A Wellness Expert’s Guide To Unwinding

A Wellness Expert’s Guide To Unwinding

The Spa at Sanctuary Beach Resort welcomes travelers to a pristine location where they can enjoy holistic treatments provided by seasoned experts. To take true advantage of our wellness services, you need to get in the right mindset, and turn down the noise of everyday life. To help you get there, we interviewed Ilana Alberico, CEO of ISM—the wellness firm behind The Spa at Sanctuary Beach Resort.

With a range of wisdom—including day-to-day practices, and specific insights into how to destress while traveling—this is our wellness expert’s guide to unwinding.

Do you have a morning routine that helps you start the day off right?

Yes! I start by visualizing my day while I’m still in bed. I imagine the people I need to meet with and think about what we need to accomplish. I spend a moment imagining that whatever big goal I’m working on has already happened. I drink a glass of water with lemon and get my workout in, so it’s over and I won’t find a reason not to do it! Then I’m ready for my day!

What about evening…any tips for an end-of-day routine?

I drink a cup of peppermint or chamomile tea and turn my phone off. I pick up whatever real paper bound book I’m reading and right before I go to sleep I try to remember something that happened in the day that made me happy.  It’s really important to move your phone out of your bedroom. It’s a great way to give yourself and your brain permission to put your mind to rest and be ready for the next day!

What would you say is the biggest challenge travelers face today when it comes to de-stressing on vacation?

It’s so important to give yourself permission to disconnect. Turn off your phone, disconnecting and being present and in the moment is a challenge.  Giving yourself permission to disconnect unapologetically has profound benefits when on vacation.

How do you recommend overcoming it?

Setting the expectation before you leave work, family, friends, etc. and staying true to that. If you have to check in that’s fine, but setting limits and parameters to this is incredibly important. Take a basket or use the hotel safe to lock your phones away for the day, afternoon, etc. As a leader it’s important I set the tone and give others the permission to do the same.

How about emails. During vacation, do you recommend travelers keep up with them so there’s not an onslaught when they get back to the office? OR is it better to fully disconnect? Why?

Same as above. It’s important that you communicate before you leave the office your purpose and parameters around you being away. I set a time of day that I’ll browse for anything urgent while on vacation. Ultimately, you have to trust your team to work on your behalf. It’s a balance and it’s not always realistic to think every vacation will be without interruption. I just try to empower my team everyday so that when I’m away, it doesn’t feel incredibly different.

While traveling, any sense of routine can often go out the window. Do you recommend trying to stick to your routine, or is it better to embrace the lack of schedule on vacay?

I think it’s whatever you need. Everyone is different and each of us needs our own sense of relaxation and downtime. Giving yourself permission to indulge, relax or stay on routine or a little of everything is your call, but don’t apologize for it. Own it, live it and enjoy!!

For spa treatments, which kinds are particularly beneficial to someone looking to truly unwind? Why?

I always recommend a true immersion experience, like a body treatment and massage Or ritual that is locally inspired. it forces you to unwind, disconnect and get in the moment.

My favorites are the Pacific Ocean Body Treatment, or Salt Wood Spa Rx. Both treatments used locally inspired ingredients and are at least 80 minutes of pure relaxation.

What do you think makes the Monterey area, and Sanctuary in particular, so perfect for someone seeking a relaxing, restorative getaway?

It’s a destination within a destination! It’s easy to get lost in the beauty of its location and the boutique and personalized approach to the hotels guest experience. It’s a destination that forces you to take pause and be in beauty and stillness of the moment.

What kind of music do you play at the spa? Why?

We use a mix of locally inspired and non-verbal music offerings. Music in our spas is meant to assist in your relaxation. Words are personal, so we try to keep it more to melodic inspirations and sounds you may hear in Marina, like the ocean or birds. We want the spa to feel like an extension of the destination.

If you could give anybody one piece of general advice on how to get out of their head, let go, and fully relax—what would that be?

Stay light hearted in your approach to all you do! We tend to take ourselves so seriously and it’s always refreshing to be someone, spend time with someone or meet someone who has a light-hearted approach to life. Wellness can be many things to people. To me, it’s about self-love and seeking the light in others. It’s a beautiful and peaceful way to live life!

Daily meditation and time to yourself is a wonderful way to self reflect and let it all go!

Discover More of Monterey Bay

Planning a visit to the shores of Monterey Bay? Experience the region like a local, following our insider recommendations on the Sanctuary Beach Resort blog!