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The Wellness Questionnaire With Adrienne Willis, Spa Director at Spa Fjor at Hotel Viking

Discover how this new mom uses her commute home to let go of the day’s stresses.

With more than a decade of experience in the wellness industry, Adrienne Willis leads the day-to-day operations at Spa Fjor at Hotel Viking (Newport, RI). As spa director, she is committed to elevating programming with immersive wellness journeys. Prior to her role at Hotel Viking, Willis served as director of spa at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa (Austin, TX), where she oversaw spa operations and the development of service offerings. She has also held various leadership roles at Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort & Spa (CA) and Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa (HI). Here, she shares her go-to for destressing.

What does wellness mean to you?

To me, wellness is finding your own balance between your physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Each person has different needs and goals in each of these areas. This means there is no right or wrong formula for achieving a perfect wellness status. What’s most important to me is taking time to self-reflect and understand what it is I need to be happy. I then make decisions in my everyday life that will guide me to that happiness.

What are your favorite things to do to maintain your personal wellbeing?

I am a spa girl through and through. I like to set aside time for myself so that I can unwind with a relaxing body or facial treatment. I am a new mom, so time away that is quiet and undisturbed is a luxury I do not take for granted. This time is when I do some of my best reflecting and can reset my mind. Even just the tiniest bit of self-care is so important!

What is your favorite healthy food, and do you have a favorite way of preparing it?

I am a sucker for avocados. A few years back, I lived on Maui and was fortunate enough to have a large avocado tree in my backyard. Every day, I would take one or two avocados with me to work. At lunch, I would cut them in half, sprinkle a pinch of salt on them, add a squeeze of lime juice, and enjoy with a spoon.

What is your favorite healthy beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), and do you have any insider tips for preparing it?

I spend my days with cup after cup of various hot teas. There are endless flavors, so there is always something for everyone. I prefer light and fruity flavors like hibiscus or apple. Add a little bit of local honey to boost your defenses against local allergies. I also believe that the warmth of hot teas is good for the soul.

What is the best piece of wellness advice you have ever received and from whom?

A few years ago, a mentor of mine shared a piece of wisdom that I will never forget. In hospitality and spas, we spend our days caring for other people. We do it so much, that we often forget to leave time to care for ourselves. However, if we take the time to care for ourselves first, then we will be in an even better position to help others. Like all our flight attendants say, “Always put your own mask on first.”

What do you think is the most overused word or words in wellness? 

Ever since COVID, people have really started to shift their focus towards their own wellbeing and put more energy into what it is that truly makes them happy. Big businesses quickly caught on to this trend and began using the term “wellbeing” to market anything and everything they could. It really diluted the meaning behind the word. We can get past this easily if we can identify, on our own, what it is that we need to achieve our own brand of wellness. Then, we can make decisions and go after the things that will get us there.

What is your favorite place for a healthy vacation or escape?

Anywhere with bad cell service and a large body of water. Many of us these days feel naked without our phones, me included. However, I have also learned how liberating it can be to completely cut yourself off from it for a while, so that you can truly enjoy living in that moment. It makes the vacation or escape so much sweeter. As for the large body of water, lakes and oceans have always been very therapeutic to me. They can be very calming, and salt water is also great for your skin. Just don’t forget the SPF!

What is your go-to for de-stressing?

As a full-time working mom, stress is not hard to come by. I have found that turning off my brain and letting the day’s stress go isn’t always the easiest task. The best thing that I have found to help me decompress, is getting lost in a book. Again, being a full-time working mom doesn’t make that easy. So, I’ve become addicted to audiobooks. Every day on my commute home, I turn on an audiobook instead of music. It really forces my brain to focus on the story being told instead of the day’s stresses. By the time I am home, I’ve left all my stress behind and can be present for my family.

What wellness-related books or authors do you recommend, and why?

Brené Brown is my go-to author for guidance in navigating some of the challenges life loves to throw at us. I was first exposed to her writing when I watched a video of her describing empathy versus sympathy. It really resonated with me, so I dove in headfirst into all her books and TED talks. She says, “Learning to love and be kind to ourselves is a lifelong journey,” and I couldn’t agree more! We are often our own worst critics when we really should be spending our time being our own hype women instead. Learning to love and celebrate our true, authentic selves is something I hope we all can work towards.

About The Author
Heather-Mikesell-author-1

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent, abcnews.com, jetsetter.com, outside.com, and wellandgood.com, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.