When you make an investment what sort of return are you expecting?
You may have invested in your education, career, portfolio, house, children, there are so many considerations. What is the long term vision that comes with these different investments? Do you expect modest, incremental changes to a successful future? Or are you more the get in/get out quick and expect a big payout? The big payout option certainly has appeal, but these are rare.
This is the problem. We see the headlines of overnight success, but more often than not those stories are a result of many incremental changes and rarely do we hear about the struggles along the way.
Apple is such a big brand now that we forget it struggled. Pixar wasn’t a success for years. Even Facebook wasn’t an overnight success.
Do you consider your health an investment? If you regularly read this blog you probably do, but many people don’t until something happens to them. It could be as simple as being out of breath at the top of the stairs to something much more serious, but often there is a moment that you can point to that changed your mind about how you invest your time in yourself. I don’t even mean being fit, I mean investing in your health because being fit doesn’t mean that you eat well, sleep well, manage your stress or have good relationships.
Health is not the absence of disease.
Health could and should be an investment, in a way of being, in yourself.
This past week I was in a magical place that makes the investment in your own health special, meaningful and rewarding. It was a place that has an immediate and noticeable return, a rare and immediate benefit. I consider myself healthy, in most ways and I noticed a difference.
When you book a trip to Canyon Ranch – and I recommend it – you get a weekly schedule and additional options.
It is overwhelming.
There is a little of everything and I wanted to do it all. That would take longer than the 4 full days we had at the Ranch. The welcoming message we received suggests that you pick an intention for your stay to make your choices easier. I did want to do everything, but I took their suggestion to heart and decided to view my experience as me. A fit and healthy adult, educated in many aspects of health, just like you. I wanted to know what would be my return on my investment of time and resources. I was invited to stay at the Ranch, so my investment was minimal the returns were life-changing.
I have always considered Canyon Ranch to be the pinnacle of health retreats. The variety of options, the attention to exercise physiology, the medical team, the integration of holistic health in one location for personalized health was ground breaking from the first days of Canyon Ranch. I admit we share a similar philosophy, give people the tools to live their best lives and let them make the choices that will work for them. Shine the light on the path, no judgements, no strict rules and let everyone experience their own personal journey.
From the moment we were picked up at the airport we could see that these values were alive and well at the Ranch. Jerry, our driver was fit and healthy, this was his retirement job and he enjoyed it. He had recently returned from doing the Whistler Half Iron Man, it was obvious that the staff were encouraged to be healthy and fit. The Ranch employees can take the classes, go on the hikes, use the resources available to be role models to live and breathe the values of Canyon Ranch. I believe this makes a profound difference in the success and the feeling of wellness that is the culture of Canyon Ranch.
The other aspect of Canyon Ranch that really makes it stand out is the depth of the offerings that are all important components of health. The medical team, exercise physiologists, wellness, meditation, yoga, relaxation, classes, fitness testing, outdoor activities, the food – really delicious food.
The food was amazing and you may have noticed they were served in appropriate portion sizes. Which made them look small compared to what we are used to. The best part of the dining experience is that you could have as many choices as you wanted. No one questioned if you had two desserts a day (the blueberry tart was delicious and addictive), but “normal” was a small portion. All the calories and nutrients were listed on the menus so you could see the real cost of choosing one over another. It was an encouraging way of educating without guilt or externally imposed restrictions. There were options for everyone, you could place special orders, you could dine in a dining room, outside by the pool or take it to go in your room. There were no expectations, except one.
No cell phones.
That alone would be worth the investment in spending time at the Ranch. I am going to go into more detail on the dining experience, but to actually eat without the technological distractions, yours or someone else’s, that is a luxury.
There were cell phones areas, much like the smoking areas and you can always use your phone in your room.
I can’t possibly describe all the aspects of health and well-being that were available. I tried as many as possible. Whenever I spoke to staff or guests the response was similar.
“I have worked here for 15, 18, 28 years…” “We come back every year” “This is my first time and I am already planning my next trip” “Next time I am bringing my family“
This kind of universal good will is only the result of a true culture. In this case, one that promotes, follows, and prescribes, the values of health and wellness from the highest level of management to every person who interacts with the guests. This can’t be bought, this is a way of being, a way of life.
I managed to do some classes, I especially loved the Stretch and Relaxation. We went to some lectures, we wanted to go to more, but realized that it wasn’t possible to fit them all in. I went to Water Meditation – fabulous. We went to the spa. We cycled and hiked and saw the desert, the mountains and had the full experience. We didn’t do any of the exercise testing, just the body composition. We didn’t see a dietitian, but I went to the Demo Kitchen for a cooking lesson.
We practiced good sleep hygiene in the magnificent bed and pillows with the sound machine designed for optimum sleep. It worked.
You may think this isn’t like a regular fact, you are correct. This is the experience I would like you live daily, in an incremental way, to see a long lasting and positive return on your investment. I will be posting more about our time at Canyon Ranch, the facts for the last days of summer will be about what I valued about our time at Canyon Ranch – don’t worry – I won’t leave out the evidence-based research too, but if I could leave you with a question as we return to our regular routines, what is your personal health investment strategy? What is the return you are expecting or working toward? Take a moment, or a week, and find the real reasons that your health matters now and in the future.
Change your mind, change your health,
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