DIY Summer Retreat: A Heavenly Experience Created in The Comfort Of Yo - Goodness Me!

DIY Summer Retreat: A Heavenly Experience Created in The Comfort Of Your Own Home

August 16, 2018 6 min read

DIY Summer Retreat: A Heavenly Experience Created in The Comfort Of Your Own Home

I’ve been a physiotherapist and health coach for a decade and one of the most powerful ways to heal and recover from pain, stress and injury - is to take a vacation!

As much as I’d love to take credit for the yoga therapy, acupuncture, hands on massage therapy and overall life advice that I provide, what I’ve realized that people need more than anything else - is a mini getaway.

I moved from the outskirts of Toronto all the way to Grimsby so I can run wellness retreats for others because I see how it is so vital for our health. I realized how much I needed a rejuvenation for myself when the responsibilities started piling on - promotions, mortgage, and kids!

And there’s no better way to do that than to go on a much-needed retreat. Canadians don’t take as much vacation time as they’re allotted, especially the city folk. They say they don’t have time for it. Some are worried that there will be even more work when they come back. My favourite excuse is that they say they don’t know how to sit around and do nothing!

Why Retreats are Essential to Our Health and Wellbeing

We all need a retreat sometimes, not just a vacation. Going away for business, visiting family, or going sightseeing isn’t exactly rejuvenating - even though it may be adventurous or ‘nice’.

As a modern society, we do not take enough time to do nothing, meditate, relax, play or be creative. We are always on the GO! We do a lot of work, so much that even our play has turned into work. When we ‘exercise’ it’s working out. When we ‘play’ sports, we become weekend warriors and go all out (and injured). And all of our relaxing time is spent collapsed on the couch numbing ourselves with Netflix, Facebook and YouTube videos. That’s not exactly rejuvenating.

A retreat is a kind of vacation you take where you are taking time toconsciouslyandmindfullyslow down, unplug, do some reflection, have some personal growth and just reset. It can give us inspiration. It can spark a passion. It can provide some clarity on what next action steps we need to take in our lives.

It makes you holistically well because a carefully crafted retreat will get you doing things you need to live a more balanced and holistic life.

DIY Retreat is Easier Than You Think

You can create a retreat in the comfort of your own home or somewhere local if there are too many distractions at home. It’s way easier than you think and it will cost you a fraction of what it would be to hop on a plane and fly to Bali for a week.

What you’ll need:

  • A yoga mat
  • Essential oils and diffuser
  • A couple of good books
  • A journal
  • A bathtub and bath essentials (scrubs, moisturizers)
  • Access to nature
  • Tidy and minimal space, preferably outdoors

What You DON’T Need:

  • Incessant checking in with the world through your phone
  • Television via YouTube or NetFlix
  • Other distractions like pets and children
  • People around who don’t get what you’re doing

How to Plan Your Life-Changing and  Much-Needed DIY Retreat

To pull off a good retreat, it requires some planning.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Block off a full 36 -48 hours for your retreat in your calendar.
  2. Set up your automated e-mail and phone messages telling everybody that you will be away and unable to access your devices.
  3. Go grocery shopping and plan your meals for this period of time.
  4. If your house is too messy or there are too many distractions, book a private room at a  Bed & Breakfast where you will have a bathtub and access to nature.
  5. If you’re having your retreat at home or with a friend at a friend’s house, then make sure the house is very tidy and clear of distractions like kids and pets and pesky spouses :)
  6. Pack your stuff and get ready to chill out.

The Necessary Components of a Life-Changing DIY Home Retreat

  • Nature Therapy - Be bathed by the sounds, smells and feels of going through a forest or peaceful garden. If you don’t have your own zen garden or forest, you should head out to a quiet park.Spend at least one hour outside in nature walking or doing yoga being truly inspired by Mother Nature.
  • Meditation - It isn’t as hard as people make it out to be. Meditation doesn’t mean to clear your mind of all thoughts. You could meditate while you walk, do yoga, garden or take a bath. Keep focusing on your breath and when your mind wanders, keep bringing it back to what you’re doing. What helps with meditation is having essential oils on a diffuser. I particularly like lavender and clary sage.
  • Book - A good read that helps you become healthier and happier is a must for your at- home retreat. I recommend Discover the Power of Food by Janet Jacks if you haven’t read it already. Her story is truly inspiring and motivating! Joyous Health by Joy McCarthy is a great book that teaches you how to live well. It’s so important to learn different stories, perspectives and lessons from others who have paved the way to a healthier and more joyful life. Personal growth is so important for a retreat to make an impact on your life.
  • Food - Eat simple, nourishing whole foods that are mostly plant-based. Read Janet’s book if you’re not sure what to eat. Or pop into a Goodness Me! store and stock your fridge with fresh green juices, fruits and pre-prepared foods. That way, you won’t have to spend too much time cooking, unless you really love it and you find it therapeutic and meditative.
  • Journal - Spend some time journaling your thoughts, your goals, your dreams. The purpose of journaling is that you spend the time reflecting on your thoughts. Get them out on paper and you will feel so much more optimistic about life. 

  • Self Love - I love a retreat where you can get pampered. I recommend a good bath with epsom salts and essential oils. You can use lavender and bergamot. You can bathe for a good 30 minutes and finish off with a body scrub and face scrub. Then make sure you polish off your skin with a good moisturizer. Getting rid of excess dead skin and buttering up your body just feels so deliciously good you’ll wonder why you don’t do this more regularly! (and it’s also very meditative!)
  • Sleep - Make sure you get at least 8 hours of restful sleep. Even if you feel awake, force yourself to lie down for 8 hours. Our bodies can often become restless and we have to train our body to relax for that long. Essential oils before you sleep will help. Try this amazing blend that will keep you having sweet dreams.

Final Words…

Creating your own retreat is a pretty powerful thing. You’re taking time out of your busy schedule to do what’s really important in your life. It’s up to you how much time you dedicate to journaling, meditating, walking, doing yoga, sleeping, etc. It doesn’t have to be perfect and there is no right way. It’s whatever makes you feel relaxed and recharged. If by the end of it you say to yourself, I need to do this more often, then you did it right!

I would love to know how your DIY Retreat went. How did you feel after? What did you learn or realize? Leave a comment below.

Author Bio:

Nancy Ma started her career as a physiotherapist helping people find freedom in the physical body. She helped patients recover from injury and overcome hurdle after hurdle to be pain-free. She discovered yoga 5 years ago as a way to help people deal with stress and balance their life.

As she became more experienced as a life coach and being a mom of two young children, her scope expanded to helping people find freedom in their life.

Nancy moved to the country with her small family where she wanted to raise her children in a traditional farm and natural setting. She teaches at a local yoga studio and runs health and wellness retreats from her home.

Nancy Ma

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