The concept of a short break, or a retreat from routine, has been around for centuries. It’s an integral part of many Religious and spiritual traditions. Now the notion of a short break is more of a time out from our busy lives. We all need a break from routine, just to let go of the stress of daily life. The problem is, we’re too busy. Expedia’s Vacation Deprivation Survey showed Aussies work harder than ever. We regularly postpone our holidays and don’t take leave.

Running weekend yoga retreats for the past 3½ years, I’ve seen people turn up on Friday night stressed, frazzled and exhausted. They leave two days later refreshed, relaxed, happier – they look and feel like someone new. I know short breaks can have a really profound effect on people. For a few ideas on where to go on a short break, head to Expedia’s Short Breaks.

Here are my tips on how to get the most ‘Zen’ out of your next short break:

  1. Think about what you want. Do you want pampering, relaxation, adventure, romance, the opportunity to learn something new, a kickstart or to cleanse? Once you’ve sorted that out, ask yourself who you’d like to be with you or if you’d rather be alone. If you decide to take a partner, make sure they have the same intention for the break as you. If you’re going on your own, are you happy to go with the flow and find a chill zone or will you need planned activities?
  2. Be one with nature. Traditional retreats are conducted in remote, rural or coastal locations and there’s a reason for it. We live such busy, hectic lives that being in nature helps us disconnect from everything we need to get away from. Nature also feeds our soul like nothing else can.
  3. Unplug – literally. Leave your gadgets at home. If you absolutely have to bring your mobile, switch it off. To really reconnect, with yourself or your companion, you need to leave the world – and everyone else in it – behind. It’s the biggest sanity break you can get. That means no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram and no email! Try checking into The Golden Door Health Retreat on a hill in the Hunter Valley bush, where there’s a no phone, laptop, alcohol, caffeine or sugar policy if you want to go totally offline.
  4. Spend some time on your own. Even if you’re travelling with other people, try to find time where you can be alone – in whatever form that means for you. It might be listening to music, going for a walk or sitting down to meditate. Think about the feelings you want to take home in your heart.
  5. Prioritise your passion. As soon as you arrive, the very first thing you should do is something you love and helps you chill out. I usually head straight for the day spa – if that’s your thing too, remember to make a booking before you arrive.
  6. Get up early and see the sun rise. No matter how tired you think you are, seeing the sun rise is awesome. Go for a run or walk along the beach, do a few stretches, have a yummy breakfast and just enjoy the day.