By Louise Proddow
Hot flushes, anxiety, mood swings, weight-gain and libido loss are just a few of the mid-life menopause symptoms that can really take their toll on your health.
Over the last few years, I have experienced them all!! In the past, most of us would have struggled on, not even sharing how exhausted we feel in the menopause. Luckily that is changing and an increasing number of women are realising the benefits of taking time out to rebalance during the menopause.
When I turned 50 I used this as an excuse to invest in what I call my first menopause retreat. The many mental and physical negative aspects of the menopause had affected many aspects of my life. From rushing out of high powered meetings due to hot flushes to suffering tearful bouts of anxiety.
I had a life-changing experience when I turned 50 at Vana Retreat in Dehradun in the northern foothills of the Himalayas.
With the onset of the menopause, I was feeling exhausted, low energy and at a crossroads in life. Together with my sister-in-law, we went to this award-winning retreat featured in the Conde Nast Traveller Spa Guide 2016.
This was a lifelong dream come true, although I never imagined the menopause would be the inspiration behind the trip.
Vana is no regular destination spa, and its approach to wellness is bespoke. Each guest receives a personalised wellbeing programme at Vana Malsi Estate. When I arrived I received an in-depth consultation with one of the doctors, where you list your goals for your stay – de-stress, detox, weight loss or maybe some natural healing. They really explored every aspect of my wellbeing and took a holistic approach to my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.
The doctors devised an Ayurveda programme for me, which was very different from the one Sara had who I was with. My programme really focused on stimulating my body and rebalancing my hormones to re-establish equilibrium in my mind and body.
Our room felt like it was in the forest and is set in the 21-acre estate and even had a sign up to watch out for monkeys. My days started with a morning yoga or a hike one morning, followed by 2 hours of my treatments. I had a two-person Ayurvedic, massage every day and a personalised diet programme with potions. Quiet reflection time is an important part of the healing process at Vana.
They also hosted a nutritional cuisine lesson one day, which was so informative for a Waitrose addict like me. I also embraced the full wellness experience with some mediation sessions with the local Buddhist monks.
The one hike in the foothills of the Himalayas was totally unspoilt and created some mind-blowing images and memories of the local community.
Life at Vana
You don’t need to worry about clothes as organic cotton pyjamas are provided to wear every day. Morning yoga outside is simple and an integrated part of the stay which we did once or twice a day.
Vana really is a journey and transformational experience, your itinerary will be based purely on your wellness goals. Your diet/cuisine and treatments will be mindfully curated around that. The minimum stay is 7 days, I went for 10 days and would be happy to stay for longer.
You will feel a true sense of privacy and personal space everywhere, it’s the perfect digital detox with no devices allowed in shared spaces and no photography. Alcohol is limited, we never even wanted any during our stay.
Everyone that enters Vana leaves the outside world behind, I loved that everyone wore the robes, it gives a great sense of freedom and equality.
On arrival, we had a consultation with the doctor and received a personalised programme, a really holistic way of addressing health issues.
My experience left me feeling felt lighter in mind and body. Three years later, people down my gym still mention how amazing I looked on my return, which is a bit surprising. I dream of feeling as balanced as I did after the retreat.
For me the retreat really eased the drama of my menopause journey, clearing my mind and body and giving me some balance back. Midlife and the menopause can be challenging and investing in yourself really did helps, a strategy I now embrace – I think it makes me a better person to be with inside and out.
It is an investment but one of the best experiences of my life and I will be going back, I’m saving up for 2018.
Click here more information on Vana wellness retreat.