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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Boost Your Mood With Scented Products

Boost your mood with scented products

How to Boost Your Mood With Beautiful Scented Products 

Scented products like candles, perfume and body lotions can boost your mood.  This article will explain the connection between your sense of smell and your emotions.   You can boost your mood with scent using essential oils and other beautifully scented products. Keep reading to the end because there is an exciting special offer for you.  Note:  This post may contain affiliate links which mean I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.  Please see my full disclosure.

How Our Sense of Smell Influences Our Emotions

We can improve our well-being using our five senses. Read more in this recent post.  The sense of smell is linked to the brain’s limbic system. It is responsible for our emotions, behaviours, sense of smell and long-term memory.  That is why smells bring back memories of happy events.  The smell of coconut body butter takes me instantly to holidays in the Pacific Islands where the scent of coconut oil and tropical flowers permeates the air.

Essential oils are used in Aromatherapy to stimulate the limbic system. That is how they can trigger memories and emotions.  The limbic system plays a role in several unconscious physiological functions like breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.  Hence the reason aromatherapy affects our bodies in such positive ways like reducing anxiety and stress, enhancing sleep and relieving headaches among many. Source: Healthline

Boost your Mood with HideAWAY Products – They Smell Divine.

I have been accepted as an affiliate of HideAWAY, an Australian company. HideAWAY produces a signature range of whipped soaps, soap bars, buddy custards, scrubs and bath time treats.  These products come in the most divine fragrances like tropical punch, frangipani dream, vanilla caramel and pineapple coconut.  So you can create your own day spa at home using bundles containing a variety of their products like whipped soap, body custard and bath salt. 

Layering Scents for a Stronger Aroma

Using 2 or 3 products with the same fragrance layers the scent on your skin, which boosts how strong the scent is.  For example,  use the body wash, body mist and body custard from the same range and you will smell amazing.   Likewise, using the room spray, wax melts and scented candles will give your home a beautiful aroma.

About HideAWAY Products

Ingredients used in their products are all natural, locally sourced and sustainable.  HideAWAY products are beautifully packaged and made here in Australia. Their tropical colours on the packaging suit our aesthetic.  All HideAWAY products are handmade using organic oils and butters that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients that are essential to healthy, radiant skin.

The best news of all is that HideAWAY is having a massive Spring Sale from Thursday 24 – Sunday 27th September. During this store-wide event prices have been slashed. There will be different promotions each day. Please see their website for terms and conditions. I’ll be stocking up on some bubble bath and body custard.

To access the sale, follow this link.

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Shared on Life This Week Linkup on Denyse Whelan Blogs

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2020 – My Unpredictable Year

2020 My Unpredictable Year

2020: The Year That Changed Everything

Who could have predicted how 2020 would pan out?  This has been my most unpredictable year to date, and that’s saying something.  It feels like the rug’s been pulled out from under me, and I’m not alone in feeling that way. It has been an unpredictable year for many reasons, both personal and external. Change and uncertainty can add to the emotional burden of the other world events such as the pandemic.

“Life is What Happens To Us When We’re Making Other Plans”

Allen Saunders, 1957

At the dawn of the New Year I wrote a post Don’t Hold Back.  Full of optimism and excitement for the year ahead, I planned to learn new skills and apply for positions that would take my career into a new direction.  My older son, inspired by my enthusiasm, planned to travel and push his music career to new levels.  We often talk about how our year has not panned out in the way we planned it.

My son had to put his music on hold while we were in lockdown – he couldn’t drive to Brisbane to practice with his band, and gigs were cancelled for months while venues were closed.  He was extremely frustrated – musicians need to perform.  When their creativity is put on hold a major part of themselves is affected.  Travel is also out of the question.

"Life is What Happens to Us When We're Making Other Plans" Allen Saunders.  Fits with this article on how unpredictable 2020 has been.
“Life is What Happens to Us When We’re Making Other Plans” Allen Saunders. Fits with this article on how unpredictable 2020 has been.

