The 12 Days of Wellness

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and for many, the most stressful. This Christmas, take a moment each day to de-stress and focus on your wellbeing during the busiest period of the year. Over the next 12 days, refresh yourself with Health Travel as we walk you through some of our favourite wellness activities.

Day 1: Forest Bathing- the Japanese Art of Shinrin Yoku

Forest bathing is the simple art of being calm and quiet amongst the trees. Observe the beauty and tranquillity of nature as you relax, breathing deeply to de-stress.

Take a walk into your nearest forest, wooded area, or even park. Turn off your devices and focus on taking deep, meaningful breaths, and slowing down to truly stay in the moment.

Forest Bathing with Health Travel:

Delve into the peace of forest bathing in Japan; its country of origin. Home to gently swaying bamboo forests and resplendent cherry blossom trees, it’s the perfect place to surrender to the tranquillity of nature and feel its healing powers wash over you. Stay at Aman Kyoto or Amanemu for mindful retreats by the bamboo forests.

luxury wellness holidays - 12 days of wellness by health travel - Aman Kyoto - Amanemu
Practice the art of forest bathing in Japan

Day 2: 5 Minute Meditation

When your days are busy and stressful it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, which is why taking just five minutes out to meditate is essential to help you feel calm and present.

Begin by sitting comfortably and taking deep, meaningful breaths in and out, becoming aware of the rhythm of your breath and movement of your body. Close your eyes and feel your body relax, pressing down into the floor. Pay attention to how your body feels, is it heavy? Or light? Enjoy having nothing else to do for a few minutes, allowing your mind to wander freely. Remain this way for a few minutes before slowly reconnecting and opening your eyes. Aim to carry this sense of calm with you throughout the rest of your day.

Meditation with Health Travel:

India’s deep connections to spiritual travelling make it the perfect meditation destination. Our specially curated Dhyana Meditation Retreat at Ananda in the Himalayas focuses on using meditation techniques to unify the mind and gain a sense of tranquillity. The personalised plan aims to balance your chakras and improve the flow of energy throughout your body. As well as stress relief, it can also improve immunity, blood pressure, and cardiovascular health.

luxury wellness holidays - 12 days of wellness by health travel - Ananda in the Himalayas
Explore temples on the banks of the sacred River Ganges with a meditation retreat

Day 3: The Power of a Good Night's Sleep

Good sleep is essential for wellness, helping to restore the body and refresh the mind after the stresses of the day. A good sleep schedule can help improve mood and reduce stress, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce your risk of serious health problems.

Tonight, aim for a good night’s sleep to set you up for the day ahead. Here are our top 4 tips to promote healthy sleep:

  • Create a calm and restful sleeping environment by making sure your room is cool and dark, with no distractions.

  • Wind down an hour before bed time by turning off the tv and an electronic devices, instead choosing to read or listen to relaxation sounds.

  • Making a to-do list for the following day can be a good way to organize your thoughts and stop you lying awake thinking about things.

  • Try calming scents such as lavender to ease your mind and help you drift off peacefully, either as a pillow mist, temple oil, or in a luxurious bath before bed.

Good Sleep with Health Travel:

Transform your sleeping habits with Six Senses Ibiza’s revolutionary sleep programme. It uses sleep tracking, meditation, relaxing treatments and consultations with expert sleep doctors to analyse and improve your sleeping patterns. The improved quality of sleep can leave you feeling well-rested, de-stressed and full of life and energy.

luxury wellness holidays - 12 days of wellness by health travel - Six Senses Ibiza
Transform your relationship with sleep with Six Senses Ibiza

Day 4: Create your own herbal bath

Herbal baths are a simple and relaxing way to soothe your body and wind down at the end of a long day. Tap into the different healing powers of plants to create a personalised remedy that suits your individual needs.

Lavender and chamomile are both wonderful for relaxation and to combat anxiety, while peppermint and lemon verbena are refreshing and rejuvenating. Oats and calendula can help alleviate skin conditions including dry skin and eczema.

How to run your herbal bath:

For a quick and easy herbal bath, fill a muslin bag with your chosen herbs, tie it to the faucet, and let the water run through it to fill the tub. For a stronger infusion, you can make a tea, by soaking them in a jar of water for several hours, straining out the herbs, and adding your infused water to the bath. Set the scene with some candles and gentle background music for a truly luxurious experience.

Herbal baths with Health Travel:

Gangtey Lodge in Bhutan, a luxurious hideaway overlooking the dramatic Gangtey Valley, invites you to unwind in one of its heavenly hot stone baths, filled with aromatic herbs and soothing petals to nourish and replenish the skin. Complete with mesmerizing views of the lush green valley below, it’s a truly decadent experience.

luxury wellness holidays - 12 days of wellness by health travel - Gangtey Lodge
Luxuriate in a soothing herbal bath at Gangtey Lodge

Day 5: 5 minute yoga practice for relaxation

Yoga is an excellent practice for strengthening the body and relaxing the mind, helping to improve flexibility and balance. Paired with breathing control and meditation, it can ease stress and anxiety, helping to focus and clear the mind. Try this five minute yoga flow to add some gentle movement to your day:

  1. Begin with cat-cow pose, opening the chest before rounding the back. Repeat several times, moving slowly and breathing deeply.

  2. Returning to table-top position, shift your hips to the left, then turn to look past your right shoulder, stretching the side body. Repeat on the opposite side then return to centre.

  3. Bring your big toes together and widen your knees. Drop your elbows to the floor and extend your forearms forward, lowering your chest towards the floor in Childs Pose, breathing slowly and deeply.

  4. Return to table top, curl your toes under, and push yourself up into downward facing dog. Focus on extending the spine long – you may need to bend your knees slightly.

  5. Hold the pose for several breaths, then walk your feet to the middle of the mat and move into a forward fold, folding your torso over your legs and touching the floor.

  6. Slowly roll up into mountain pose, and begin rotating your shoulders to release tension in the shoulders and neck. Bring your feet together, spread your fingers, and reach towards the sky, stretching the whole body out.

  7. Slowly release and interlace your fingers behind your back, draw your shoulder blades together and open the chest. Take a deep breath and release.

Yoga retreats with Health Travel:

To explore the profound connection between yoga and the mind, try Yoga & Mindfulness at Euphoria Retreat in Greece, transporting yourself to a world of calm and mental clarity. Daily yoga practise is complemented by breathing techniques, meditation and healing practises for all-round relaxation.