Reflections on my at-home wellness retreat + tips on setting up your own
I’m back! After a nice extended break, I’m excited to return to this space. Aside from taking off a chunk of time for the holiday festivities, I’ve also spent most of the month of January buckling down and finishing up my coaching program. I am now officially a certified life coach! Feels great (and still a bit odd!) to say that.
Many people have been asking me what I plan to do now with my certification. My goal with doing this training was never to become a full-on life coach actually; as interesting and rewarding as life coaching is, my passion still lies first and foremost in the health world. I love food, I adore teaching and talking about wellness, and I also have a very big slant towards working with health & food energetics. What I’m aiming to do is fuse transformational life coach processes together with my nutrition & energetics background to offer a really unique & thorough holistic coaching mentorship. Basically the kind of wellness program that I would jump at the chance to be in!
I’m currently at work writing up the course… watch this space for the new offerings to come soon
The other big and recent realisation I had: finishing up my coach training was a GREAT big ol’ sigh of relief as for the better part of a year & a half I’ve been in weekly classes, pod calls, immersed in my reading list or homework assignments. Graduating a couple weeks ago meant it’s time for a break – specifically one that feels supportive, nourishing, and oh-so-blissful.
I thought about going away somewhere tropical and warm… Southeast Asia in particular continues to call my name, ever and always. However, the thought of sitting on another plane so soon after my last trip quickly nixed that idea. No more plane rides for at least the next few months!!
So what to do? I thought about Southeast Asia and I thought about all the things I love so much about it and I thought about what I would do if I were to go there right now… and I realised that what I most wanted was not Southeast Asia itself but the FEELING that Southeast Asia would give me. That is: warmth, bright colours, flowers, exotic food flavours and combinations, connection to the spiritual and sacred, wild freedom, beauty, nature, and serenity.
I wanted to braid flowers into my hair, dance and flow freely, and feel the delicious sensation of long stretches of time to myself. I wanted to eat tropical foods, make art, take baths and naps, wear flowery things, and spend a great deal of blissful time in silence and meditation.
Well… with a little planning I could certainly give these things to myself without booking it across the world!
Thus, the idea for my wellness staycation emerged. Three glorious, soul-stirring days spent nourishing and lifting myself up.. and the best part was that 2 out of those 3 days were completely phone and email-free! (As someone who practically lives on her phone and email for work, doing this was a big deal – and total game-changer!)
The whole thing felt so blissful and supportive, in fact, that I just might plan to turn my phone off for a day or two every week!
Have I convinced you yet to create your own wellness staycation? If so, here are a few tips and suggestions I thought I’d share based on my own experience.
1. Get clear on the energy you want to feel most.
What would feel most nourishing to you? If there’s a specific place in mind in the world that’s been calling your name like it was for me, try to think of WHY exactly it’s so appealing.
Craving to jet away to a beachy island? What would you be DOING there? Hone in first on what you’d spend your time doing. Got it? Ok now how would doing all that stuff make you FEEL? This is what we’re trying to get at. Sure, it’s easy to say that you’re totally stuck because there’s no way you can bring sand and ocean into your room. But look closer. How would that sand and ocean make you FEEL? Relaxed? Free? Beautiful? Calm? Peaceful?
If there’s one thing I want you to take away here, it’s this: Everything that we want in life, we want because of the FEELING we hope it will bring us. You are not wanting to go to the beach for the sun & sand & ocean… you’re wanting to go because of the way you anticipate the sun & sand & ocean making you FEEL. Understand this and get better at giving yourself the feelings you crave… and well, that’s just game-changing, my dear!
2. Summarize your most wanted feelings into a few core words.
For example, my core words were: Beautiful, Creative, Free-spirited, Blissful.
Once you’re clear on what your key words are, spend some time reflecting on each word and the various things that make you feel this way. I like to cover all 5 senses when I do this – sight, taste, touch, smell, and hear. So for example, suppose one of your words is “Beautiful.”
What surroundings make you feel beautiful? What colours? Are there any specific things that come up for you when you think of the word Beautiful? Spend some time reflecting. When do you think you look most beautiful? A big thing that came up for me was that I look & feel most beautiful when I’m rested, nourished, and well-cared for. (And wearing my fave colours, crystals, hair accessories, etc always helps!)
What foods make you feel beautiful? Think about it. For me, it was the foods and flavours of the tropics like mango, coconut, banana, papaya. These foods grow soaking up the warm sunshine all day long and to me, they’re an edible form of that. I feel glowy and vibrant when I make dishes that incorporate them.
What kinds of fabrics make you feel beautiful? Maybe for you that’s wrapping up in a plushy robe all day. Or maybe it’s wearing your favourite outfit. If Beautiful was a texture, what texture would it be?
What smells or scents make you feel beautiful? What scents can you either wear or bring into your space in the form of candles, incense, cooking, etc?
What sounds make you feel beautiful? The sound of the ocean? Or maybe a particular instrument? Think about how you can incorporate certain sounds into your retreat to evoke a desired feeling.
Do this sensory exercise for each of your core words. At this point, you’ll probably have gotten a TON of ideas on things you can incorporate into your stay-at-home retreat.
I’ve found that bliss most often comes when we have all 5 of our senses covered in any given moment. In other words, there’s a formula for feeling blissed out.
3. Block the time off.
Once you decide how long and when your wellness staycation will be, block it out in your calendar. Notify people in advance – let your work, friends, family, etc know so that you have this time to yourself and aren’t disturbed. Is your staycation taking place only on the weekend? Let the people close to you know anyway. This makes it real and also lets people know that this means a lot to you. When you take your time off seriously, others do as well.
If you plan on going off the grid (aka cell-phone & email-free like I did) now is also the time to start giving others a heads up. Just because it’s a staycation doesn’t mean you should still be as reachable and connected as you usually are. If the thought of not having to be at the beck and call of your inbox or phone for a couple days sounds appealing to you, it’s a sign to give this little break to yourself!
4. Prep the nitty gritty details.
What stuff do you have to get together in advance to make your staycation go smoothly? Will you be cooking during your retreat? If so, what foods do you need to stock up on? The last thing you want is to be in the middle of it and realise you’ve forgotten to buy a key ingredient for your meal or the coloured pencils to complete your artwork. Figure out that stuff now so you can get the most out of your time off.
5. Relax, enjoy, have FUN with it!
My wellness staycation flew by all too quickly but it felt so wonderful to give this time 100% to myself. When we show up for ourselves like this, it’s such a massive expression of self-love. A huge boost to our chakras – particularly the solar plexus chakra which is all about owning our power and setting boundaries for ourselves and others.
It also showed me that I can really give this gift of total selfcare to myself more often… even every weekend! There are simple and intentional things I can do to devote my time 100% to myself. I can turn off my phone for the day. I can put an away message on my email and make the commitment to myself to not log in for 24 hrs. I can do more meditations. I can take time to braid my hair, buy myself fresh flowers, make a rose petal bath and do things that make me feel blissful. These aren’t difficult or complicated… again, they just take a bit of planning and an intention to prioritise well-being.
It’s so worth it.