Recently, I have been researching wellness retreats and have found that they are very expensive. Although I can certainly see the benefits of getting away for a couple of days and re-orienting oneself in a nurturing environment, I also don’t think that self-awareness and relaxation should have to bust the piggy bank. So, I’ve decided to give myself an at-home retreat experience that is simple, flexible, and economical. I invite you to take a deep, cleansing breath along with me and kick off the New Year with renewed energy and focus by taking a little time out to get back into alignment. Here we go…
Schedule Your Retreat
First things first. You should schedule your retreat at a time that works best for you. If you only have one day for your retreat, that is just fine. Feel free to modify the suggested activities below to suit your schedule and needs. Ideally, though, try to arrange a 3-day staycation more or less in solitude.
You will want some lead time to assemble the materials you will need, so I suggest picking a date that is at least a few weeks down the road. You may also need to make arrangements for children or work obligations; you will want as few distractions as possible.
If you have children, the best way to manage a little ‘me time’ may be to take a few days off from work while they are in school. Alternatively, you could send them off to a sleepover at a friend’s house for a weekend or ask your partner or a friend to take them on an outing for an afternoon.
Make clear to your co-workers that you will not be checking email or messages during your retreat. Put a plan in place for dealing with work emergencies that doesn’t involve you, and keep your cell phone on do not disturb.
Gather Your Materials
Some things you might need for this retreat include:
- A journal & something to write with
- Detoxifying bath salts – purchase some or make your own
- Facial mask, such as Redmond’s Facial Mud
- Good walking/hiking shoes or a yoga mat
Try to nourish and detoxify your body during this time. I recommend a Paleo or Whole30 type diet over the course of the retreat. Organize your meals in advance, so you can focus on you once your retreat is underway, not running out to the grocery store.
Steer clear of liquid detox diets. Although I am not a doctor or nutritionist, I do want to emphasize that putting stress on yourself and your body to exercise insane will-power is simply not beneficial. This is about supporting the mind and body, and to do that, you need to ensure that your body is getting all of the nutrients that it needs to perform optimally.
Sipping herbal tea throughout the retreat will keep you refreshed and relaxed. I recommend the Traditional Medicinals brand, and their detox teas are perfect for this time. Be sure to drink adequate water, infused with fresh fruit, if you desire.
Start each morning with a walk or hike outside. If the weather is foul, or if you prefer, you can practice yoga inside instead. Yoga with Adrienne is a great YouTube channel with a wide variety of routines for every skill level.
Don’t just go through the motions here. Be aware of what you are doing, how the body feels, what the air smells like, etc. Be present.
Also, don’t overdo. This is not about pushing the body as hard as you can. It is about slowing down and become more mindful. I suggest a 20 to 40 minute gentle exercise period to get the blood flowing. No more than that.
Work meditation into each day. You may want to download the Calm app or select a guided meditation on YouTube. You can also purchase meditation music on iTunes. Listen with headphones to help block out surrounding noises.
Taking a retreat is all about re-connecting. One of the best ways to do this is to diary your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. You can keep your journal handy on your morning walk, pause in a park, and write whatever comes to you, or you can follow a more structured format provided by a workbook. Give yourself enough time to be in this active meditation. Don’t rush it just to get it done. Get it done with purpose.
Be very much aware of what information you are taking in during this time, and try to keep it positive. One of my favorite films is Eat, Pray, Love. It is a very inspirational story that you might want to check out at some point during your retreat. Reading is also an appropriate activity, and you can choose either self-help or spiritual literature, or indulge in something fun.
Shut off social media and cell phone notifications. You also don’t need to listen to the news right now. Most of it is negative, gossip, or mindless chatter that will not support you during a time of inward reflection.
End each evening with a detoxifying bath, candles, and some soothing music. Give yourself a facial. If you can, schedule a pedicure or massage at a spa. And relish in the experience. So often, we treat these appointments as exactly that – another appointment on our calendar we have to check off. Forget that anything comes after this, and just enjoy it.
Come On Back
When the retreat is over, you might want to give yourself just one more day (or at least the last evening) with your family or friends to ease yourself back into the world before getting back to the daily grind. And when you do, you will find yourself re-charged with renewed perspective.
Taking time for ourselves is critical to our wellbeing, yet we rarely prioritize it. Yes, things need to get done… And many things can wait for a day or two or three while you take care of you. I hope you will give yourself this gift -without guilt – whenever you need.