Changes in the Family Home

The first shock of the year came when my other son decided to move out.  The Half Empty Nest is the post I wrote at the time when I was going through a grieving process as I came to terms with it.  As it turns out, I’ve coped very well with my son moving out and very soon my other son is leaving too, then I’ll be an empty nester for the first time in 28 years!  It’s wonderful to see my sons “adulting” – they need to move out for their own personal growth.

BRCA2 and its Impact on my Health

The next shock, in February, was my diagnosis of a genetic mutation, BRCA2, which increases my risk of cancer.  At the beginning of this year I would not have believed that I would have four operations, two of them to fix complications from the other two, and that I would have most of this year off work.  My recovery has been prolonged, and at this stage I’m looking at even more time off work. 

 As a Registered Nurse in a busy surgical ward, I am unable to return until I can complete my role 100%, including performing CPR and patient handling.  The loss of that role has been extremely upsetting to me.  I’ve been a nurse for over 30 years and it’s part of my identity.  It’s taking me a while to come to terms with that.  The impact of the surgeries and complications has also taken a toll.  My body is different now, and I have new issues to deal with that will remain with me for life.

Pandemic Pandemonium

March saw the Pandemic drive us all into lockdown.  I doubt if anyone in the world has not been affected in some way from Covid-19.  I’ve been isolated from some of my family since then, and unable to spend time with some of my closest loved ones.  Not being able to travel to be with family during life-changing events like a death in the family, has taken its toll on many of us.  

I’ve now been at home recovering since mid-May, and had time off prior to that for my first operation.  The only positive is that I’ve been able to spend time on my blog, and work on my website to get it the way I want.  I really don’t know how I would have coped without this to do.  I would have gone crazy with boredom!

New Home for Midlifestylist

In the last two weeks I have moved my website from WordPress.com to a different platform.  I’ve been busy trying to get my website back up and functioning.  In the transfer process the last seven blog posts did not migrate to the new host, so I’ve been republishing them.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.  

I am so glad I took the plunge and transferred my website.  The potential is amazing – I have lots of ideas on which direction I want to take Midlifestylist, so watch this space!

Ongoing Health Issues and the Emotional Toll 

In order to cope with massive life changing events and my health issues, my ability to cope emotionally has been under strain.  I’m not coping as well as I was a few weeks ago when I thought that my life would be back to normal by now.  I reached out and I’m going to talk to a counselor to help me to adjust.

I don’t think there’s any shame in admitting that you need counseling.  When your sleep is getting affected, and you’re crying at the drop of a hat, it’s time.  I’ll be looking into other ways to assist as well, like meditation and mindfulness.  Being proactive with your mental health is a sign of strength, not weakness.

I hope this resonates with some of my readers, and they find comfort in the fact that they are not alone in feeling stressed by the unpredictable events of this year.  Our ability to cope with all that 2020 has given us has been pushed to the limit.  Seek help if you’re not coping.  Don’t struggle through on your own.

I need to follow my own advice and take time for self care.  Read my two articles If you’re feeling stressed – Prioritising Self Care and Journalling as a Self Care Activity.

Please share – someone may need to read this today.

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Journalling as a Self Care Activity

Journalling as a Self Care Activity

How Journalling can help you deal with emotions

Journalling may be used as part of your daily self care routine. I have always found journalling to be a very positive way of channeling my emotions into something positive. Writing has always been my preferred form of self expression, ever since I was a teenager. I read my journal from when I was a 17 year old and that was an eye-opener! So much teen-aged angst.

My most productive period of journalling was when I was going through my divorce. I filled whole journals because the emotions I was feeling were often so extreme, and changing day to day, that I didn’t feel like I could share them with other people. A divorce is similar to losing a loved one – it is a type of grieving and it is a type of loss. My journalling helped during my times of loss of my mother, sister and father as well. My confidantes weren’t always available, and therapists weren’t much good at 11pm when I needed them!

Journalling can help with insomnia

I suffer extreme insomnia and can lie awake for hours with my anxious mind working overtime. Journalling is the best way I have of stopping those constant cogs rotating in my brain. As a self care activity, it has obvious advantages – it’s free, it’s easy to do, and you can do it almost anywhere. There are even apps for your phone to record your thoughts.

