New Year’s resolutions not working? The key to a healthy lifestyle reset may be to set aside time to focus on yourself at a weekend wellness retreat. If you’re not sure what’s available or think a getaway like this is too expensive to consider, Optimism TravelingMom Cathy Bennett Kopf gets the facts from wellness expert Anne Dimon during a break in the action at the New York Times Travel Show.

NeuroSpa display at the NY Times Travel Show in the Wellness Pavilion offering weekend wellness retreats

Will 5 minutes in a NeuroSpa make me 10 years younger and 20 pounds lighter? Photo: Cathy Bennett Kopf/Optimism TravelingMom

Is a Weekend Wellness Retreat Enough?

In January, I resolve to go to the gym, cut sugar from my diet and sleep more. By February, I’ve gained 3 pounds and am still eating Christmas candy. As for sleep? I’ll confess. I’m only getting 4 1/2 hours a night, but I am totally caught up on “The Crown” and “This is Us.”

I blame my wellness failures on life.

When you’re juggling the demands of family and work, it seems nearly impossible to carve out the time needed to concentrate on learning how to reset your lifestyle. And there’s evidence to back me up. The New York Times published this little nugget: “‘Research shows that about 80 percent of people who make resolutions on Jan. 1 fall off the wagon by Valentine’s Day,’ according to Marti Hope Gonzales, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota.”


Is there a solution?

I’m convinced that if I commit to a weekend wellness retreat, I’d have dedicated time to focus on me so I could reset my lifestyle, adopt a healthier regimen and bring it home with me, along with a suitcase full of dirty workout clothes.

But I’m still trying to pay off the holiday credit card bill. Weekend wellness retreats are expensive.

Or are they?

Anne Dimon at the NY Times Travel Show talking about the benefits of weekend wellness retreats as the start of a lifestyle reset.

Anne Dimon, founder of and an authority on travel for the mind, body and soul. Photo: Cathy Bennett Kopf/Optimism TravelingMom

Wellness travel journalist, editor and consultant, Anne Dimon is the founder of, the online travel magazine and resource for the wellness minded, launched in 2004. I caught up with Anne at the New York Times Travel Show to float my theory and to get her insight about current wellness travel options.

When You Want a Lifestyle Reset

TravelingMom: When I hear the term wellness retreat, I picture a spa – cushy robes, facials, saunas and big bucks. There’s more to it than that, right?

Anne Dimon: Right on! There was a time when “wellness travel” was synonymous with spas but times have changed. Now, the cornerstones of “wellness travel” are the availability of healthy food choices, fitness activities and relaxation options such as yoga or meditation.

Weekend Wellness Retreats for Busy Moms

TravelingMom: I’m busy. You’re busy. We’re all busy. Stealing away for a weekend is possible but is it practical to expect to learn new, healthy habits in such a short amount of time?

Thermal spa in Tuscany, a luxurious wellness retreat and a way to reset your lifestyle.

I feel better just looking at this photo of the Alder Thermae in Tuscany. Photo credit: Anne Dimon/

Anne Dimon: Sure. If one is focused and goal oriented, anything is possible. But also keep in mind the intention or goal of a weekend wellness retreat might simply be the opportunity to unplug. To get away from the day-to-day stress and noise, to walk in nature, take time out for self or engage in a two-day cleanse. Five to seven days or longer would be better, of course, but when all you have is the weekend, it’s better then no wellness retreat at all.

It’s All About the Food

TravelingMom: The formula for a healthy lifestyle starts with food. But for me, it’s the first thing that goes awry when life gets hectic. It’s “Goodbye, Kale. Hello, Big Mac.” Are there destinations that focus on meal prep for busy families?

Spa cuisine menu offered at a weekend wellness retreat at the Breakers Palm Beach.

Ordering spa cuisine at The Breakers Resort Spa in Palm Beach. Photo: Luxe Recess/Robin Hutson/Mindful TravelingMom

Anne Dimon: Healthy cooking classes and demos are becoming increasing popular at hotels and resorts, and some of these classes can be as much fun for the kids as they are for adults. At Generations Resorts, for instance, there’s a program called Little Eko Chefs where children can learn to prepare simple, family-friendly recipes.

The First Step is the Hardest

TravelingMom: And then there’s exercise. Yoga. Spinning. Hiking. I’d love to pick one, learn to do it the right way, to avoid injury, and be excited to continue when I returned home. Have you found destinations that focus on this type of training?

Hikers on trail in canyon, an activity offered at wellness retreats, one way to reset your lifestyle.

Hiking in the Havasupai Canyon. Photo credit: Anne Dimon /

Anne Dimon: Fitness activities are such a big part of wellness living AND wellness travel and there is a lot of innovation out there. In keeping with the hotel/resort trend to “upscale the gym,” more resorts are utilizing nature as a playground for wellness. For instance, Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, TX, recently introduced a new series of year-round water and land-based activities including stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and even paddle and hike combos.

Yoga on a paddleboard at a weekend wellness retreat and the start to a lifestyle reset.

Yoga. On a paddleboard. Yikes! Dominican Republic, Luxury Bahia Principe Don Pablo Collection Cayo Levantado. Photo: Dana McKenney Zucker/Luxe TravelingMom

The Bottom Line

TravelingMom: A wellness getaway like this would be a real luxury; most moms consider taking a bubble bath indulgent. If we can afford to take the time, do we have to commit big bucks too?

Anne Dimon: Not necessarily. There are SO many more options today available for all interests and for every budget. I recently recommended a few for U.S. News. One of the places I mentioned – Le Monastere des Augustines – will be the site of a TravelingMom retreat in the fall. Another that I’d recommend is New Life Hiking Spa in Vermont – especially if “weight loss” is the goal.

Talking to Anne is inspiring. But watching her in action is another. She’s trim, dynamic and passionate about her work. She totally convinced me to take a look at weekend wellness retreats, especially those close to home. One within driving distance would definitely make it more affordable.

Now, if I can only find a special sauce to make kale taste less like…not kale

Want a lifestyle reset but can't set aside the time to figure it all out? A weekend wellness retreat might help you get off on the right foot.