It can be difficult to relax in today's fast paced world, with the constant ping of notifications, the binge-worthy television shows always available, and the never ending to-do list of life admin.

We all know the formula for good health and wellbeing - exercise; a balanced, nutritious diet; quality sleep and relaxation. However, for most people it's hard to balance all these things all the time and many of us will find ourselves slipping into bad habits.

For me, I eat healthily most of the time, walk and take time out for myself to do meaningful activities. However, I'm pretty rubbish at doing any sort of high intensity exercise that raises my heart rate.

I've never been good at sport, and therefore finding the motivation to get my body moving to break into a sweat is tough. It's always the one thing that falls to the bottom of my list.

Great British Life: The outdoor pool at Champneys Forest MereThe outdoor pool at Champneys Forest Mere (Image: Champneys)

When I saw my itinerary for my visit to Champneys Forest Mere my heart sank slightly when I saw a PT session included. This was way out of my comfort zone and not something I'd ever consider for a relaxing weekend away with a friend.

What I didn't realise is that Champneys is not just about relaxation. It's about finding that perfect balance.

Champneys offers guests the chance to step away from the real world for a while and become immersed in luxury, pampering and wellness, with everything perfectly balanced to support the mind and body.

I would have happily sat in the spa all day and maybe gone for a walk around the lake for some fresh air. However, the PT session was the biggest surprise and revelation. Kelly, our PT instructor, made us feel at ease from the outset, gently encouraging us to get our bodies moving and to try some exercises we could easily replicate at home. "Moving your body is what's important," she explained, encouraging us to try some planks or squats in front of the TV rather than sitting down.

As my heart rate quickened, I began enjoying myself. I could feel my muscles working and my body pushing and stretching. I felt strong and capable. By the end, my legs felt like jelly and my shoulders ached but I felt good.

Great British Life: The tranquil surroundings at Champneys Forest Mere. The tranquil surroundings at Champneys Forest Mere. (Image: Emily Roberts)

When it was time to head to the spa, I found relaxing so much easier after my body had worked hard. Had I gone straight to the spa I may have struggled to switch my mind off. Sitting in the jacuzzi, the bubbles gently massaging my aching shoulders, it felt like I had earned this rest and that my body and mind deserved it. I finally realised why the exercise part of looking after ourselves is so important - it's not just about fitness.

The spa itself is stunning, draped in glowy low lighting with super soft furnishings and all the facilities in one place.

Following some much-needed rest, I jumped into the refreshing water to swim a few lengths before trying out some of the other spa facilities including a refreshing tropical rain shower, steam rooms, and outdoor thermal suite, before cosying up with my book on a comfortable, snuggly water bed in front of a flickering fire.

Great British Life: The indoor pool at Champneys Forest Mere. The indoor pool at Champneys Forest Mere. (Image: Champneys)

The décor is stunning, with a luxury mountain-top chalet vibe. A rather chilly ice room adds to this theme, where temperatures drop to below zero. Feeling brave, we shut ourselves inside for an invigorating icy sauna that is meant to boost the immune system. I shuddered out after two minutes to warm up.

The spa hotel also offers a wide range of treatments for guests to enjoy during their stay, from tension-melting massages to radiance boosting facials, manicures, pedicures and reflexology, all using its award-winning brands.

The 50-minute facial I had was dreamy, allowing me to switch off and unwind as I inhaled the sublime fragrances wafted over my face and relax as my shoulders and neck were massaged. I left with silky smooth skin that felt rehydrated and refreshed.

The food offered at Champneys was one of the biggest surprises. For a hotel that specialises in wellness I had expected everything to be super-healthy. However, its philosophy is focused instead on healthy, delicious and beautiful. It has nailed this to perfection and the food was one of the highlights of the stay, eaten guilt-free knowing that it had all been freshly prepared and nutritionally balanced.

Great British Life: The indoor pool at Champneys Forest Mere. The indoor pool at Champneys Forest Mere. (Image: Emily Roberts)

Working to principles of moderation, balance and variety, the hotel chefs and nutritionists aim to educate and empower, meaning guests can enjoy the occasional treat, combined with healthy, delicious food that is good for your body and mind.

For dinner, we savoured a delicious three-course meal in the hotel’s elegant, stylish restaurant, adorned with gold whisk chandeliers. A glass of bubbly was poured at the table as the happy, relaxed chatter of diners filled the room. The juicy scallops for my starter were beautifully presented and the perfectly-cooked salmon main course was delicious, but not too filling or rich. Following a sweet and ripe poached pear for pudding, we headed back to our room – a large suite with a balcony overlooking the vast lake.

Normally after a three-course meal I would feel stuffed and sluggish. But the balanced menu instead left me satisfied but not too full, allowing me to fall into a deep and restful sleep.

Breakfast the next morning included an impressive buffet of fresh fruit, cereals, porridge and juices, with hot options also available such as smoked salmon and scrambled egg on a bagel.

We dined in the hotel’s café during the day, choosing to stay in our robes so we could head straight back to the spa afterwards.

Great British Life: Champneys Forest Mere isn’t just about PT classes and sitting in the jacuzzi Champneys Forest Mere isn’t just about PT classes and sitting in the jacuzzi (Image: Emily Roberts)

The lunch menu offered three courses, with a roast option available being a Sunday. Starters included roasted butternut squash and tomato dip or cauliflower salad, while the mains had options such as open Moroccan spiced chicken wrap, red pesto penne and vegetable ramen noodles. A selection of buffet desserts were available to choose from along with fresh fruit.

Spa packages allow guests to enjoy a full day in the spa on the second day, meaning we didn’t need to hand back our robes until 4pm and could enjoy the facilities until then.

Champneys also offers membership giving open access to every Champneys resort, with guests able to work from their stunning surroundings, benefit from the beautiful spas and state-of-the-art fitness facilities whenever they like, as well as explore the extensive grounds. Members can also bring along up to three friends for free, on any day visit, making this a tempting offer for those who live close by.

During the stay I had felt a million miles away from home, but the drive back to Basingstoke was just 45 minutes. Had I faced a long journey it would have no doubt undone all the benefits of rest and relaxation. Instead, I left with my bag of spa goodies to enjoy at home and attempt to replicate that magical feeling of complete relaxation I had discovered while away, squats and planks included!

Champneys Forest Mere Health Spa

Portsmouth Road, Liphook, GU30 7JG

0343 210 1428

Spa breaks: From £265