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How to avoid the ‘boomerang effect’ after a retreat

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Boomeranging back to old habits after returning from a retreat where your day was divided between spa treatments, wellness activities and mindful meals can easily happen – and often does. We asked Dervla Louli Musgrave, founder of Compare Retreats, for her top tips on how to ensure you don’t end up back at square one…

Commit to classes

If one of your goals for going on a retreat is to improve your fitness and strength levels then finding fun fitness classes near you back home is a must. Sign up and pay for a few classes before your wellness break and schedule some in advance for when you return to ensure you make them a priority. Knowing that you will continue your wellness journey when you get home will help you resist using the retreat as a fast fix and falling back into old habits.

Clean out your cupboards

When you’re on a retreat it’s easy to steer clear of refined sugar, processed food, alcohol and other foods that may cause sensitivity like gluten and dairy products. Try to eliminate these foods from the house for the week before and after you come home – it will definitely be easier to do this if you live solo or with health-conscious friends/family (my husband is a fitness nut so this works for me!).

Put down the coffee

I find that caffeine is the hardest habit during and post- retreat to kick but green tea can do the trick and prevents the coffee-withdrawal symptoms that often happen on retreats, which include headaches and in some cases even nausea. I swap out my ice-black with matcha, green tea or Barry’s tea before I retreat and stick to them for as long as I can once I come home. Keeping things interesting by trying different tea by various brands really helps and PUKKA do some great blends if you love cinnamon, ginger and stronger fruity flavours that give a real kick. You’ll forget about that jitter-inducing Americano in no time.

Photo: Dervla Louli Musgrave

Buy some books

Educating yourself and understanding why certain foods and ingredients are bad for you, learning about the benefits of eliminating toxins, and understanding why it’s important to build strength and stay fit are excellent ways to motivate you to continue your healing journey once you get home from a retreat. The First Twenty Minutes, The China Study, I Quit Sugar and You Can Heal Your Life (energy healing skeptics leave the latter off your list) are some game-changing books that made me realise the all-important WHY behind the decisions I made to go on retreats and to permanently adopt healthy habits.

Resist the retox

As tempting as it is, filling your calendar with social commitments for when you return home from a retreat is a sure-fire way to retox right after you’ve detoxed. Resist the urge to schedule in cocktails and dinner and instead use this time to explore healthy restaurants and cafes for breakfast or lunch. When my friends suggest getting together I often use the opportunity to suggest a fun workout, new plant-based or clean-eating spot that I’ve been dying to try or just catching up with them over coffee instead of a boozy meal.

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