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Wellness Weekend Makes a Big Impact


Sitting in a pool, opening up to someone I just met, and crying my heart out was not something I saw coming when I went to Wellness Weekend.

But wellness comes in all forms, and healing is just a part of that journey.

I had the pleasure of attending the three-day retreat in late October, surrounded by men and women who value health and happiness, as well as meaningful connections.

Carefully crafted by Dr. Sharlon Lewis, Wellness Weekend incorporated so many aspects of well-being. From nutrition to spa massages, even down to the shared meals, each minute of the day brought new opportunities for learning, enjoyment, and improvement. Before the three-day wellness journey, she met one-on-one with guests to assess their needs and make personal recommendations for lifestyle improvements.

Atop a hill overlooking western Tortola, the gorgeous Tingalayo villa was chosen as the serene setting for Wellness Weekend. Complete with plenty of lounging spaces, an infinity pool, a home theater, and a yoga pavilion, the villa had no shortage of comfort spaces.

Guests were transported up to the villa at the beginning of the weekend and though many stayed for the whole weekend, the option to attend for just a day or two days remained open. As soon as guests arrived, photographer Kishma Penn grabbed each guest’s photos by the welcome sign while Dr. Lewis shared goodie bags.

Snacks and refreshments were laid out on the table by Chef Imran, and guests mingled for a while before the first session of the day began.  This session was a talk about nutrition and the difference between plant-based proteins and meat-based proteins. Throughout the informative presentation by Dr. Lewis, the men and women gathered for the weekend shared insights. They asked questions, fully participating in the session, and engaged with Dr. Lewis and each other.

I saw this throughout the retreat: no distractions, no stressors, or obligations. Just the intent of learning, growing, healing, and achieving in unison.

Odilia Weeks from Driftwood Spa gave a special presentation and demonstration on self-care, encouraging guests to take little steps to make sure their bodies are active and feeling good.

This includes stretching, taking warm or cold showers for inflammation or muscle tension, and doing at-home spa treatments like foot massages or hand massages.  She also advised people to move their bodies continuously, to dance, even when doing small things.

Dinner prepared by the chef was portion-controlled but compensated by flavor. Guests were served delicious salmon over chickpeas, roasted peppers, and potatoes, with dietary restrictions having been considered before the weekend.

Dr. Lewis wrapped up the first evening with a discussion on sleep hygiene and the importance of happy hormones: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. She explained how each one functions in our bodies and what we need to do to make sure we have healthy doses of these hormones daily.

The day ended with new friendships and great hopes for the next day.  

Day two was a day filled with exercise and the happy hormone endorphin. After a class on smoothies and a delicious post-demonstration, guests took aerobics and a High-Intensity Interval Training class, and then recessed for breakfast.

The second activity of the day was with Jermaine Henry, who introduced weight and resistance training to the guests.

Finally, after lunch, Takeyah George of FHIIT Factory took guests out for fun exercises.

By the end of the day, after having another special meal prepared by Chef Imran, guests relaxed in the pool and reflected on their time spent during the retreat.

The weekend finally came to a close on a Sunday, and it began with a long, relaxing yoga session by the pool.  Tisa Donovan led the meditation and yoga session, guiding guests through poses that stretched their bodies and calmed their minds.

Dr. Lewis gathered guests around the pool to talk about building resilience. She explained the power of the environment, especially in the beautiful Virgin Islands, and urged guests to tap into nature’s beauty. She emphasized the importance of positive thinking, growth, and perspective.

Shortly after, Shondrea Turnbull held a Power of 30 Session, where she encouraged people to begin changing their lives in just 30 minutes each day.

The entire weekend ended on high notes of inspiration, and though it was difficult to say goodbye to the people we made friends with, we knew this cherished weekend would leave a lasting impression.