I know we’re dreaming of an exotic weekend in the pristine wilderness when the words “wellness retreat” ring out, but you don’t have to use your vacation days or even book a plane ticket to reset your bliss when you’re in a pinch. After all, your wellness is all about you, and who better to deliver self-care than yourself? A little bit of planning can make for a smooth and magical weekend for you and a few friends.
First things first, settle on some goals.
What are you looking to get out of the weekend? It’s cool if that answer is multifaceted. (We’re humans, aka complicated.) Talking over these goals with your co-chillers will help design the game plan for your experience. Here’s a few to get your wheels turning:
Relaxation (think homemade spa-like indulgences)
Meditation: slow your roll and reconnect with your self
Strengthening (or starting) your yoga practice
The food makeover: any changes you want to make in your daily diet?
It’s really important to think about the space for your mini getaway. A retreat is about transformations and recharging your perspective. Try re-dressing your backyard. Toss up some lights, pull out (easily washable) blankets, invest in a fire pit and even some gauzy fabrics to drape from some dreamy trees if you’re feeling frisky. Turn your attention inward too. Don’t underestimate the power of candles and a little furniture arrangement. Make this time feel special. Focus on your environment and her natural elements. Coax the sunlight into your spaces and welcome her with some fresh greens. I’m feeling invigorated already, ahhh.
It’s also worth scanning your local campgrounds and Airbnb listings for some serious cabin retreat feels. Get up and get out!
Clean energy is essential for this ~refreshing experience~ and I’d say takeout pizza is not invited.
You will thank me, I promise. Create a simple meal plan for the weekend with all the things your crew has loaded onto your Pinterest boards (seize the moment girl!)! Two breakfasts, about three lunches and/or dinners, and some healthy snacks should set you up nicely. Choose foods that are going to provide you with good energy and not too heavy, because my next tip will leave you needing it.
You gotta get moving. Whatever y’all style is. Yoga, biking, walking, pilates: carve out time in your retreat to shake up your blood flow and get that fresh feeling.
There are plenty of ways to get your yoga fix for free online, thanks YouTube, but I have found the video archive at The Yoga Collective to be invaluable - and honestly cheap whether you split the fee with your ladies or snag their deal on Groupon. They’re a real studio out of Cali with instructional videos at ANY and every level and style - even sleepy time yoga!
There’s no need to bike ten miles or over exert yourselves. This is about waking your body up, not throwing it off of a cliff. So, keep it simple yet stimulating.
Try to wind down in the evenings (or stir up your morning brain) with some simple meditations. This would be a good excuse to inject some alone time into the weekend (this is about self-care too.) Seek out some help from sites like Headspace if you have trouble finding your zen, or research a couple of quick prompts to gain the most out of your private moment. These can be times for self-reflection too. Maybe you’d like to have a journal nearby or an object that brings you calm and focus. For me it’s my camera, or a sketch book. Try a light book of poems, or pick some flowers you’d like to press and de-stress.
My most steadfast tip here can be an anxiety inducing one, but the cellular devices have to be limited - eek!
Decide how strict you’d like to be - a phone bucket anyone? You should feel less worried about what your missing out on as the minutes tick by. It’s such an important step toward reorienting your personal space, because much our lived perspective and self-seeing are being filtered through our phones and digital habits. Ladies, there’s no cleaner feeling than washing your hands of your cell.
Sans phone doesn't mean going without some chill tunes however, get back to your adolescent roots and make one of your famous mix-tapes. Someone’s got a boombox out there… Or designated your trusty DJ friend to internet radio duty.
Last, but oh so major - pamper, soak, treat, and steam, y’all
Gather your collective powers and gadgets and get the spa time in. With so many masks on the market and bath bombs bouncing around, there is ZERO excuse to skip this step. Go as hard (relaxing that is) as you’d like. Just try to skip any spa cocktails -this is still a cleansing experience 😉
And when all is said and done, sleep! Grab the Zs to your heart’s desire and get ready to start your new week with a fresher eye, mind, body, and spirit
Leave us some of your suggestions for your own DIY retreats. What are your favorite tips?
Until next time,
Sam Spahr is an artist-educator who gets her kicks sharing the magic of the arts with kids and adults alike. She has a penchant for ancient artworks and helping others find the connections between now and then. When not inside a studio or bookshop, you can find her paddling out somewhere with her hubs and pup. She loves experimenting in the kitchen, but loves eating even more, especially in new cities and cultures.