By Brooke Larrabee
Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort. ” – Deborah Day
If you are like me you drool over pictures of wellness retreats in exotic places with infinity pools that seem to blend perfectly into the blue ocean or look out over thousands of acres of pristine rain forest. If you are like me you would not turn down a Swedish massage or a mud wrap in a beautiful spa or the chance to do yoga on a white sand beach somewhere deliciously warm. If you are like me those things might be just a little beyond reach at times BUT that does not mean you should not be able to rest and recharge just as much with your very own wellness retreat. With a little planning and creativity you can come home feeling just as recharged and rejuvenated as if you had spent your weekend here (well maybe…these do look pretty awesome).
Here are the 3 important components of a do-it-yourself retreat:
1. A Change of Scenery
If you are going to plan your own wellness retreat it’s important to physically change locations – go somewhere where you are away from dishes, laundry, bills to pay. There are ways to do this that can fit any budget:
- Find an Airbnb – You can find some amazing deals renting a place directly from owners in nearby cities, or even in your own!
- Stay with a friend – Who do you know who lives within an easy drive or bus ride? Hit them up to see if you can come get away from it all and visit them to boot. Let them know what you are up to. Maybe they will want to join you in making self-care the theme of the weekend.
- Go with a group – Pitch to your friends that you need a wellness weekend. Often a bunch of people going in on a house rental and sharing gas money can end up making the trip really affordable and who wouldn’t want a weekend dedicated solely to pampering and relaxing?
- Camping – Spending time in nature has been proven to reduce stress. Load up the car and pick a gorgeous location to pitch your tent (just don’t forget to throw in your yoga mat!)
2. Take Care of the Physical
- The food – Would you be okay with having a personal chef creating you gorgeous organic meals from scratch? You already know what I’m going to say here don’t you? Be your own personal chef. Bring healthy, nourishing foods with you or make an adventure out of visiting the local natural food store wherever you are. If having to cook would really ruin it for you, often natural food stores will also have a really incredible deli where you can get amazing food for a fraction of the cost of eating out. Grab dinner to go and find an inspiring view to eat in front of.
- Get moving – Okay, your friend’s house or the campground does not probably have a variety of fitness classes offered three times a day, BUT the great thing is you can still do whatever it is that you love to do to get your body moving. One of my favorite ways to see a new place is by going for an early morning run. There are a million yoga videos out there you can download for free and take to the park or rooftop. One of my favorites is Yoga With Adriene and I particularly love this simple sweet sequence that she leads from a dock on Anderson Island. If you are into Balle Barre or Pilates find a local gym that offers those classes – often they will let you try one class out for free.
3. Take Care of the Mental
We can eat all the organic food we want and workout three times a day, but if we aren’t taking the time to attend to our mental well-being we may come back from the retreat feeling just as frazzled as when we left. Here are some easy (no-cost) ways to work mental care into your personal wellness retreat.
- Bring your journal – Taking time for self-reflection – to remember the things that are most important in your life, to express gratitude for the things you have, to spend time dreaming of how you would like to grow, to just being creative – is vital to our health and happiness.
- Spend time outside – You have probably noticed that most exclusive wellness retreats are located in places with incredible natural surroundings. This is not a coincidence! Nature is inspiring and relaxing. Make a point of taking time to walk through whatever local park the town you are visiting is known for.
- Turn off the phone – I will admit this is one of the hardest things for me to do, but if you haven’t done a technology detox in a while it might surprise you just how rejuvenating it can be. I have a friend I like to visit who doesn’t get cell service where she lives and at first that always kind of stresses me out a little and by the end of the weekend I just love the feeling of not “checking-in” all the time. See if you can make yourself take a little hiatus from the screen.
- Meditation – Okay, I feel like I’m always trying to find ways to plug meditation but it is really one of the cornerstones of my own personal wellness regime, so I’ll keep plugging it whenever possible. It doesn’t cost anything but can have a dramatic positive impact on your life. Find a local meditation center wherever you are visiting or just find a beautiful quiet sit spot where you can take a little time to be still and breathe.
Wellness is within everyone’s reach no matter the budget. Remember that self-care is not selfish! You deserve a break and a personal wellness retreat might be just the ticket. Be happy, be healthy, be well!
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Brooke Larrabee, a Master Certified Health Coach and Health and Wellness blogger. She is a mom of two little ones, an avid runner and yogi, loves cooking fresh healthy whole foods and spends as much time in her garden and outdoors as possible. You can find her writing featured in Elephant Journal, LiveWell Collective and Trail Sisters. She has a background in nutrition, coaching, and health and wellness, and finds her inspiration in helping others find ways to live their happiest, healthiest lives. Follow her on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.