5 good reasons to host a retreat in winter

Cold dark evenings spent around the fire at a winter retreat create a very intimate atmosphere.

Let me guess, with winter fast approaching you might have started dreaming about your retreat plans for next summer. After all, we tend to link the idea of a retreat to lush environments, sunny weather, lots of time spent in the water or surrounded by nature.

But retreat options don’t need to be limited to this. The winter is a cold and dark period where we’d rather stay at home, close to the fire and our loved ones. I’ll admit I am much more outgoing and curious to immerse myself in new experiences during summer time.

I’ve been reflecting on this belief recently and I’ve come to realise that winter offers a lot more opportunities than I previously realised. It comes with its own challenges too. Depending on what you offer and the type of retreat you envision, winter might even be a perfect fit for your plans.

So, let’s have a look at five reasons why winter could be an ideal season to host your retreat.

Winter opportunity # 1: a perfect time for cosy, introspective content

Grey days or cold dark evenings in winter are great to cuddle up under a pile of blankets. It gets even better if there’s a fire and a nice hot drink involved too. Who doesn’t enjoy reading a book or journaling in these circumstances? The surroundings offer lots of opportunities for introspection and self-care.

And as it happens, many retreats put a big emphasis on these aspects too. For many retreat participants going on a retreat is a way to focus on themselves, to have qualitative me-time or perhaps they’re looking for a transformative experience that helps them grow as a person. Why not use the natural ‘winter-mode’ setting to facilitate your program?

Winter opportunity # 2: get that body moving to stay healthy

When it’s cold and dark blankets and movies are much more appealing than going for a run or any other workout. Result: when it’s spring we all need to start moving extra hard. We want to get back in shape, to increase our energy and decrease our gained ‘cuddle rolls’.

By offering a retreat in winter with a (partial) focus on moving the body, let’s say for example yoga, you are doing your participants a big favour. Nobody’s saying you need to go outside. You can have gentle indoor yoga practice at a nice room temperature.

My personal favourite would be to have a hot yoga session and then go rolling in the snow afterwards! I get excited, just by thinking about the idea!

Winter opportunity # 3: unique activities that don’t exist during the summer

This is an easy but often overlooked one. Summers are nice and hot, so there is a lot of sunbathing, swimming and other water activities going on. Then there are year-round activities like cycling and hiking. Regardless of the season, you can go on amazing trips and enjoy breath-taking views.

But what about all those cool activities that can only be done during these few months that are – if you’re lucky – covered in snow? Skiing, snowboarding, sledging and cross-country skiing are just a few of many options you have in winter. Incorporate these activities in your official retreat program. It will stand out and attract people’s curiosity to try all sorts of things they might have not done in a long time.

Winter opportunity # 4: wellness activities that require heat are heaven

What’s nicer than a hot bath or a sauna after a day – or any time for that matter – outside in the cold? Nothing beats it, to my opinion.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet as I’m quite confident that this applies to most people.

Winter opportunity # 5: content that easily works around weather conditions

Some activities or workshops that you might want to offer during your retreat require certain types of weather. But I’m sure that there will be an equal amount of services offered during a retreat that can happen indoors. In this case, the weather conditions don’t even need to be taken into account.

So have a look at the services you offer. You might find that your content can be organised in any season. Perhaps it’s just the side activities that need to be adapted a little bit to the weather conditions. For example, beach time in summer and snowshoeing in retreat planning inspirational advice

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  1. Lisa on December 2, 2018 at 3:00 am

    This is great info. We would potentially like to host retreats at some point if we can get tot hat point. This makes a lot of sense of why to have a retreat in winter! Thanks for sharing!

    • Yana on December 3, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      I’m happy that my post was both informative and inspirational for you! What type of service do you offer if I may ask? 🙂

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I’m Yana - the founder of Ecoscapes

I help coaches and online entrepreneurs worldwide with research and logistics to set up eco conscious retreats. These have a positive impact on both their clients and their destination.

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