CIVANA Carefree a Restorative Resort

CIVANA Carefree: A Restorative Getaway

When do we take the time to focus on our own vitality—as caregivers and as healers? How we implement self-care for healers is an important question and one I need to ask myself. It’s been an intense few weeks for me and my family. Lots of assignments at work, a graduating high school senior, professional travel, and a house move! I am spent emotionally, physically, and even spiritually. I’m feeling the kind of tired that doesn’t go away after a good night’s sleep. Admittedly, some of my most necessary self-care routines have fallen away. I need a getaway in order to hit the reset button, and I need it now. My college-bound daughter and I decide on the Healers Vitality Program at CIVANA Carefree resort in Carefree, Arizona.

CIVANA lobby

Wellness begins at check-in. Stepping into the lobby of the CIVANA Carefree evokes instant calm, as well as the feeling of being nurtured. The hostess at registration greets us with a genuine smile and meets our hurried and harried arrival state with graciousness. She hands us a pair of beautiful stainless steel water bottles and orients us to the location of the water stations around the property. Hydration is of utmost importance here in the desert and everyone at CIVANA encourages us to drink plenty of water. It’s also a reminder that proper hydration is a must for maintaining resilience as a healer and caregiver at home.

Wall Yoga at CIVANA Carefree

Yoga, Restoration, and Education

Our first class experience is Wall Yoga. Neither of us have been to a Wall Yoga class before, so it is fun and adventurous to try this approach in which familiar poses gain a fresh perspective. And the gentle tension and traction provided by the straps creates internal space in our bodies. Our teacher reminds us that our time here is about self-care. We are feeling more relaxed already.

We refill our water bottles as we leave the yoga class and head to the meandering pool, surrounded by majestic palm trees, looming saguaro cactus, and flowering oleander. In the background we hear a waterfall that leads to a little stream. After a refreshing dip, we sun ourselves while hawks circle overhead. This day is turning out to be perfect.

CIVANA poolside

Next on the enriching activity schedule is an astrology class in the education and experience room. This topic interests both of us, so we join several of our resort-mates and enjoy meeting new friends. The class is created for the curious beginner and offers insight into ways we can understand and be gentle with ourselves. Our self-knowledge is a way to care for our well-being.

A Dinner that Delights at CIVANA Carefree

We enjoy dinner at Terras restaurant with its breathtaking views of the courtyard and pool against a backdrop of desert mountains. We sample a few appetizers and I quickly decide that they are all my favorite. Choices include smashed fingerling potatoes over pimento goat cheese and roasted carrots and turnips over pecan pesto. Each bite is as deeply nourishing as it is mouth-wateringly delicious. My daughter orders a skirt steak on a bed of sweet potatoes with a fabulous chimichurri sauce. My scallops over riced cauliflower with asparagus is tender and flavorful. I am impressed that every item on the menu is created with nutrition in mind while giving equal attention to beautiful presentation and flavors that come alive with each bite. It reminds me that even when cooking at home on a busy day, delighting all of the senses is essential for self-care.

Restful Sleep

As evening descends we return to the serene yoga room for an immersive experience of restorative yoga combined with a crystal bowl sound bath. This is a wonderful way to release stress and tension for deep sleep. It seems everyone here is conspiring to ensure we are pampered and cared for throughout our stay.

It so happens we are visiting during a full moon; the moonlight dancing on the water entices us to take an evening dip in the hot tub. With the stars twinkling in the dark desert sky, and frogs providing the background music, we chat into the night. Then we linger by the fire pit to enjoy the crackling fire as the light of the flames flicker and move across our faces. Getting sleepy now, we return to our room for rest. Anything and everything we can do to sleep well is one of the most important ways we can care for ourselves as caregivers.

CIVANA landscape

A Mindful Morning

Our eyes blink open to sunlight streaming through the sheer curtains. In the relative cool morning, we head out on a guided walk in the desert to learn which desert plants are edible and which can be used medicinally. Who knew that the blooms on a barrel cactus taste like yellow bell peppers? Or that the pods of a saguaro look like the inside of dragonfruit and are sweet and pulpy? This trek through nature is a fantastic way to learn about the desert beauty all around us. It is a mindful practice that eases stress. I take note; short walks to enjoy local beauty is a free stress reliever.

Cafe Meto CIVANA self-care for caregivers

Those tasty cactus blossoms ignite our hunger, and so we’re off to Cafe Meto. My daughter chooses the house-made granola topped with a dollop of yogurt and fresh berries and I choose a chia seed bowl with berries a-plenty and coconut chips. Both are fresh, lightly filling, and delicious. I try a custom organic coffee with date nectar and almond milk. It is one of the smoothest, most delightful coffees I’ve ever had.

aerial yoga at CIVANA Carefree self-care for caregivers

The Cocoon of Aerial Yoga

Aerial Yoga in silks is another first for both of us. Our teacher masterfully guides us through the poses and helps us know how to make the practice our own. I particularly enjoy the relaxation at the end all stretched out in the silk, in my own little cocoon. The support feels so sweetly peaceful. I feel completely nourished and deeply centered.

The Power of Unstructured Time

We spend the rest of the day lounging, chatting, napping, and nibbling. Both of us are truly resting and enjoying each moment. It’s amazing how quickly we can experience benefits when we take time to deeply care for ourselves. I’m surprised how much better I feel. My mind is quieter, the tension that had been creeping up in my shoulders is melting away, and my breath is deeper and slower. The encouragement to slow down, savor the moment, and care for myself will serve me when I return home to my to-do list.

Civana Carefree Heal the Healer Program

Personal retreats with a full schedule of classes are available at CIVANA Carefree to everyone year-round. Based on availability, CIVANA’s Healer Vitality Program offers special room rates throughout the year for the following groups of people in the health and wellness field. These include: Caregivers (including in senior living, domestic abuse, shelters, and more), nurses, spa and wellness center staff, massage therapists, estheticians, nutritionists, fitness, meditation, and yoga instructors, and wellness product vendors. Registration for the Heal the Healers program is required by emailing According to CIVANA, “This program is meant to celebrate and provide a place of rejuvenation for our healers within the wellness field.”

Learn more about CIVANA Carefree: 37220 Mule Train Road, Carefree, AZ 85377
Call: 480-653-9000 Website:


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