As January approaches, many of us will be looking at new ways to get fit and improve our general wellness after the busy Christmas period.

For 2023, why not opt for something outside the box? (You can try all these at Pembrokeshire's The Big Retreat 2023).

Ecstatic Dance:

Let your wild side out to your favourite electronic beats and dance unchoreographed, moving freely through to a deep meditative state. Used for centuries, ecstatic dance has been proven to benefit both physical and mental health. By disconnecting from your beta brain waves (which are used for problem solving and logical thinking), you move through to theta brainwaves, which are usually only present when you’re sleeping or meditating. Ecstatic dance is a great alternative for those who struggle to meditate in silence and has been used in the treatment of depression and anxiety. – Check out Luisa's amazing classes

Gong Baths:

A form of sound healing offering relaxation, emotional release, and pain relief, you’ll lay down and get comfortable with a blanket and pillow before a sound healing artist hits a gong, immersing you in the vibrations and sounds of the instrument. Like ecstatic dance, your brain will relax into an alpha or theta brainwave state allowing you to feel calmer, happier, and less anxious. Studies have found it reduces depression and has a positive effect on immune function - for more information head to Gerriant Thomas and Sally Davies.

Cacao Ceremonies:

This centuries-old Mayan and Aztec ritual, known as the ultimate heart opener, brings natural stress relief, has the ability to release dopamine and endorphins (which can help with PMS symptoms and depression), and relieve emotional stress. It also contains anandamide, the bliss molecule. Cacao Ceremonies involve drinking 100% cacao straight from the bean, ground down into a liquor. By habitually drinking cacao (why not swap it with your morning coffee?) you can develop your creativity, enhance your energy, and heighten your meditation.

The Oxygen Advantage:

This world-leading breathwork training programme is ideal for everyone from those suffering from long covid, asthma and sleep apnoea to elite athletes and musicians (Coldplay’s Chris Martin is a huge fan. Learning how to breathe so oxygen is delivered to every cell in your body is a great way to improve your mental clarity, improve physical performance, and optimise your health. Breath work coach, Anna Gough, will be at The Big Retreat Festival running an Oxygen Advantage workshop to teach you how to understand your unique pattern of breath and get back into your natural rhythm.

Ice Baths:

Ice baths have seen a huge expansion in popularity, with more people investing in tanks, tubs, and even bins, and coming to coaches, such as Anna Gough, who runs a Cold Water Immersion introductory session. By using breathing techniques both before and during your time in the tub, you can improve your mental health, sleep, and boost your immunity. If you don’t have access to a cold water tub, having two or three cold showers for up to five minutes a week has been proven to send electrical impulses to your brain and help with symptoms of depression. Anna Gough will also be at the festival running an ice bath workshop for those who want to learn how to make the most out of their cold water immersion sessions.

For more information, head to