Re-energize with a Winter Wellness Weekend

Cold, short days got you down? Try one of these quick trips designed to help you relax and restore.

by NEA Member Benefits


The post-holiday slump is inevitable, and the winter’s cold, short days certainly don’t help. When you need a pick-me-up, a quick excursion that gets the blood and brain cells flowing can make you feel better.

These healthy tricks for beating the blues can be applied wherever you live. But if you’re looking for a full-on getaway, we’ve found a handful of locations across the country that can help you achieve your winter wellness goals:

Enjoy the sun while it’s up

“Getting outside in any capacity is a great way beat the winter doldrums and recharge,” says Alex Quick, activities manager for Dancing Bear Lodge, a 36-acre estate in Townsend, Tenn., just minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “Even short hikes or rides are valuable ways to soak up some sunshine and get the endorphins pumping.”

Visitors to this mountain lodge can go for a hike along the more than 900 miles of trails, horseback ride, shoot (including sporting clays and skeet to trap and five stand), go fly fishing or bike along one of the many trails on the property.

“With the leaves off of the trees, the landscape offers all new views and experiences that we don’t often get during warmer months, making it even easier to catch a glimpse of some of the wildlife of the Smoky Mountains,” Quick says. Rates at Dancing Bear Lodge start at around $190/night.

If you live for snow, head to the four-season Shanty Creek Resort in the Bellaire, Mich. This winter wonderland, which is home to 53 downhill runs across two mountains, offers Nordic skiing, snowboarding, alpine tubing, dog sledding and snowshoeing.

“All these activities are a great cardiovascular workout and use all the major upper and lower muscle groups, as well as improve your balance and flexibility,” says Lindsey Southwell, marketing manager. 

Flex your muscles and your brain

“Yoga can make for a great exercise and mental vacation on days where ominous winter weather keeps us indoors,” says Quick, of Dancing Bear Lodge.

Most luxury spas and hotels now offer yoga classes, but there are more affordable, all-encompassing options to be found at yoga-centric sanctuaries, like California’s Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, where visitors can camp in tents on the farm grounds. Vegetarian meals are provided with classes for $50 per night.

For something a bit more glamorous, consider taking a yoga retreat, like those offered by YogaWorks. Whether you want to improve your practice in India, Mexico or Costa Rica, there's a retreat sure to rejuvenate from this growing national yoga studio.

Channel your inner artist

Boost your mood and your creativity at Atlanta’s Floataway Community, an artist enclave complete with communal green spaces, a 12-acre walking forest, and centers for peace and spiritual well-being such as Garnish & Gather, The Center for Love and Light and Natural Body Spa and Shop. Don’t miss Nickel Bottom Garden, an ongoing project located in the park’s meadow that promises to become a gathering place for the surrounding communities to cultivate and enjoy.

Find your perfect getaway, for less