Revitalise By Attending a Health and Wellness Retreat

Revitalise by Attending a Health and Wellness Retreat

Attending a Retreat Reminds Us to Value Ourselves

Revitalise yourself by attending a health and wellness retreat. Spending time in a retreat allows us to spend quality time in self care activities such as yoga, meditation and self reflection. Using this time to dedicate our attention on our own needs reminds us to value ourselves. We recognise that we are valuable enough to take time out of our busy schedules to refresh and revitalise ourselves. We can’t care for others if our own cup is empty.

I thought I was getting enough time for self care this year.  It feels like the whole year has been devoted to self care.  But I didn’t realise that I still had room for improvement in this area.  Having spent the morning at the health and wellness retreat, I have discovered that there are some areas of my life that I need to concentrate on.

The Health and Wellness Retreat

The Health and Wellness Retreat was a yoga and self care retreat organised by Carol Wedenberg of Harmony and Healthy Yoga, and Sue Loncaric of Women Living Well After 50.  It was a wonderful way to spend a morning.  I finally got to meet Sue who I’ve known through blogging for the last year or so.  Sue took the self care component of the retreat and it was very worthwhile.  

Numala is a blissfully serene studio in the middle of the Gold Coast rainforest with only the sound of birds and a wind-chime to break the silence.  All the equipment was good quality and clean.  It was easy to feel relaxed and calm in this beautiful setting.

The group of ladies who were there were all on a similar path – trying to carve time out in their busy schedules for self care.  We really felt supported to participate in the group sessions and we could relate to what the other ladies were saying.  It is a testimony to Sue and Carol that they could inspire such warm connections within a group of people who were mostly strangers, in such a short period of time.

The peace and serenity of the rainforest allows you to revitalise.  Photo of a rainforest, representing the rainforest retreat Numala which was the location of the Health and Wellness Retreat
Peace and Serenity Allows You to Revitalise

Creating a Self Care Plan

Sue’s Self Care session helped me to revisit those activities I once loved, that I no longer take time to do.  Using those activities we then could create a self care plan to revitalise those activities in our daily schedule.  There was an emphasis on creating a self care plan because we need to schedule time for ourselves just like all the other tasks we need to complete in a day.

One glaringly obvious area I have been neglecting is my creative side.  That may seem strange when I spend much of my day writing my blog and creating infographics and images for it.  But even though that is creative in a way, I’ve focused much of my blog on raising awareness of medical issues like breast cancer.  Because of what I’ve gone through this year with my own health, I’ve begun to lose the joy of just writing, not with a mission in mind, but just for the creative release.

My Self Care Plan is About Revitalising My Creative Side

When we were children, mum encouraged our creative side through drawing, cartooning, writing and music.  We were lucky to have such a creative and art-filled life.  I’ve always loved being creative and expressing myself through writing.  I feel that I need to return to my roots and write for pleasure again.  I’ve signed up to a creative writing challenge during November to get those juices flowing again.  I feel that if I start being creative again then my other writing will be more enjoyable as well.

Using the activities provided by Sue, I have created a self care plan that incorporates time to be creative. The insight and inspiration that I gained at the retreat helped me to focus on this area of myself that I have been neglecting. Making time in my schedule to be creative will now be a priority.

Mindfulness and Meditation are activities that relax and revitalise us.  Image of a woman in a child's pose (yoga)
Mindfulness and Meditation are activities that relax and revitalise us.

Yoga For Our Health and Wellness

My surgeon wants me to prepare my body for work again.  My recovery from bilateral mastectomies has been very slow, but I’m now at the tail end of the recovery phase.  One of the best things to happen this week was that my surgeon finally approved yoga.  I’ve really missed it and I know that yoga will help strengthen my upper body again.  His approval to recommence yoga practice came just in time.

Carol led us in two wonderful yoga sessions and a daily altar session at the health and wellness retreat.  The yoga was challenging but she was very supportive of those of us who weren’t up to doing all the poses, while incorporating enough for the experienced yogis.  It feels amazing to be able to do yoga again. Yoga is holistic and not only strengthens our bodies, it also strengthens our minds as it requires some concentration.