Self Care Journal Prompts
Journal Prompts to be used as a self care activity

Journalling as a self care activity is a constructive way to deal with your emotions. Just writing them down can clarify those emotions for you and help you to understand how you really feel. Often our emotions are so confusing that it’s hard to put a finger on what it actually is that we’re experiencing. Journalling can help you to frame those thoughts and make sense out of them.

Journal prompts are a great way to start you off when you are journalling. You may just need one journal prompt, or you may want to write something about all of them. I have put together a list of the journal prompts that I find most helpful.

What didn’t go well today?

Start with this if you have had a bad day. Journalling can help to identify the emotion and channel it into a positive activity. Bottling up feelings or using vices like alcohol and drugs to cope, are not positive ways to deal with emotions. They may offer a temporary fix, but the feelings will still be there

What emotion am I feeling? Anger, sadness, guilt, grief, disappointment

Feel the emotion. Write down everything you are feeling. It may help to write a letter to the person you are angry at – not to give to them of course. Some people burn the letter as a way of symbolic release of those emotions, and coming to terms with feelings about that person.

If you still are struggling to cope with extreme emotions after a few weeks, seek help. If you are feeling like self harm or suicide is the only answer, please seek immediate help

What am I Grateful For?

Writing a gratitude list can help us to become more optimistic over time. There is always something to be grateful for, even when things seem really grim. Some suggestions may be:

  • Having a nice meal
  • My job
  • Our home
  • My family
  • Something I am good at
  • The sunshine
  • Rain for my garden
  • My health
  • I am safe and secure

What Have I done for Myself Today?

My recent blog, Prioritising Self Care had some suggestions on self care activities. Self care activities can be small things we do for ourselves like take a walk, have a bath, listen to some uplifting music, read a book or get a professional massage. If you realise you’ve gone the whole day without doing a self care activity, can you finish the day off by doing something? If not, can you start tomorrow off by doing something for yourself?

What were the Good Things I Noticed Today?

This is similar to What am I Grateful For, but it’s all the little things that made you smile. Think of simple things like coffee, sunshine, nice perfume, your pet doing something funny, an uplifting conversation, an enjoyable movie. Today while I was walking my dog I smelt an exquisite perfume – there must have been a tree in bloom because it was very strong but the tree was hidden from view. It’s moments like this that make you smile. The first whiff of coffee brewing always makes my morning routine go well.

When I first had a smart phone I loved the fact that I had a portable camera with me all the time. I loved taking photos of everyday things like birds on a wire, a lovely flower or cloud formations. I had a new appreciation for the beauty around me in the everyday things we take for granted. Try doing this as a simple exercise in boosting your morale.

What Am I Most Looking Forward To?

This year has shown us that life is not about superficial things like prestige and possessions. With restrictions to our activities and losing the freedoms we once took for granted, society has realised that the most important things are our loved ones and our health. Not being able to move around freely has taken its toll. Without a doubt, we are all looking forward to something, and hoping this pandemic gets under control soon so that we can go back to normal life.

Write down what you are most looking forward to.

  • When do I think it will happen?
  • What can I do to aim towards that?
  • If I can’t do it now, is there an alternative thing I can do? (for example, if it’s seeing my family interstate, can I organise a Zoom meeting? If it’s going to the gym, can I do a class online?

Journal Prompts Printable List

I have created a printable list of the journal prompts that you may use to record your journalling. Feel free to use it.

Instructions:

  • Click “Download”
  • Either download to your computer files, or print (top right hand corner)
  • Print as many copies as you like
Self Care Journal Prompts - this free printable may be used as part of your daily self care routine. Journalling can help you to cope with life's stressors by increasing your wellbeing.
this free printable may be used as part of your daily self care routine. Journalling can help you to cope with life’s stressors by increasing your wellbeing.

I hope you find these journal prompts useful. Please comment and let me know of any other journal prompts that you use.

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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

Australian Mental Health Services
Phone and web contact details for Australian Mental Health Services

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