Here’s Why You Should Make A Wellness Retreat Part Of Your New Year’s Resolutions



My new year usually involves goal templates, multiple bright-colored notebooks, and meticulous planning. I would map out my goals for the year and break them into health, career, parenting, and finance buckets. While this has been an effective process for me and helped me achieve goals I’m proud of, I realize two things (rest and flow) needed to be added. I’ve come to understand that rest and flow are critical to creating a life that feels free, adventurous, and well. 

I noticed I was dragging my feet about creating 2024 goals, and I believe it’s because I’m moving into a season of learning to follow my intuition and surrender to the unknown. I had a hunch I needed time to feel and hear my New Year goals versus intellectualizing them. So, when I took a wellness trip to Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve resort in Puerto Rico, I thought it was divine timing. It would give me the quiet I needed to reflect and connect with myself and then plan based on what I need and not what I think I should be doing.

The retreat was everything. It was so impactful that I’ll be going on a wellness retreat at the start of every year, even at a local hotel. Here are five elements of my experience that I will incorporate in my New Year’s wellness getaways.

Here’s Why You Should Make A Wellness Retreat Part Of Your New Year’s Resolutions

Exercise That Centers Mindfulness

Like many of us living in a capitalist society, I struggle to slow down. My inability to slow down even seeps into my exercise choices, which usually consist of cardio or HIIT workouts. Slowing down is so important to me now, especially at the start of the year, so I’m not sucked into the new year’s pressure, primarily online. 

I got to try Yoga, a more mindful exercise, at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve resort; I have been looking forward to this activity since I’ve been reading yoga books and have tried and failed at actually starting Yoga as an exercise over the past few months.

The resort arranged a class with a professional yoga instructor who was patient and knowledgeable. I must say, Yoga shocked me–it was more challenging than I expected, and I wanted to quit and go back to bed within the first ten minutes. I experienced the calm and presence that Yoga can bring when you focus more on aligning your body and breathing than the difficulty of ‘looking right.’ 

To help with mindfulness, I want to incorporate slower movement into my new year’s retreat come 2025. 

Bucket List Activity

I usually list out a bucket list activity I want to start or continue every new year. I would also like to incorporate that into my New Year’s retreat. Because let’s be honest–sometimes, the bucket list goals never leave the list.

For some time now, one of the items on my list has been stargazing. I even bought binoculars a few months ago during the Black Friday sale to get started. How coincidental that the resort offered stargazing at their pineapple garden. Of course, I had to participate, and it was everything I hoped it would be.

We could use a telescope to look at the stars. The most fascinating aspect of the activity was realizing how much storytelling is a part of star gazing.

I saw Jupiter that night, but I also got an insight into the star myths of ancient Greek mythology. Additionally, we looked at some zodiac signs. I plan to continue learning more about stars because not only do I like a good and scandalous story, but it also reminds me of how mysterious nature is. When typing away at a laptop all day or entrenched in endless achieving, it’s easy to forget there’s more to life. Nature is a beautiful reminder. 

In addition to stargazing, a cooking class at the Culinary Center, La Cocina Gourmet, was on the itinerary. Your girl does not enjoy cooking; I prefer doing the tasting. We made chocolate truffles, and what I appreciated most was how simple the recipes were because I hate when recipes have multiple steps. The host was also a great conversationalist, contributing to a memorable experience. 

I’ll try a new activity during my retreats because it’s a way to focus on living in the present—something I’d like to do throughout the year.

Here’s Why You Should Make A Wellness Retreat Part Of Your New Year’s Resolutions

Spa Treatment

Last year, I started going to the spa frequently but stopped because of my life. Luckily, I got to experience the spa at the resort called Spa Botánico. It was the epitome of serenity. The resort is housed in an area of trees, so you feel immersed in nature.

Getting into the treatment I got was a combination of modalities and techniques that include your traditional Swedish and deep tissue massages, warm stones, reflexology, and aromatherapy. I could select from three different oils–it was a hard choice because they all smelled lush. 

I was also impressed that the spa uses indigenous ingredients and handcrafts, including the oils used in their massages. I won’t say too much about the massage aside from the fact that I fell asleep. That probably tells you all that you need to know. 

High-Quality Food

Most of us have these health goals at the start of the year, usually including eating better. This year, being at a wellness retreat that served high-quality food set the tone for my eating habits. When I say high-quality, I don’t just mean expensive food. I mean organic food items that nourish your body. 

My most memorable meal was dinner at Ficus Tree by Spa Botánico. I’m probably being biased because how does it get better than dinner under a 100-year-old ficus tree? We had a six-course meal that comprised Atlantic halibut, mushroom risotto, and cast iron seared branzino, to mention a few. Other restaurants at the resort I ate at include Posi+Ivo (seated right next to the beach and Flor de Sal, easily my second favorite. The cuisine is inspired by the regions of Italy and the Mediterranean, and it’s also newly opened. Nobody asked, but I’ll tell you anyway that I am on a quest to find the best seafood pasta in the world. I’ve had way too much seafood pasta. I give Flor de Sal’s an 8/10. It was one of my freshest pasta dishes–nothing tasted pre-frozen, preserved, or dated. They also served the most supple bread paired with multiple types of olive oil from Italy. 

I want to make it part of a New Year’s ritual to source and eat the most organic foods to usher my body into the new year. 


I saved the best for last here, but an integral part of a wellness retreat for me moving forward will be stillness. Many wellness retreats are filled with activities, sometimes leaving you feeling depleted versus well-rested, even if all the activities fall under the wellness umbrella. What I enjoyed about this wellness retreat was that there was time for rest, and the aesthetics made it easy to relax. Waking up to crashing waves, having lunch on the beach’s edge, and being surrounded by nature made stillness much easier. Without mentioning the luxurious bathtub and bath salts in my room that seemed to be handcrafted by the ocean Gods themselves. I bubble-bathed and rested and thought about incorporating more rest into my daily life.

Let’s say I’ll be bubble bathing, star gazing, organic eating, and yoga-ing all 2024.


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