I normally do my yoga at home using a YouTube subscription as I find that works well for me.  Knowing how out of shape I am I started right back at the beginning with beginners’ yoga.  I’m waking up muscles that haven’t been used in a long time. My body is really feeling it – sore shoulders and neck, increased swelling in my chest and pain in my chest muscles.  I know it will help and I’ve got to take it slowly and gradually work up my strength and stamina.  Attending the retreat has inspired me to continue to build up my strength using yoga.  

Take time to pause.  It is important to includes self care activities such as yoga, into our busy schedule, as it revitalises us.  We can't care for everyone else if our cup is empty.
Image of a yoga position, legs crossed, hands on knees with the thumb and forefinger touching and other fingers outstretched.
Take time to pause. It is important to includes self care activities such as yoga, into our busy schedule, as it revitalises us. We can’t care for everyone else if our cup is empty

The Daily Altar

The daily altar was new to me and reminded me of being mindful – connecting to the natural environment and really seeing things we usually take for granted like leaves, coal, flowers and stones.  I created my mandala with yellow leaves, black coal and purple flowers.  They reminded me of how my year has been – like rising out of the ashes phoenix-like, and buds blooming into flowers.

My Daily Altar Mandala at the Health and Wellness Retreat was made up of coal, yellow leaves and purple flower buds.  These are laid out on a cleared area of the ground in a mandala shape.  They represent myself rising out of the ashes like a phoenix.
My Daily Altar Mandala at the Health and Wellness Retreat was made up of coal, yellow leaves and purple flower buds. These are laid out on a cleared area of the ground in a mandala shape. They represent myself rising out of the ashes like a phoenix.

Carol led us on a guided meditation to conclude the retreat. With only the sound of birds in the trees and the occasional soft sound from the wind-chime, we were lulled into a restful state. The meditation was blissful and the atmosphere was definitely enhanced by the setting.

Future Health and Wellness Retreats

I will definitely be signing up for any further retreats as I gained so much out of this one.  It just goes to show you, we all could do with a reminder to spend time in self care activity.  I received a lovely journal because I signed up as an early bird.  I love it!  The prompts are great and will really help me to get back into journaling again.  When you write a lot for business (my blog) you don’t write for pleasure and I feel I need to do that again as I really miss it.

Sue and Carol plan to continue organising retreats, including online sessions for those who don’t live near the Gold Coast of Australia.  Their websites are:

Harmony and Healthy Yoga – Carol Wedenberg.  There are on-line yoga classes available.

Women Living Well After 50 – Sue Loncaric.  There are many resources for living a healthy lifestyle, including podcasts and YouTube videos.


The Retreat information is at this link

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Prioritising Self Care

Prioritising Self Care Builds Resilience

Many people have remarked on how well I’m coping with all the setbacks I’ve faced in my life, especially this year. Developing resilience doesn’t come naturally, it needs to be learned and nurtured. I thought I’d share some of the ways I incorporate self care into my daily routine, and hopefully inspire others to develop their own resilience.

Until I prioritised my own self care needs, I was a bundle of nerves to the point of social anxiety. I had difficulty enforcing my boundaries so that I was a punching bag for others’ abuse. My self esteem was so low that I had absolutely no confidence. If I did speak up I was knocked back down so I built up barriers and sunk into my shell.

I went to therapists and they helped to some extent but I still lacked confidence. Getting really fit helped with my self image but I was still lacking in self esteem. Even though my external appearance was the best it had been for years, my inner self was struggling with self doubt and negativity. I was rushing around trying to fit all my responsibilities into my daily routine, which left little time for myself.

Prioritising Self Care Builds Self Esteem

The real change came last year, when I finally lost a lot of weight. I had a coach for my weight loss program who rang me every three weeks, not only to set goals with me, but also to give me positive feedback about my progress. Having that regular contact helped me lose over 17kg and graduate early from the program.

