Meet The Woman Who Has Launched A Range Of Luxury Retreats With An Islamic Perspective

Wellness Retreat, Retreat, Islamic Retreat, Across Red Lines, Manal Omar
Images: Instagram/manal1omar (left) and Instagram/AcrossRedLines
Plus three tips to improve your mental health at home

Muslim-friendly company Across Red Lines hosts retreats around the world to help women find themselves.

“My retreats are designed with an Islamic framework, but women from all backgrounds are welcome,” says founder Manal Omar. Omar spent 20 years working in war zones and fighting extremist groups before launching Across Red Lines.

Now her wellness-focused retreats include the usual activities you might expect (hiking at sunset, talks, meditation) with a hefty dose of turning inward.

We spoke to Omar about her top tips for mental health at home.

How to connect with yourself: “Learn to sit in discomfort. Our instinct is always to try to feel good. We try to shake off sadness or anger, even if it means lying to ourselves,” says Omar. Instead sit with your uncomfortable feelings and treat them as a friend coming to share some important, sensitive news. “Try to feel the feeling, and take a step back to understand the lesson.”

How to bond with other women: “Show up fully and authentically. I find too many people, and women in particular, do things from a sense of duty,” says Omar. Step away from ‘I should’, since this can create resentment. Instead be honest with yourself. “And if you’re in need of support, show up with true vulnerabilities and a sense of honesty.” In other words, ask for help. Don’t let your fear of rejection stop you.

How to be strong: Realise you know more than you think. “If you feel stuck or need answers, don’t look outward. Look inward,” says Omar. Try listening to your body’s muscle memory and how your physical self is feeling. “It’s like a navigation system. Take advantage of it.”

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Wellness Retreat, Retreat, Islamic Retreat, Across Red Lines, Manal Omar
Images: Instagram/manal1omar (left) and Instagram/AcrossRedLines