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Millennial Burnout? Why Everyone Needs To Do A Solo Recharge Trip

Millennial Burnout? Why Everyone Needs To Do A Solo Recharge Trip

I’ve never been one to travel solo.

While I’m comfortable being alone in many ways, I’ve never been an overly ambitious traveller, preferring to save my trips for getaways with my besties, my sisters, family, or with the purpose of visiting a friend living in another area.

As a single woman in my 30s, I’ve often looked at things like beachy or idyllic retreat getaways as romantic destinations, possibly to be saved for the time I may end up dating someone. And as a single woman in my 30s with a demanding job, a good social life, a gym and social sports schedule, and the inability to say no, I’m not very great at leaning into the whole “treat yourself” mentality that falls under the guise of rest, wellness, and looking after your mental health.

When it’s time to put yourself first

In 2020 I was diagnosed by my psychologist with burnout — obviously, 2020 was tough on pretty much all of us, and my burnout had been simmering under the surface for a good year or so before that, with the relentless schedule of working my life around the reality TV cycle in an under-resourced job finally taking its toll.

The following year we were plunged into a 100+ day lockdown, emerging in October, dazed and confused about where the year had gone. Then there was COVID — I caught it at the start of January 2022 and while I was fortunate the COVID itself was mild, I continuously got sick in the months that followed.

Since February 2022, every 6-8 weeks I have been bedridden with another virus, ailment, or a form of common cold that just feels more brutal than what I recall it being like pre-COVID. I’ve had tonsillitis three times, a surgery for my wisdom teeth, a virus that left me with a fever and nausea for over a week, and at least two bouts of some form of recurring bronchitis. I’ve just been told it’s likely I need two more surgeries in the near future. I grapple every day with the rollercoaster feeling of slowly starting to get better before my body starts betraying me again.

Which is why I figured it was time to take myself away from the stress of everyday life for a few days, get out of the city, and unplug.

Out of Sydney & out of my comfort zone

I had decided to head to Byron Bay, a place I had been before so had some familiarity with, but I had only ever dwelled around the main city area. This time I was booked into Elements in North Byron Bay, a beachside resort known for its luxury facilities and friendly staff.

Now while it doesn’t sound like a total push out of my comfort zone I was once again recovering from another bout of tonsillitis and Byron offered a chance to relax and rejuvenate without adding too much unnecessary anxiety to my already stressed out body and mind.

Three days alone doesn’t sound like a very long time — but once I was booked and ready to go, I had to fight my inner urge to invite a friend along with me. Seriously, I even did the “haha wouldn’t it be funny if you were on leave at the SAME TIME?” to two different friends, pretending to myself it’d be a coincidence if they said yes.

No one I knew was going to be there at the same time. But this, as it turned out, was the best thing possible for me.

Switching off & letting go

There’s a difference between being alone and lonely. Like I said, three days isn’t that long to spend alone but the last few months particularly I’ve been running at a high and chaotically anxious frequency: surviving, not thrivin’ as I’ve been calling it. I realised it wasn’t being alone that was worrying me: it was the quiet that was going to come without people needing me every day. It was the disruption to my usual schedule — I’d been in an internal fight or flight mode for so long, whether it was with my own body, my career, or far too big nights out with my friends, that I had gotten myself back in the same patterns and the same burnout that my psychologist had warned me about two years ago — I was ignoring my own health and needs to try and solve everyone else’s.

At Elements, all I had to do was think about myself. Literally, the staff are so attentive they treat you like you’re the most important person in the world.

From luxurious massages, to the huge bathtub in the villas, to the peaceful walking trails, in-room dining service, a massive king bed, robes and slippers, the friendly wallabies that poke their heads out to say hi, and the beachfront a small stroll away, it’s hard to forget why life has been getting you down when you’re at the retreat.

Whether you’re starting your day with breathwork and morning yoga, hitting the gym, going for a swim, relaxing at the beach, or just indulging in the adults-only pool with a swim-up bar, the retreat is designed for each individual to embrace their own idea of wellness, whatever that means to them. It’s about putting yourself first, it’s about treating yourself well, and it’s about learning that until you can do that, you probably can’t be all that useful to other people in your life.

The three days flew by — in fact, I was beyond reluctant to leave.

The importance of dating yourself


I’ve never been one to go away solo, thinking one day i’d eventually be in a relationship again or find someone to go with. This trip to #byronbay was exactly what I needed to remind myself to treat myself better. There’s no shame in dating yourself, in fact, I recommend it #fyp #elementsbyron #travel #traveltiktok #solotrip #retreat #australia

♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) – Fleetwood Mac

There’s some sort of mentality I’ve always held about holidays or getaways that those are the occasions where I take time to treat myself and switch off, but I never am able to hold that peace when I head back to normal life.

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I now think of the activities I enjoyed at Elements as the things I should be doing for myself on a weekly, if not daily basis. Obviously I’m not going to be getting a glorious 90-minute massage every day, but nothing is stopping me from taking 30 minutes, drinking a chamomile tea, throwing my phone in a totally different room and focusing on either journalling or reading.

I live and work in the inner city, but it doesn’t mean I can’t take 10 minutes in my work day to walk to the nearest park and feel like I’m slightly away from the hustle and bustle, even briefly.

One of the things I had anxiety about while in Byron was taking myself out to eat — but I found when I went out for dinner solo, just me, my book, a red wine, and a delicious meal, it was the most relaxed I had felt in a long time (also shoutout to Elements’ Azure restaurant for their delicious meals!).

It was also the most creatively inspired I had felt in a long time too — I’ve always enjoyed reading, writing, and storytelling, but when it became work for me, as lucky as I felt I could get paid for it, I also lost some passion for it along the way.

Not to sound all Carrie Bradshaw on you, but the whole trip away and treating myself at Elements got me thinking — why do we wait for people to suggest activities, plan dates, take us out for dinner, put our hopes and weight on treating other people well and wanting it in return, but not do it for ourselves?

Being alone on the retreat proved to me that I put so much value on what I can provide for other people — being the organiser in my social circles, being a senior person in my workplace, being a mediator in various situations in my personal and professional life — that I never stop and think about what value I should be providing to myself as well. I idly sit by after I put various efforts in to fix or organise things, waiting for change to happen — or even as a single person waiting to meet someone I can have cute, romantic adventures and dinners with, and never once have I thought that I can actually provide that to myself.

I’m not going to go as far as to say I’ve turned over a brand new leaf and will be doing yoga every morning, but I can safely say if you’ve been stressed, depressed, and looking to treat yourself better, I highly recommend a solo retreat trip.

Find out more about Elements of Byron Bay here.

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