YOU CAN CREATE YOUR OWN WELLNESS RETREAT
Alright people, this is a time like no other most of us have experienced. We need to stay optimistic and hopeful. We need to show up in positive ways. We need to provide support to others. We need to take care of ourselves too.
One of my recommendations for self-care when times are tough would be a wellness vacation or retreat. But the reality right now is we ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. And beyond that, we limited to no options for the spa or for a massage or any other things that contribute to our ongoing wellness. So we have to get creative.
So one solution I can offer you is to create a DIY wellness retreat. Now, you may be wondering, who I am to provide guidance on this? Well I am trained mental health professional who has provided therapeutic services for 20ish years. I am a trained yoga teacher. I have been a serious spiritual seeker for 20+ years. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s move on.
A DIY wellness retreat is going to be both easier and harder than you might imagine. Easier because you actually have all the tools you need inside of yourself. You don’t actually need to buy anything or go anywhere special. But indulging in some accoutrements can be the icing on the cake.
More difficult because it’s hard to get out of our own ways. Our patterns – whether they be perfectionism, victimhood, depression or self-doubt, can sabotage us by interfering with the intention and schedule of our retreat.
STEP 1 – CREATE A PLAN
A DIY retreat takes planning. The first step is to set your intention. Wellness is way too broad. A good place to start is to think about how you want to feel when you’re done. Now I typically set intentions daily or at least at the start of my yoga practices. For me common intentions are to feel grounded or present or self-compassionate or at peace.
Once you’ve settled on your intention, identify activities that will help you to fell that way. For me, for example, that will typically involve meditation, yoga, a social media detox, journaling, and time outside/in nature.
Pick activities that bring you joy, or maybe that you’ve always wanted to try.
STEP 2 – CREATE A SCHEDULE
Now if you were to attend a formal retreat, many will have an hourly schedule. Following a schedule will take the pressure off of deciding what to do when. And allow you to be fully immersed in each moment.
If this is your first retreat, or you are still a 9-5er, it will make sense to start your retreat on Friday night, ending Sunday evening.
The morning is particularly important. How you start your day can set the tone for your entire day. I think it’s important to start in a mindful way with self-introspection, meditation and if it’s in your practice, pranayama (breathwork). This is a direct juxtaposition with how many of us typically start our day – hopping out of bed, maybe checking our emails/social media and rushing into our day.
As far as the rest of the day, you want to aim for a balance between activities that energize and those that relax. Include movement such as yoga and mindful walking, and stationary activities like art and reading/listening to podcasts and guided meditations.
What’s happening right now can feel isolating, and meditation retreats can feel isolating in and of themselves. If you think this may be an issue for you, schedule a phone call, walk or meal with a positive person in your life.
Here are some ideas for some nurturing inclusions in your schedule:
Make yourself some special tea or favourite morning drink to start your day off right
Sit in meditation – grab a cushion, set a timer, be still and just do it.
Yoga – there are many free streaming options or set up a private session with a yoga instructor
Whether it’s yin or power yoga find your own flow. Alternate. If you typically go hard, switch it up and take it easy
Pamper yourself – pedicure, a bubble bath, candles – whatever makes you feel special
Purify – smudge, throw some Epsom salt in your bath, breathwork
Indulge your creative side – colour, paint, scrapbook, whatever you fancy
Gratitude – write some notes to loved ones, write a note to yourself
Do nothing – lie in a hammock, cozy up under a blanket with some favourite tunes,
Spoil yourself – fancy chocolate, flowers, dive into a new book or magazine, buy new pjs
Get outside – walk, hike, lounge, find a park or garden if seasonably available
Plan your meals ahead of time so you have everything you need to nourish your body, mind and soul. Prep them in advance
Create an evening routine that lulls you to sleep – fresh sheets, sleep hypnosis, essential oils, weed if that helps your sleep
Here’s a sample itinerary for 1 day:
8am: wake up, hydrate including hot lemon water
8:15am: morning journaling
9:30am: breakfast, read, relax
12:30pm: listen to an inspiring podcast
2-3pm: take a walk
3pm: create - paint, puzzle, craft
5-7pm: prepare dinner, eat
7-9: Watch a funny or inspiring movie
9: Epsom salt bath
9:30: listen to a guided meditation
10:30: time for bed
STEP 3 – DO THE DAMN THING
Prepare everything that you can in advance, so you have to “do” as little as possible. Clean and tidy your space. If you can, create a dedicated space for your meditation, yoga, etc. Get any books, download any needed resources, and purchase any candles, bath salts, essential oils, etc. that you may wish to incorporate into your DIY wellness retreat.
Most organized retreats and some wellness vacations, are either off the grid, or encourage disconnecting from technology. So turn that shit off. Create whatever necessary auto-responders you need and just do it.
The benefit of a DIY wellness retreat is that you can design it to suit you. In addition, of course you don’t have to spend a great deal of money. You should come away feeling refreshed, recharged, and better able to manage with more clarity and a new perspective. You are worth it.
Does the idea of creating a DIY wellness retreat still feel daunting? Contact me at email@example.com to create a personalized at-home retreat just for you.
Some inspiring resources:
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Your Heart’s Desire by Sonia Choquette
The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
Oracle Cards – Alana Fairchild makes some of my favs