With organic food gardens, wildlife corridors, a creek and lagoon, conference hall, restaurant and accommodation for up to 16 guests—all running on 100% renewable energy—this community will have you barefooted, wearing organic cotton tees and humming happy little tunes in your veggie patch for the rest of your life.
The Sunshine Coast’s holy grail of health, wellness and spiritual development, Chenrezig is a Buddhist retreat and study centre hidden in the hills of Eudlo. Since 1974 this iconic establishment has been transforming the minds and hearts of locals and visitors alike, and was among the first Tibetan Buddhist centres in the western world, and remains one of the largest. Home to a Tibetan teacher, nuns, monks, and a thriving community of students, volunteers and guests, this peace-promoting sanctuary provides a range of Buddhist and secular programs, meditation retreats, advanced study courses, art classes and workshops on Buddhist psychology and mental wellbeing. The centre also features accommodation, the Big Love café (serving incredible vegetarian fare), Garden of Enlightenment, library, meditation hall, art studio, memorial garden and beautiful grounds which are all open to the general public from Tuesday to Sunday.
Vipassana Centre Queensland
A meditation retreat on 60 acres of lush bushland in Noosa Hinterland sounds pretty magical. But, a Vipassana retreat is either for you or not for you. Why? Because the 10-day course that’s open to beginners, will not only see visitors learning the ins and outs of the Vipassana meditation technique by practising for 10 hours a day, but there’s also no communication allowed between guests. Yep, that means you have remain silent. For those who are interested, this course will stretch you in ways you didn’t know possible but the rewards you reap will be life-changing. If you’re still not convinced, there is also no charge on any of their courses, including meals and accommodation. Their entire program is funded by donations from others who have experienced the life-changing power of Vipassana, and want to help people achieve the same experience for free. How very enlightening.
Image credit: Tim Goedhart