Photo by Renata Fraga on Unsplash
For us travel lovers, it’s easy to get caught in the idea that we need to get away to hit the reset button on life, but a self-care getaway can be had anytime, anywhere.
The dark days of winter are upon us, the festive holidays have passed and while the fresh start of New Years is inspiring, we all know that well-intended resolutions often fade into yet another box that we feel pressured to check off.
If you’re feeling disconnected, anxious or always dreaming of being somewhere else (ahem, talking to you fellow globetrotters), it may be time you gave yourself a winter self-care retreat.
No, that doesn’t mean soaking in a crystal-infused bathtub or getting a massage (although that sounds lovely and you should do that too). It means taking intentional action to reconnect with yourself and tune into your inner voice…the voice that always knows what you really need.
You can plan a personal retreat to do on your next vacation, or at home. It can take up a couple hours, a full day, or even a week. The most important thing is that it works for your own needs, schedule and space.
First, decide the why, where, when and what of your personal retreat and protect that time fiercely.
Winter Self Care Retreat Itinerary
This winter retreat outlined below is all about hitting reset and reconnecting with your own inner voice.
The key to a successful and relaxing retreat is to prep everything ahead of time. Let your family know that you’ll be unreachable. The night before, prep your food and drinks; find a journal and pen; and gather any items you’ll need to create a calming space, like candles, blankets, and comfy clothes.
10-20 minutes | Start with a clean slate
Rise naturally if possible. Then grab pen and paper and write down everything rumbling around in your head as you woke up. Your writing doesn’t need to be good. It doesn’t even need to make sense at this point. Just write down every thought that comes up. If you’re starting later in the day use this exercise to let go of the day’s events and clear your head for your retreat.
10-20 minutes | Do a guided meditation
Once you’ve drained your brain of all the chatter (for now at least), sit still for just 10-15 minutes (longer if you can) in meditation. I love guided meditations, especially if you have a hard time meditating on your own.
5 minutes | Turn on a purposeful playlist
Put on a playlist that supports your intention. Since this self-care retreat focuses on reconnecting with yourself, an instrumental playlist would work since it plays nicely as background music. But if you have a playlist with lyrics that you love and encourages introspection, go for it.
Try: “Most Relaxing Songs Ever” playlist on Spotify for songs neuroscientists have dubbed the most anxiety reducing or “Daydreamer” for something a little more energizing.
5-10 minutes | Make a supportive drink
The best sips for this moment are drinks that will make you feel alert and focused but not too caffeinated or jittery. Green, white or herbal tea is good for this. Wine could do as well if that’s the vibe of your retreat.
1-2 hours | Read something new
Take an hour or so to read something you normally wouldn’t read. If you always read non-fiction or self-improvement books, pick up fiction. If you only read magazines or the occasional fiction book, pick up something more substantive. The idea is to exercise your mind in fresh ways.
Related: 9 Books for Self-Discovery
30 minutes – 2 hours | Move mindfully
Find a way to move your body that you will truly enjoy. Put aside any notion of what you’re “supposed” to do during a retreat and ask yourself what would feel good right now.
Maybe that’s a yoga video, or perhaps it’s a hike in nature or a walk through an inspiring neighborhood. Play with your dog in the park, have a solo dance party, whatever movement feels good to you today…do that.
1 hour | Prep and eat a feel-good meal
The key here is to eat something nourishing and light that will make you feel good. Choose fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts over refined carbohydrates (aka white bread, pasta, processed crackers) and sugar which will just make you tired and foggy-headed. Eat slowly and mindfully without distraction.
1-2 hours | Time to play!
Play is so important to wellbeing and it’s the first thing that goes out the window when we start #adulting. As you’re prepping your retreat, ask yourself how you’d like to create space for playful creativity.
Some ideas: painting, drawing, writing poetry, knitting, doing a DIY craft, flower arranging or photography. The only rule is that it’s something done with your own two hands. No computer or phone screens, please.
30 minutes | Relax and revive
Ok here’s the part we’re all dying to get to—the spa session. Being that this is winter retreat, a hot bath is in order. Gather you bathtub recipe (or use mine below), bring a drink, set up your cozy slipper and robe, grab your music or a book and get to soaking.
Try: Sprinkle 5 drops of neroli essential oil (uplifting and citrusy, perfect for winter) and 5 drops of cedarwood essential oil (grounding and stress relieving) into a cup of Epson salts and pour into your bath.
10-15 minutes | Close with reflective journal prompts
Now that you’ve spent time in a calming environment, cleared your head, read, moved, ate a clean meal and got creative…all in ways that felt good to you, it’s time to sit back down with your journal and answer a few prompts to close out your retreat.
The goal of everything you’ve done up until now was to get you back in touch with your own intuition and to uncover a bit more of your true self–the part of us that gets buried underneath what everyone else expects from us.
The journal prompts will help you reflect on how you felt during your winter self-care retreat and how to keep your intuitive spark alive back in “real life.”
Which moment(s) of the day made you feel most connected to your true self?
Describe how that feels in 3-5 words.
How can you carve small moments into your daily routine that would help you feel that way more often?
Plan Your Next Self-Care Retreat
Don’t wait until you feel burnt out to take a personal retreat. Reconnect with yourself on the regular and it’ll become easier and easier to integrate mindful routines into your everyday life.