That success gave me so much confidence. The changes I had made included regular exercise, a new healthy diet with lots more vegetables and the joy of cooking and gardening. With it came the realisation that I had to prioritise self care.

My top tips for self care are:

  • Get outdoors daily. Natural light is better for you
  • Ladies wear makeup (even just tinted moisturiser and mascara) even when you’re not going out, and men shave. You feel better about yourself when you’re groomed. It goes without saying, but shower and brush your teeth too. You’d be surprised how many people don’t, as a nurse you see it all. Wear clothes that make you feel good, and that make you look good too.
  • Exercise daily, even just a walk. You will get natural endorphins.
  • Eat healthy food and drink plenty of water. Eating junk food depletes your energy and will have long-term repercussions if you base your diet around it.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re tired, rest.
  • Have regular massages, beautician visits or manicures purely for the enjoyment of it. If this is outside your budget, you can do at-home spa sessions . My favourite routine is a soak in a bubble bath with a face mask on, and lovely soft music playing, followed by beautiful scented body lotion. I definitely make time and room in my budget for regular professional massages though because it helps me manage my chronic back pain.
  • Listen to the sound of water. We have a pond with a fountain and the sound is so relaxing. You can get the same effect from white noise apps or a small water feature. Bubble baths, swims in the ocean and looking at waves lap on the shore are also calming.
Tips for prioritising self care collage
Tips for self care
  • Practice gratitude. Regularly write down a list of all the things you’re grateful for. Thank other people too, it goes a long way.
  • Spend time with your pets and loved ones. If you have young children or grandchildren play with them. Being around pets and children allows you to see things from a different perspective. Play games with them and their laughter will cheer you up.
  • Hug someone! Social distancing laws made this impossible and a lot of people struggled with not being able to have physical contact with their loved ones. I really missed not being able to hug my best friend and relatives that didn’t live with us.
  • Do something creative for example drawing, painting, baking, music or writing. I found a great colour-by-numbers App, very similar to the paint-by-numbers paintings we did as children. It’s so relaxing. Jigsaws are also calming.
  • Write in a journal daily – my article Journalling as a Self Care Activity has free printable journal prompts to get you started.
  • Use your brain – do crosswords, puzzles or Sudoko. Learn something new like a language or skill.
  • Read books written by people who are inspiring in some way. I’ve read a lot of books by people who have faced the worst adversities and come through them. That gives me confidence to tackle anything that comes my way.
  • Have less screen time. Avoid reality TV especially – it’s just trash. Only watch news from trustworthy sources – don’t get all your knowledge from Facebook and Instagram. Knowledge is power, so don’t get sucked into believing everything you read or hear.
  • If you’re sick stay home. I know we’ve heard that constantly this year but I’m shocked by how many people go to work and school when they are sick. By resting and recuperating your body has a chance to heal. If you’re working and mixing with other people, it takes a lot longer to fully recover and you’re passing it on to other people. Those people may have compromised immunity or other health issues which would lead them to develop much worse illnesses than you.
  • Most important – reach out to someone if you are not coping. There are resources there to help you. Avoid people who suck your energy from you or make you feel worse. These are some help lines available in Australia:
Australian Help lines for people struggling mentally
Help lines in Australia for people struggling

Once you start prioritising self care, it will become part of your daily routine. It will be easier for you to assert your boundaries and say no to people. Your confidence will grow, and you’ll feel so much better within yourself. You will be more resilient when life throws unexpected stresses and crises your way.

Go on, you deserve it.

Please share if you enjoyed my article. I would love to hear what your tips for self care are in the comments below.

Please note: I am not a registered mental health practitioner. The information provided in this article is for general informational and educational purposes only and should not replace information provided by your own mental health practitioner. Please refer to my Disclaimer

https://www.denysewhelan.com.au/denyse-blogs/share-your-snaps-5-25-51-lifethisweek-50-2020/

Midlife Share the Love party

Shared at the above Link-up parties

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