Indulge in a Mini Self-Care Retreat

“In removing everything we do that is not supportive of living with freshness and wakefulness, practice retreats realign us with our deepest values, helping us discover ways to upgrade how we live our lives on a daily basis.”  Sarah Powers, mentor in the art of retreating

Are you feeling somewhat off-kilter? Stuck? Frustrated? Feeling like you need a re-set? What if you gave yourself permission to delve into a mini personal retreat?

Sometimes what we need the most is simply a detour from our regular routines to feel refreshed and ready to face life again. Carve out whatever time that you can, even if it’s just a few hours one evening, one full day or perhaps you are able to make arrangements for a whole weekend to yourself. It doesn’t require long distance travel to a full-on residential retreat; it can be a stay-at-home retreat or perhaps a friend’s vacant home or holiday cottage.

Do Not Disturb – let your family and friends know that you are unavailable

Unplug – lay out some ground rules before you start your retreat: go without social media, Google search, Facebook or Instagram or Snap Chat.  Can you refrain from checking your phone and e-mail for a day or two?

Keep it Simple It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, just letting go of responsibilities and commitments and focusing on me-time for a day or two can be just what you need.

Spend time Journaling – journaling can be a very freeing experience. You could write down what you are grateful for; what you are ready to release from your life; or what changes you would like to incorporate. Or it could be stream-of-consciousness writing just letting the mind flow and the pen dance on the page. Maybe the main reason for your retreat is to work on your writing project.

Get Creative – Creativity is a fundamental ingredient in human existence and the source of many wondrous creations.  Unleashing our creativity is an important way to undo some of the stuck and sticky places in our body and mind – WRITE, PAINT, DRAW, SING, DANCE, GARDEN, COOK (step outside your comfort zone in the kitchen), (create or play) MUSIC.  The seed of our creativity is nourished and awoken with flowing movement (think of fluid dance or yoga practice – just let your spirit lead you without worrying about it having to look a certain way)

Meditate – engage in your favourite meditation practice. If you don’t have a regular meditation practice yet, simply sit quietly, close your eyes and follow the breath in and out – try labeling the breath ‘I am breathing in’ . . . ‘I am breathing out’.

Move your body – choose your favourite movement practice and ‘get a wiggle on’

  • A gentle yoga practice
  • Walk in nature
  • Dance like no one’s watching
  • Engage in whatever it is that will get you moving, but this isn’t about anything Herculean, let go of your competitive edge and take it easy. Think of something gentle on the body, but get the blood flowing and move the body in as many different ways that you can imagine

At-home Spa treatmentthink of simple ways to pamper yourself

  • A luxurious bath with Lavender oil and Epsom salts, or a mountain of bubbles (don’t forget the candles)
  • A relaxing self-massage (the Ayurvedic practice of Abhyangha self-massage is soothing and relaxing).  Find out more about Ayurvedic self-massage here.
  • A lovely, warm foot-soak and then paint your toe nails your favourite shade of soft, soothing pink
  • Infuse essential oils (a suggested blend for relaxation:  Bergamot/Patchouli/Sweet Orange)  Or simply Lavender oil is so soothing
  • An afternoon nap

Nourish Yourself – Eat wholesome, deeply satisfying, delicious food – and prepare it with your own hands. A big part of what makes food nourishing is the love that is infused when we prepare it by hand from scratch with fresh ingredients. Fresh, whole food made from scratch provides enhanced nourishment and penetrates our cells more efficiently, providing us with the vitality and energy to thrive.

Some meal ideas for your mini retreat:

  • Breakfast – a bowl of warm oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins
  • Lunch – sautéed greens (swiss chard is my absolute fave), sliced avocado, an egg or two prepared your favourite way – poached would be delish!
  • Dinner – a light dinner of home-made soup or warming lentil curry. Here are a couple of recipe suggestions:  Roasted Cauliflower Curry Soup  from Eating Well;   Lentil (Dal) stuffed Sweet Potatoes from the fabulous folks at Green Kitchen Stories.
  • Sip warm herbal tea throughout the day, one of my favourite balancing teas is Ayurvedic CCF Tea (made with equal parts coriander, cumin seeds and fennel seeds).  Click here for Empowered Sustenance’s CCF Tea recipe
  • Indulge in a sweet treat – if chocolate’s your vice, splurge on a bar of high quality chocolate or have on hand a treat from your favourite bakery – slow down and savour the flavour’!

Connect with Nature – spend time attuning to nature’s natural rhythms. Find a quiet, spot in nature to walk mindfully or simply be still. Feeling the earth’s heartbeat beneath your feet, feel it’s breath surround you, listen to it’s voice, drink in the full experience as you use all your senses to connect and coalesce with nature. As we allow ourselves to synchronize with the rhythms of the earth, our own body rhythms begin to regulate and harmonize within.

You may come up against resistance (in fact, you most probably will), you may want to quit, you may want to binge on Netflix, you may want to call a friend … but stay the course, this time is for you to be alone with yourself.  Take this valuable time to go within – dive deep; quiet your mind; finding peace and tranquility as you enrich your relationship with yourself  –  your most valued teacher and mentor.

The answers you seek are found within.