Living big while maintaining a simple life is doable on some scale for most of us. Making meaningful changes, however small, continue to inch the needle toward the life we want – and need – to live. We put our focus and our hearts on things, people, activities, and places that bring us joy and add to our lives as a conscious effort to create our best life. But is there anything more important in our life to nurture and sustain than our own self? Instead of relegating our own self care to the backburner, a free weekend or a planned staycation retreat can provide just the time and setting for you to rejuvenate and refresh your body and mind. Carving out this valuable time is step one, but mindful time spent will take this personal care retreat from restful to rejuvenating. Let’s look at how you can plan this simple but meaningful time just for you with a suggestions to get you started along with a host of ideas to choose from to create a retreat perfectly tailored to what brings you joy and will recharge your batterie
Finding Your Motivation
With the myriad of challenges vying for our attention every day, a time set aside to focus on centering our mindset will necessarily look different for each person, but it should be step one of this personal retreat. Thinking about what you want to get out of this time, regardless of how many hours or days you can set aside, is crucial to how you will feel at the end.
Set Your Intention
Choosing something to focus on will help you decide how best to spend your time as well as give you something concrete to look towards. Take time to honestly self-reflect on how simple living is manifested in your daily life and what aspects need a little tweaking or a reset to keep a positive, healthy mindset. Maybe this is the perfect time to rethink and reset your emotional well-being, or perhaps you want to concentrate on creating a specific goal for yourself for the upcoming year or season of life. You may be thinking about readjusting your nutrition or diet, or just need time to relax and rejuvenate from the hectic daily life you lead. Whatever you decide on for your focus, beginning with a clear direction in mind will not only help you to choose what activities will best support your goal but will also provide a guidepost to help you navigate towards a feeling of success and accomplishment.
Choosing Activities for Self-Care Time
Since all of us are pulled in different directions with our job, family, and own personal goals, making the time allotted for our own self-care retreat count is important. We have curated some of the best activities for you to choose from based on where and how they best benefit us and our lives. Pick and choose the ones you love or have always wanted to try to create the perfectly balanced but meaningful activities to enjoy during your retreat or staycation.
Even if your focus is not food or nutritionally based, choosing to nourish your body with healthy, easy, and delicious foods and drinks is good for the soul. For a relaxing time, whip up this simple ginger tea to stimulate digestion as well as warm you up from the inside.
A healthy, simple charcuterie board is an easy option since you can nibble on it without having a formal meal and you can include any yummy treats you love to make it special (think adding in the delish chocolate treats that your kids always snag before you can grab them).
A clear mind might mean going alcohol-free during your retreat, so spice up your water intake with some refreshing but fun flavored water for the duration. More than just hydration, these fruit-infused drinks are easy to make and even easier to sip on all day long, making them the perfect minimalist addition to your retreat.
Try these easy ways to create that spa feeling in your own bathrobe:
Allure’s Steps for an Easy Facial:
- double cleanse with an oil-based cleanser
- lightly exfoliate with your favorite product
- apply mask of one whipped egg white + 1 TSP of Greek yogurt, wash off after 15 minutes
- steam pores open over a bowl of hot water with slices of oranges added by draping a towel over your head
- moisturize with your favorite serum or lotion
- lightly massage face with your fingers, a roller, or a gua sha tool
When you are done, soak in the tub with a fun make-ahead bath bomb or set up a soothing bath with one of these combos:
- Rejuvenating: ¼ cup Epsom salts + 2-3 drops each of rosemary essential oil and lemon essential oil
- Relaxing: ¼ cup Epsom salts + ¼ cup of rosewater (use rose petals if you have them, but place into sachet first) + 2-3 drops lavender essential oil
- Detox: ¼ cup Epsom salts + 2 TSP baking soda + 2-3 drops vanilla essential oil + 2 bags of chamomile tea (leave in sachet)
Whether it is taking a leisurely walk around the neighborhood or jumping on a neglected bike to take a spin, make intentional movement part of this self care time. Get up early to watch the sunrise, take a hike nearby, or put on some dance music and have your own living room dance party. Choreographed movement like yoga for relaxation can be a great way to schedule in physical activity, too, and even yoga newbies can participate.
