Having studied biology and always having been interested in how the body works, Rebecca Tucker spent 10 years teaching before working with Quintessentially and ultimately starting White Calm Retreats 18 months ago. The goal was to provide personalised retreats that hone in on wellbeing in an accessible and transferable way, adhering to those of us who are interested in our wellbeing but also have busy lives… i.e most of us.
“I came out of the doctor’s one day with excellent results for lots of tests, but they said ‘you need to do a bit of yoga, a bit of this, a bit of that’, but there was no one to coordinate it all, and that’s where the idea started,” she says.
“The goal is to adhere to those of us who are interested in our wellbeing but also have busy lives… i.e most of us.”
The result is a series of targeted retreats that are, in particular, designed for women from their mid thirties onwards, and focusing on specific areas such as food and diet, mindfulness and meditation, pre and postnatal support and the menopause. There is a particular emphasis on women’s wellness: “women coming out of their thirties and into their forties are going through body changing and emotion changing phases and they need support from a physical and emotional point of view. That includes what foods they eat, what exercise they do and how to handle it all. People are trying to juggle about 10 balls at a time at the moment – they have children, they have ageing parents, they have jobs and their wellbeing is one area we can focus on to help them manage everything else.”
The emphasis on the personal, and crucially, the practical, in Rebecca’s retreats stems from what she sees as a seismic shift in the way we look at our health and wellbeing.
“We’re getting to a space where we can see being healthy as something synonymous with enjoying ourselves”
From social media that makes wellbeing ‘cool’ – although that is a discussion all by itself – to a changing corporate culture, we no longer separate health from the rest of our lives in the way that we used to. Indeed we’re getting to a space where we can see being healthy as something synonymous with enjoying ourselves and feeling good, rather than a space associated with deprivation.
Working with industry leaders from psychologists to dieticians, White Calm Retreats bring enjoyability, wellbeing and education all into one space without compromising on luxury. Experts include the likes of clinical psychologist Denise Ratcliffe who specialises in working with people who want to develop a healthier relationship with their eating, their weight and their bodies, dietician Charlotte Harper who has experience working with the nutritional needs of a range of people with additional experience and interest in sports nutrition and eating disorders, and Sophie Clyde who is an expert in yoga nidra, restorative yoga, antenatal and postnatal yoga and yoga for trauma and stress.
“I would say 80% of people who come to us, come with some sort of stress and the help we provide is very practical. The emphasis is the ability to take something home and we want to make a big difference to peoples’ lives. We help people with how to manage emotional eating for example, including cravings, hydration including the problem of alcohol – the normalising of alcohol, mindful eating rather than just snacking, emotional health and self care, and compassion for yourself because it all impacts how you’re eating.”
Or do we just talk about it more? “People are more open about anxiety and self esteem,” says Rebecca. “In the past to say you were depressed was a big no no, but now we’re far more aware and with the two Princes bringing up their traumas for example, it allows people to say ‘I have that problem, I am depressed, I can’t function properly’. We’re slowly teaching people how to deal with these things because if we don’t, then your approach to life is going to be in a very anxious state.”
Personalised wellness is about having experts on hand who work with you directly. Targeting retreats to deal with concerns that you have in particular rather than having a prescriptive model about what you should eat, how you should lose weight and so forth.
This is about finding a supportive way of life that looks at the interconnecting facets of health and wellbeing from food to emotions. It’s not about drinking green smoothies, rebranding your Instagram account as a yoga bunny, or about self punishment and a quest for perfection, it’s about taking care of yourself and understanding the complexities of the human mind and body.
For Rebecca, the key is mindfulness, but in the true sense rather than the popularised sense: “I think it’s very important on every retreat to have that mindful element in it because if you can control your mind to a degree then you can start to be more aware of what you’re doing, eating or thinking, and that’s a very empowered place to be.”
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.