Have you ever dreamed of going to a fancy spa for days on end of pampering and relaxation but don't have the funds or the time? I am going to show you how to create your own wellness retreat at home.
First, I'll let you in on a family secret. My husband doesn’t fully believe in holidays. Not the relaxing-by-the-pool-with-a-cocktail-and-a-book type of holiday at least. He prefers the roughing-it-outback-adventure style of holiday. He's very much a do-er and likes to be busy. He struggles to see the value in sitting around seemingly doing nothing.
Luckily he loves me very much and appreciates our differences. Including my need to do a whole lot of 'nothing' at times.
Pleasure, fun and relaxation are not optional for me. They are the key to my sanity and survival in this crazy ole world. If I don't get plenty of down time, I turn into a sad, grumpy lady, with more than a touch of martyrdom. My darling has come to understand it's best to give the lady what she needs before things get ugly.
Unfortunately, due to COVID related reasons, we have had two little holidays cancelled this year. So rather than leaving my fun and happiness up to the mercurial gods of corona virus, I've taken matters into my own hands. I am creating my own holiday at home. It's my own personal Wellness Retreat designed by an expert in my health and wellbeing - ME!
I thought you might like this idea too. Especially if you are stuck in lockdown or money is tight or your travel plans have been disrupted.
External restrictions can't stop you from enjoying a relaxing break. Because guess what! You can create a relaxing retreat, right in your own home.
With some planning and preparation and a firm resolve to not let anything or anyone invade this special time, you can do this!
The first thing is to treat this like any other holiday you book. Once you’ve booked it in your calender, you’re committed and you get excited about it. It’s a sacred time carved out of ordinary daily life. It’s special. And you’re doing it!
Also know this: YOU ARE ALLOWED!
Many of us feel we should always be doing something, especially at home where there are always things to do and people and animals to look after.
It’s vital that you give yourself permission to take time out just as you would if you were going somewhere else. The only difference is that you will be at home for this holiday.
1. Choose Your Dates and Make a Booking
Just like on an online booking site, choose the dates of your 'staycation'. How many nights will you stay? Two nights? Three nights? Five? And when? Discuss it with your family. Will they be joining in on the retreat? If not, can they make themselves scarce? At the very least, not create any extra work for you?
Book it enough in advance to prepare properly and allow for plenty of excited anticipation – Some of the biggest mental health benefits of a holiday happen in the planning and anticipation phase!
Mark the dates on your calender like they are written in stone. Eliminate all other obligations. Cancel playdates and social outings. Get ready to say things like: ‘Sorry, we can’t babysit your child/dog/gold fish that weekend. We’re busy.’
2. Get Excited: Make Your Wishlist
Start planning. Make a list of fun, relaxing, restorative or creative things you’d love to do during your retreat.
Here are some ideas for starters…..
- get up early to watch the sunrise,
- eat a delicious (pre-prepared) breakfast outside,
- take a bubble bath at 10am,
- read in bed all afternoon,
- sew that dress pattern you’ve been meaning to try,
- play with watercolours,
- sharpen your coloured pencils and colour in while listening to your favourite music or an ebook,
- go for an extra long walk,
- try an online yoga class,
- call a friend you haven’t spoken to in ages,
- paint your toenails,
- give yourself a facial,
- knit a blanket square,
- do a jigsaw puzzle,
- watch a movie,
- mooch around the garden,
Is there an online class you’ve been wanting to dig into? A creative project that’s calling you? Maybe you’d like to get really dressed up and enjoy a special candlelit dinner with your partner? Or are you exhausted and need some deeply rejuvenating down time?
This is your time and normal rules do not apply. You get to do whatever you damn well like. You don’t need to ‘get anything done’. You can be incredibly unproductive and ‘lazy’. Good! That’s the idea. Give yourself a break. Literally. And have some fun while you’re at it.
If unstructured time makes you feel weird and nervous or fall into a pit of lethargy (very common), I suggest you draw up a loose schedule for yourself with times and your chosen activities (even if those activities are non-activities like napping). Then you can still enjoy the fun dopamine hit of ticking things off your to-do list! Just make sure your schedule is flexible and allow plenty of time for each thing.
The whole idea is to reduce stress and promote relaxation and wellbeing - this is not about getting anything done.
3. Whet Your Appetite: Plan your food
A big part of any holiday is the food. This one is no different. Plan lots of yummy things to eat and drink and prepare as much as you can beforehand.
Make a shopping list and a meal plan.
There is nothing like a messy kitchen and a sinkful of dirty dishes to put a downer on your restful retreat so prepare as much as you can beforehand.
If funds allow, you might choose to eat out or get take away for every meal. Or you might consider cooking extra in the weeks leading up to your retreat and put some meals in the fridge or freezer to heat and eat during your staycation.
The idea is minimal effort and fuss during your holiday. Unless cooking is on your wishlist above. Then go all out! Savour the process and enjoy the fruits of your labours.
4. Gather Your Supplies
You have your lists of activities and food. Now it’s time to gather your supplies. You don’t want to be spending your precious retreat time wandering the aisles of Spotlight or Aldi.
Get all your creative supplies ready. Sharpen those pencils. Have you got the right yarn for your crochet project? Scrapbooking supplies? Fabric?
Perhaps visit the library and borrow a couple of books.
Do you have enough candles? I recommend you get more. Candles are important.
What about an indulgent magazine or two? Don’t read them yet!
Line up the podcasts, ebooks or online classes you want to listen to.
Aromatherapy oils? Body scrubs? Bath bombs? Nice soaps? Hair treatment?
Herbal teas, artisan cheeses, chocolates, premium granola, luxury ice cream?
Meals precooked? Or restaurants booked?
WINE! I almost forgot the wine!
Yes? You’re almost ready.
5. Prepare Your Space
The last step is to prepare your space for maximum fun and relaxation.
Again this is all about protecting your precious holiday time. You will not be doing housework or looking at a messy house! Unless that is what you enjoy doing for recreation. Weirdo! Just kidding.
Do your housework prior to your holiday. Most of us try to leave our houses reasonably clean and tidy before we go away on a 'normal' holiday because we know how awful it is to walk into a messy home after having a lovely time away. Think of this the same way. This is a must do and worth every effort.
Catch up on all the washing. Put it all away. Clean the kitchen. Sweep and mop the floors. Dust. Vacuum. Water the plants. Change the sheets. Put out your best clean towels. Prepare your space as if it was a luxury Airbnb and you want five star reviews. After all a very important and cherished visitor is coming to stay - YOU!
6. Enjoy Your Retreat!
Pencils down ladies. Time to go on holiday. This is a big deal. Light a candle and put on some music. This is your wellness retreat opening ceremony! Make it special and memorable.
You may feel weird having a holiday at home and not doing your normal ‘jobs’.
I will say it again: YOU ARE ALLOWED.
If you feel you need anyone else’s permission, here it is:
I give you permission to step out of your normal daily life and create a holiday retreat for yourself for as long as you need.
Your family, your workmates, the world will benefit from a more relaxed, happier you.
Don’t let external restrictions or limitations prevent you from enjoying your life. You have the power to create a nurturing, restorative and FUN retreat for yourself at home. Goodness knows you deserve it.