Every now and then, we all need the opportunity to truly recharge. Even if we pay attention to our mental wellbeing and make sure we conduct daily self-care, life can get a little overwhelming, and it’s important to schedule time out. A wellness vacation is the perfect way to achieve this, taking us away from the demands of daily life and into a world where our only priorities are rest and relaxation.
While the home of Disney World and alligators may not immediately spring to mind when we’re considering a chilled-out, wellness-centered trip (with famously health-conscious and spiritually-minded locations like Los Angeles perhaps feeling more appropriate), Florida is actually a great place to restore some energy and boost our health.
While there’s always the option of heading off on a full-blown retreat, this guide will focus more on adding healthy, uplifting elements to your holiday – giving you the chance to create your own schedule, and pick and choose whichever activities suit you best.
Choose your accommodation wisely
Florida is a hugely popular tourist destination, and as such it has a plethora of options available when it comes to accommodation. With everything from vast hotel complexes to luxurious Florida villas and even rustic treehouses to choose from, picking the quietest and most relaxing spot is the first port of call when planning a vacation with wellness in mind.
While you’ll be guided mainly by your personal preferences, it’s important to weigh up a variety of factors – such as a proximity to nature with ease of access to amenities, or attentive service versus the desire for uninterrupted privacy.
Take advantage of the great outdoors
Studies suggest that spending time in nature has an astonishing amount of benefits, such as reducing the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. Florida is the perfect place to alleviate your stress in the great outdoors, with expansive national parks featuring a variety of landscapes and diversity of wildlife that is completely unique to the state.
Another benefit (especially if you come from a cloudier part of the world) is that the weather here is predominantly sunny and warm, helping you to top up on vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency in Americans has soared in recent years – and this vital vitamin is needed to support the health of the brain, immune response and nervous system, as well as giving us healthy bones and teeth.
Some ideas to explore if you want to introduce more nature into your stay are:
- Kayaking the Everglades
- Swimming Florida’s beautiful natural springs
- Paddleboarding on calm waters in the Gulf of Mexico
- Camping for a night in a Florida state forest
- Hiking a section of the Florida Trail
Make time for doing nothing
In the USA, the average adult can expect to work 8.8 hours a day for five days a week, and according to a 2015 report by The Bureau of Labor Statistics, they will also spend over an hour every day doing household chores. Add to this the average there-and-back commute of 52 minutes, combined with 2.5 hours of at-home screen time, and there really isn’t much of the day left to read, doze, or simply be in the moment.
You can help to counteract the feeling of stress this brings – and the idea that you have to optimize every moment of your time – by allowing long stretches of your vacation where there are no demands on your time or attention (including your phone). Although you may be a little fidgety at first, you will give yourself the chance to assess what you actually want to be doing in that moment, rather than rushing to the next thing on your itinerary.
If this translates to an afternoon napping, going through a few yoga poses or reading by the pool, this is far from a waste of time; it’s the rest that you and your body need.
There’s a misconception (perhaps due to its theme parks) that Florida’s most prevalent foods are burgers, hot dogs and fries – but this is actually far from the truth. The Sunshine State is lucky enough to grow some truly amazing produce throughout the year, so eating fresh, whole and healthy food is far from a challenge. Get a quick handle on the seasonal fruits and veg available for when you visit to inform your choices (avocados, for example, are harvested from June through to January) and enjoy some beautifully nourishing meals.
While there’s always the option (should you choose self-catering) of cooking back at your vacation villa, there’s also been a proliferation of restaurants and juice bars serving nutritionally dense and health-conscious meals – so you can choose wellbeing-boosting foods whether you fancy eating in or out.
Wherever you stay in Florida – from beachfront hideaways to Orlando itself – there are always opportunities to make more time for your health and wellbeing, ensuring that you return home as a happier, healthier and more refreshed you than when you left.