When my sister asked me to go with her on a wellness retreat, we were both excited and curious at the idea. Full disclosure: We both work 9-5 office jobs and are urban/suburbanites by trade. A weekend of meditation, exercise, fresh air … and time away from our vices and devices? It sounded exciting and scary to us all at once!
When the actual retreat was postponed, we found ourselves disappointed though. We didn’t want to forfeit our plans entirely, so we decided to create an at-home wellness day.
So uh, what is that?
We didn’t really know! But we defined it as a day dedicated entirely to ourselves, in support of our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. You can plan a home retreat by yourself or with a partner, and it might include yoga, meditation, rest, visualization, spa and/or fitness activities.
I knew that we’d have fun, but I didn’t predict how simultaneously restorative and cathartic it would be. It was so, so amazing. 🙂
The funny thing is that I’ve had plenty of self-care days before, but there was something about this one that made it uniquely meaningful.
I’ve put some thoughts down here about why I think that might be. Take a read, in case you’re considering a home retreat of your own!
Gift Yourself the Time
Be generous when you’re planning a retreat or wellness day – you won’t get half as much value from it if you’re feeling rushed, distracted, or juggling competing priorities. We set aside a full 12 hours and cleared our schedules! And it may go without saying, but a clean and peaceful home is pretty essential too.
A Mix of Mind and Body
It’s so important to gently move your body throughout the day. We began the day in the pool which made our morning feel so freeing and peaceful. We chatted, floated and stretched in the water, and it was a relaxing way to take ourselves out of our normal surroundings and movements.
We also spent time walking outside, doing yoga, rolling out and stretching. All of these activities made the day feel healthy and active, but they were calming, enjoyable practices in service to our bodies.
Importantly, we also spent hours of the day in dialogue – not just about fun, trivial things (although there was definitely lots of space for that!) We dove into subjects that have been weighing on us, or that we wanted to map out loud. I highly recommend that if you’re feeling a little brain-fried lately, you try to sort and articulate your thoughts in a safe space.
Set a (Loose) Structure
I’m not suggesting you plan every minute of your retreat, but creating a structure helps the practice to feel more significant. A loose agenda is a great way to ensure the day doesn’t get away from you too! We made a list of the things we wanted to incorporate into the day – from journalling, to yoga, to going out for a nice dinner. We didn’t get to all of it, and that’s perfectly okay!
Include Play & Pampering
Sometimes wellness activities can feel like work – because taking care of yourself, exercising, or talking about something difficult are all exactly that: important, rewarding work. For this reason, I’d encourage you to incorporate plenty of fun and indulgence throughout your day. In our case this included snacking on the balcony, doing an at-home foot spa, and laughing hysterically at childhood memories while wrapped in blankets on the couch. I’m also a big advocate for “grown-up playtime” which doesn’t have to be as creepy or infantile as it sounds! Try spending ten minutes on a park swing set, investing in an adult colouring book, or just re-engaging with your childhood hobbies (dancing, crafting, watching a Disney movie). It’s so rewarding!
Goal-Setting & Take-aways
We also tried to tie the day to a purpose: we wanted to set some personal and career goals for ourselves, and also had the project of researching for a family vacation that we’re taking later this summer. Having some concrete outcomes for the day feels great and can help all of that pampering and playtime still feel productive.
A home retreat is the perfect opportunity for goal-setting because your mind will hopefully be in a creative and passionate space. Take advantage of a clear, relaxed brain to do a little planning or personal work 😉
Have you ever done a retreat (at home or elsewhere)?
To get you started, grab the following …
- essential oils & diffuser
- infused water
- yoga mats
- open mind