A self-care retreat sounds pretty amazing in the middle of 2020… time to relax, reflect and take care of yourself. But that probably costs $5,000 and takes place in Bali, right?
Not. At. All. You can absolutely create your own self-care retreat at home or locally. Here are a few steps to creating your dream self-care retreat for the refresh and refuel that you need.
Choose your logistics
First, pick a date. This gives you something to look forward to! Plus, I do recommend that you book one thing if you can. This could be booking an Airbnb and having your retreat there, or perhaps booking a massage or facial. It just depends on what you want to bring into your retreat and what your budget is.
Once you’ve chosen a date, protect it.
Make sure that you have the day to yourself, without interruptions. Consider whether your home can be a quiet and private place to have the retreat, or if you should go somewhere else.
You don’t necessarily have to book an Airbnb or a hotel! You could have your retreat in a park, on a trail, by some water, anywhere you like!
Incorporate all 8 dimensions of wellness
The eight dimensions of wellness are a great way to help you ensure that you’re caring for every part of yourself during your retreat. Choose at least one thing from each dimension to bring into your day. Once you’ve chosen your list of activities, you can loosely organize them and decide how you want to spend the day.
Physical: anything that cares for your body.
Examples: yoga, a healthy snack, dancing, hiking, walking, running, swimming, cycling, any exercise, holistic supplements, a bath, massage, facial, manicure or pedicure, dry brushing, drinking a favorite cup of tea, doing a more thorough skincare routine, getting extra sleep.
Mental: anything that either stimulates your mind or helps it relax!
I recommend choosing one of each. Examples: Reading a book, listening to an audiobook, listening to a podcast, watching a documentary, writing or journaling, meditation, a guided visualization, practicing a new language, playing a musical instrument.
Emotional: anything that helps you process your emotions.
Examples: journaling, grounding meditation, naming your emotions and noticing where you feel them in your body, identify particular things in your life that you want to say “yes” to, and others that you need to say “no” to, checking in with your therapist, writing a gratitude list, writing or saying positive affirmations, listening to music that evokes emotion, giving anonymously to a charity you care about.
Social: anything that helps you connect with others.
Examples: calling a friend or family member, playing with your pet, going to a place where you can be around others such as a park or coffee shop, having lunch with a friend, creating a care package and sending it to someone you love, ending your retreat day with your significant other.
Spiritual: anything that helps you connect with your deeper self and your higher power.
Examples: reading a spiritual text, prayer, lovingkindness meditation, engaging with your faith community, any kind of spiritual ritual, sage smudging, writing letters to people who you need to forgive, or need to apologize to (don’t send them).
Occupational: anything that helps you engage in meaningful work (not just your job!).
Examples: reflecting on your career and where you want it to go, brainstorming ideas for a side hustle, gardening or growing house plants, building something, playing a musical instrument, drawing, painting, making any kind of craft, cooking, identifying any areas where you’re feeling burned out.
Financial: anything that helps you manage your finances and assets responsibly.
Examples: doing your retreat within your budget, determining a budget, reviewing the accounts you have including savings, retirement, etc; reviewing your bank statements and cutting out any unnecessary subscriptions, opening a savings account, choosing something special you want to save up for and create a plan for how to do that.
Environmental: anything that helps you live in harmony with both your individual environment (your home) and the greater environment.
Examples: be outside in nature, go on a hike, ride your bike on a trail, go outside barefoot and feel the earth, research ways to be more eco-friendly in your daily life, gardening, declutter a room in your home, clean or organize.
Gather any tools you need
Think about the self-care activities you’ve chosen. What do you need? Perhaps it’s an app, a video, a book, a recording, an outfit, your laptop, headphones, music, a journal, equipment, or recognizing that you’ll need a specific location. Don’t forget food and drinks!
Gather up all these tools ahead of time so that you’ll have everything you need for your retreat.
Set your intention
Set just one intention for your self-care retreat. To determine your intention, think about how you want to feel at the end of your retreat, or perhaps what you want to accomplish. Word your intention in a more certain language, such as moving from “I want to feel more refreshed” to “I will feel refreshed.”
A few examples of “feel” intentions:
I will be well-rested.
I will be peaceful.
I will feel love for myself.
I will feel love for others.
I will feel love for my body.
A few examples of “accomplish” intentions:
I will connect with my deeper self.
I will reflect on my career goals.
I will care for my body.
I will care for my mind.
I will process the emotions I feel from ____.
Use your intention as the theme for your self-care retreat. See how every activity you choose can be incorporated into that theme.
Protect Your Self Care Retreat
Protecting your retreat is absolutely essential if you’re going to have it at all. First off, make sure that you’re truly “off” that day. If you take a day off work, make sure you can’t be reached. Change your voicemail and set your email on auto-reply.
If you’re doing your retreat on a weekend, you still have to make sure you are fully off! That could mean finding a babysitter or a pet sitter or making sure that normal weekend errands are taken care of.
On the day of your retreat, silence your phone! Silence notifications, take social media apps off your phone for the day if you have to. And if you must check your phone, do it at a designated time (like lunchtime) and for a specific amount of time only. Set a timer, check your phone, and shut it back off when the timer goes off.
If you have certain circumstances that require being around your phone more, you already know those and I’m not going to tell you what to do! I just want to encourage you to truly take a retreat day for yourself, and to be with yourself as much as possible. Most of the time, our phones aren’t being used to communicate an emergency. They’re usually used to distract us and draw our attention away from the deeper work, the intention, that brings us to our self-care retreats in the first place.
Allow yourself to create a day that is truly crafted for you and your specific intention, and then enjoy the day! You deserve to take time out to reflect, refresh and engage in those parts of you that don’t get enough attention.