Are you taking time to rest and let your batteries recharge? No but wait, are you really?
If I could guess, your version of self care is putting on a face mask while finishing up on work emails on a Friday night, before you join in 2 scheduled back to back virtual pub quizzes, wine close to hand. You then might pass out on the sofa, before waking up Saturday morning hungover and confused with ZOOM still running and you’ve missed your live streamed Pilates class. The rest of the weekend is a combination of anxiety fueling news scrolling, boredom resulting in family bickerings, that when Monday morning rolls around you feel exhausted and you are bewildered of the reason why? At least your bank balance probably isn’t as violated as it would have been if that virtual quiz was actually a cocktail bar in Clapham… at least there is a silver lining.
My point is, a lot of us don’t have any idea what taking real care of ourselves truly is or what it should look like. Even if we do, we very rarely put any of it into action as a way of avoiding feeling lazy, selfish or any other guilt trip we give ourselves for taking some time out.
As a result and the sad thing being, we don’t actually know how amazing our bodies could potentially and truly feel because we are always operating with our cup half empty.
When I planed to vacate on my own personal retreat this weekend I was looking for ideas online and couldn’t find much… It turns out it didn’t really exist. This is all new terretory for us and it looks like it is here to stay, for at least some time so I thought I needed to create it. I was bored of moping from room to room on the weekend feeling sorry for myself and the whole of the human race because we couldn’t attend bottomless brunch. I was so over the pity party, I was ready to claim back and enjoy my weekend again.
I have just returned from my 1 day personal retreat and can honestly say I had a truly delightful time. Not only do I feel 100 x more revitalised and re-energiesed but I feel in the right head space to deal with whatever could potentially come my way.
So here you have it, my tried and tested, top 10 tips for your very own staycation… but before we begin, preparation is vital…
5 STAGES OF PREPARATION
You want to ensure your space for your retreat is the ultimate sanctuary, the day before or morning of. Do whatever you need to do. For me, this was a range of things including cleaning, dusting, washing everything in sight. Even my plants got a vacuum. By making your space feel comforting and safe, the body and mind are able to move into the parasympathetic (rested) state. Bare in mind the environment you are in often reflects the internal and mental clarity of the mind. So your arm chair turned second wardrobe, turned dog bed turned emergency bin, needs to go. Image how you would prepare your space if you had people coming to stay, people that you’d want to impress. Why not impress yourself? Why give your self anything less that the best?
It is imperative to apply to alll the senses to create realistic retreat vibes:
STAGE 1: Sight – cleaning your environment and surrounding yourself with things that make you happy, candles, plants, whatever it might be.
STAGE 2: Smell – burning incense or putting relaxing essential oils in a diffuser. I recommend lavender.
STAGE 3: Touch – have your favourite comfortable clothes to put on, if this is pyjamas, go for it. If this is something more luxurious then that’s fabulous too.
STAGE 4: Sound – tell Alexa to ‘play relaxing spa music.’ Or you can be proactive and search yourself on YouTube/Spotify.
STAGE 5: Taste – buy in tastey foods that not only appeal to your senses but things you can enjoy that will nourish and fuel your body in the right way.
Now you are set up and ready my top 10 tips for your personal staycation
- PHYSICAL RELAXATION
Before you can expect the mind to relax, the body needs to be onboard. Gentle restorative yoga will help you recharge by slowing you down and giving your body chance to work through tension. You can access free content online, join in any of my classes on YouTube:
Get in books, magazines so you can put your feet up and get nose deep. How long have you had that book on the side that you have been dying to get into? Christmas? 2017…? Now is the time.
Cook up something yummy. You don’t have to go into full Nigella mode, but get creative and see what you can accomplish. I made banana and chocolate chip cookies (basically mini lazy banana bread slices😂).
Not only is it free, variable and accessible from a range of online platforms, but meditation takes you out of stress and survival mode and into a rested state. Only in your rested state can you body heal and repair itself. Meditation doesn’t have to be daunting, you can follow two simple steps: close your eyes, focus on your breath. If you would like someone to guide you through relaxing visualisations have a listen to my free content on Spotify:
Put pen to paper and download the content of your brain. Not only does this reduce anxious and depressive symptoms by gaining a clearer understanding of where your thoughts are coming from, but it also reduces stress. Offload excessive thoughts that occupy the space of your mind.
Putting on uplifting and/or educational documentaries being the key here. Stay far away from programs that drain the life out of you. FYI most things on Netflix. Avoid ‘Don’t F**k With Cats,’ unless you want sleepless nights. Maybe you want to create your very own home cinema and put on a feel good favourite movie of yours. My current favorite is ‘Practical Magic,’ which I cannot get enough off.
Inspirational podcast can change your mindset and motivate you to think and therefore feel better about yourself and your future. Put your headphones in and go for a walk outside. My top suggestions are: ‘UnFu*k Your Brain,’ ‘Modern Goddess,’ ’Wellness Realness,’ ‘The Liz Earl Wellbeing Show,’ and of course, my very own podcast with my bestie Steph, ‘A-Z Wellbeing.’ All free, all on Spotify!
You can put your favourite tunes on and draw, colour, sketch. What exactly? It doesn’t matter! You don’t have to be Van Gogh to get back to basics put pencil to paper, get creative.
9. SKIN & NAIL CARE
Face mask it up, your skin needs TLC too. You can get artistic with this and see what you have in the kitchen. My favorite DIY masks are a combination of honey, olive oil and avocado. If you want full beauty mode, this can also be used on your hair. Just because we are in a pandemic, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look after our hands. Give yourself your own manicure and pedicure.
Give yourself time to step away from the outside world and unplug. This can mean retreating to a space in your house on your own by yourself, or detoxing from social media by LOGGING OUT. Do it, I dare you. I highly recommend going into full detox mode and turn your devices off! Even if it’s just for 1 hour. This really makes us realise how much screen time we not only use but depend on and crave, it is good to not only give our eyes, but our minds a break too.
You can do as little or as many of these as you like, remember its YOUR staycation. So sit back, relax and enjoy.
It’s important to remember that despite us prefering to Summer in the South of Spain, the South side of the house might just have to do for now.
The overwhelming enjoyment I had during my home retreat made me realise I need to hold a retreat myself… one for everyone to join! So watch this space… more exciting info on virtual retreat coming very soon!
All things love, light and laughter