You could say we’ve all been on a creative retreat recently.
Let’s not beat around the bush, it’s been a hard couple of years. I mean we are living through a global pandemic after all. Wherever you are in the world your life was touched in one way or another by the virus. In no way do I want to make light of the situation, as many people have lost loved ones through these hard times, however, there was a positive side effect that came from lockdowns and travel restrictions: time for self-exploration.
As our normal lives came to a screeching halt, we were forced to slow down. For some this came as a welcomed change, for others it wasn’t so easy. Confronted with our mortality, many people turned inward to explore their inner being. As a result, we saw a multitude of creative projects come out of the depths of the solitude we experienced.
Thinking about it, it’s no surprise that creativity was one of the main outcomes, artists have been seeking solitude to connect to themselves and their inner artists for centuries. From Frida Khalo to Vincent van Gogh, some of the most famous works came from long bouts of isolation.
Now that travel restrictions have eased and lockdowns seem to be a thing of the past (hopefully), there are still ways that you can continue to harness the self-exploration that comes through slowing down, and unleashing your inner creativity.
Creative wellness retreats serve as a mini escape from the realities of every day allowing you to further explore your inner being while discovering alternative mediums for expression. I’ve rounded up some of the most unique retreats and experiences from around the world.
Stedsans - Halland, Sweden
Stedsans is the wild playground of two Danish Chefs from Copenhagen, Mette Helbæk and Flemming Schiøtt Hansen. You’ll explore natural food, wellness, and lifestyle. Stedsans is a Danish word meaning a sense of place or direction, and that’s exactly what the duo wants you to feel during, and after your stay.
The activities include cooking classes, foraging trips, body therapy sessions, yoga, Wim Hof method classes, music concerts, and forest bathing, not to mention a 5-course meal served in the forest. The goal of the retreat is to connect with your inner nature by becoming more in tune to the natural world’s rhythms. Mette and Flemming hope that it can serve as a launching pad of sorts. By inspiring you to start implementing the things learned on the retreat back in your day-to-day lifestyle.
Birch Community - Cheshunt, England
Birch community is not a typical retreat, while it’s technically a hotel, it’s more of a build-your-own retreat hotel. Set in Cheshunt on 55 acres of bountiful nature to explore, with creative workshops that range from pottery to cooking, as well as a wellness spa with free classes to join, it’s perfect for a less structured getaway. It was founded to create a space to take the time and freedom to pause, think, create and savor, in hopes that its guests will feel energized and inspired with new ideas and stories to tell upon leaving.
Birch Community can serve as a weekend retreat (take advantage of their weekender package, where if you book Friday and Saturday nights you can stay Sunday night for free), or with their community membership, this can be a regular city escape if you’re lucky enough to live nearby. (it’s 1 hour north of London).
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It’s no surprise that after a long period of self-reflection, changes are being made. We see that in the world today with what’s being called the “great resignation” people are making changes, realigning themselves to be more in-tune with their values. Re-Greece is a group retreat that focuses on harnessing this shift, particularly within the creative sphere.
You’ll find yourself in a group of 12 people who identify as thinkers and doers. The retreat is split into 4 sections, all with different locations throughout Greece: reflect, refuel, recalibrate, and reconstruct. Over the week-long journey of exploration, rest and replenishment you’ll be challenged with provocative questions that are there to help you redefine your next chapter.
Artful Retreats - Crete, Greece
At a stone-made luxury villa surrounded by olive groves, you’ll be able to reset and discover your inner creativity. Set on the Bleverde estate, surrounded by olive groves with picturesque views in every direction, you can join one of two of the Artful Retreats: Reset or Discovery.
The retreats are made with a strong focus on art therapy. The Reset retreat is filled with self-reflection, and activities to find new perspectives by drawing inspiration from local artists and landscapes. Discovery, like its name suggests, is about discovering how art therapy tools can free expression from judgment and how the uniqueness of own creativity can lead to self-discovery.
Yoga and Art Retreat - Hydra, Greece
If you’re looking for something that’s a little more direct in the art space, with loads of independent time. The Yoga and art retreat set on the beautiful Greek island of Hydra is perfect. The week-long retreat has daily morning yoga classes followed by sketching and water coloring lessons.
After that, you’re free to embrace the island life. You can take your sketchbook around and practice what you’ve learned or simply take in the incredible views from the Old Captain’s House, where the retreat is located.
Human Design Retreat, Paradise, Brazil
If you’re not familiar with human design, it’s a new-aged system that brings together principles of The I Ching, astrology, Kabbalah, Hindu-Brahmin chakra system, and quantum physic in order to reveal your genetic design. Based on your birth chart, It gives insights into your psychology with strategies and techniques for making decisions that align with your design, which can lead to a life of more ease and fulfillment.
Set in an Eco-villa that is surrounded by lush nature, think of pristine waterfalls and densely forested trekking trails. The four-day retreat gives a practice starting point to learning about your human design. You will get a full analysis of your chart, as well as tips on how to integrate the practical keys of human design into your daily life.