Taking care of yourself can mean trying something new. A few activities like knitting or drawing in adult coloring booksare easy to complete and produce something beautiful (eventually!) for you to keep or give. We all have something that we wish we had learned or participated in, but time – and life – got in our way. Now is the time to schedule that class, buy the supplies, or attend the event you have always wanted to see, knowing you will not only feel better now but in the long run you will feel like a you just ticked a large checkmark in your life to-do list.
Take the Long Way
Sometimes we just need a new perspective to make us feel invigorated and renewed. Consider taking the long way or the more convoluted route in your movements or in your decisions. Instead of taking the fastest path home, for example, take the more scenic way and rediscover the beauty you have been missing. In lieu of completing a task as quickly as possible, savor the steps and enjoy the small joys in your work. If you find yourself chatting with a neighbor on the way to pick up the mail, instead of a brief hello take a moment to connect with them just a little longer. You may find that these shortcuts in life that seemingly give us back fleeting moments in time actually steal some of our joy in living.
Writing in a journal has long been known to provide mental clarity as well as be a relief for many as private thoughts and emotions normally bottled up find a release valve. But for those new to journaling, following a journaling how-to guide to get started can be helpful. Whether you free write, use daily writing prompts, create a gratitude journal, or something else, journaling even a few times can boost mental positivity and begin a lasting, constructive habit to continue long after your self help retreat has ended.
Far from the past concepts of meditating silently while staring off into space in an uncomfortable seated lotus position, modern understanding of meditative mindfulness activities are concrete behaviors you can do at any time to increase your inner peace. From slowed, intentional breathing, to attentiveness to every flavor and seasoning in your food, to spending more time in nature, these simple but effective exercises can make a big impact.
Use some of your personal retreat time to learn a new skill. While new pursuits may take a while to master, learning always helps the neurons fire up in your brain and will increase your “happy hormone,” serotonin. Sitting back down to the piano after decades of disregarded childhood lessons, for example, will flood back movement memory, improving mood and possibly rekindling a forgotten ability through an adult lens. Or try your hand at a strategy-based game or schedule a class to learn to box or paint with oils. Rediscover the joyfulness of learning something new, for the sake of learning, whether you plan to continue it on after your retreat time or not.
Take a Break
Intentionally rest. Allow yourself the luxury of restful time without a watchful eye on the clock. Maybe it means you spend one night alone in a hotel, away from all technology distractions, to really sleep or be alone. As adults, we need between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Most of us live sleep-deprived lives, so taking a nap is actually improving our physical health. Our stressful world puts a premium on busyness but taking a break both physically and from omni-present technology helps our minds and souls to relax and rejuvenate.
There is a reason it is said that nothing is as pure as the laughter of a child. As adults, sometimes we hold in those huge belly laughs to preserve how we want others to see us. Instead, seek out the laughter in your life for its many benefits: to juice up your serotonin levels, to increase the blood flow in your body, and to lower physical and emotional pain you might experience, among its other amazing advantages. Watch a funny movie, scroll by cute animal videos, pull out childhood or family scrapbooks, or do anything that makes you feel like a kid again.
Repurpose something you already have into something new, connecting the philosophy of simple living with refreshing your surroundings at the same time. Without spending much or any money, taking something that you have already, like a front door wreath, homemade holiday ornaments, or a faux arrangement, and making it fresh and new again will revitalize you both. Seeing it with a fresh perspective will not only help you see things with new eyes, but you will enjoy the challenge of repurposing something you love into something you may love more. For creativity ideas, checking with local craft stores and their upcoming classes or online video tutorials will help get the creative juices flowing.
Look for the wonderous beauty in the world, and really look at it for what it is. Gaze at the stars on a clear night. Discover the names and uses for the flowers and herbs in the garden. Look up the types of trees that provide the restorative shade on a hot summer day. Peer down at the tiny inchworm to see his path or follow the fickle butterfly from blossom to blossom, taking in even the tiniest of loveliness in your world.
Help Someone Else
While most of these ideas for a restful and restorative retreat time focus inwardly, you could also choose to help or encourage someone else, too. Counterintuitively, when we give to others we also gain as well. Take a moment to write an unsolicited note of encouragement or email, gather up extra items in good condition and donate them, or schedule a time to be a volunteer tutor or a companion to a lonely nearby senior.