Have you seen this Dry January parody reel on Instagram? It is so accurate about how we talk ourselves out of something that is well-intentioned and could be good for us. Dry January will come and go, but the real test is how we sustain a healthy self-care routine that lasts. For me, yoga is the best of self-care -it strengthens my body and calms my mind, and there is a lot of science on how yoga calms the nervous system and helps you restore the mind/body connection. I shared recently my 5 steps for your next adventure in 2023 – this week I’m sharing how a weekend yoga retreat helped me get into the flow of a New Year. A quick story on my yoga retreat experience and then I’ll share 5 self-care strategies I’m practicing to stay committed to self-care in 2023. #workinprogress
A self-care adventure to start 2023
First, I wouldn’t have booked this trip had it not been for the proactive encouragement of my friend Amy (thank you!) I’ve always wanted to do a yoga retreat but never made the time. I didn’t overthink it this time. I just said yes.
We joined 15 people for my first yoga retreat in a beautiful lodge in the mountains in Leavenworth. It was a rare treat to take some time away from taking care of my “people” and to focus on taking care of me. As I pulled out of the driveway and started the long drive over the mountain pass, I got a bit emotional – I realized this was the first trip I’d taken for myself since before the pandemic. Why did I wait so long?
Arrival: We were greeted by our wonderful instructor and retreat organizer Gimena, who showed us to our room in the lodge. We dropped our bags in the room, rolled out our mats, and joined the group in the great room for a welcome yoga session and meditation. I was so excited to have his weekend of relaxation but felt a bit anxious as we lay in Shavasana (lying mediation) not knowing what to expect. My mind was still spinning from the week – trying to tie up loose ends with client deliverables, thinking about what my family was doing and if they had everything they needed for the weekend. Of course, I had got it all done and they were fine. It took me a while for me to settle my thoughts and ease into the practice and weekend. Gimena reminded us that we were here to practice yoga – but most importantly – to “quiet the monkeys in our minds.” It’s a jungle in here, folks.
In the mornings we woke up at 7:00 am, sipped coffee in bed, and arrived in the great room to begin our first yoga practice at 8:00 am. With the snow piled high outside, the trees hugging the outside windows, and the icy river below rushing through the snow, it was an awesome way to start the day with a morning yoga practice. After breakfast, we attended morning workshops where Gimena shared great information on the philosophy of yoga and gave us time for self-reflection. She even passed out coloring pages while we listened – which was a genius way to quiet the mind while listening.
Mornings were followed by a chef-prepared vegan lunch and community dinners after our evening practice. It felt good to eat so clean. We all sat at a big table – no phone time – just engaging with strangers in various stages of life, in conversation about taking time out of our busy days, family, and work. It felt good to connect with people in this way again.
We got some time to journal, read our books and explore Leavenworth a bit too. We found a coffee shop to do some writing and one afternoon enjoyed a mug of Gluhwein (hot, spiced mulled wine!) – a perfect break on a cold day. After three days of yoga and no expectations on my time, I could feel my mind and body starting to relax and the anxiety subsiding. This flexible itinerary and three-day weekend was the perfect amount of time to hit the reset button and return rested and ready for the week.
Self-care is a funny beast. We know we need it, but especially as moms, it seems to be the thing that falls off the list first when we get busy. I am grateful for this time away to start 2023 and looking forward to the next self-care adventure.
After all of the intense caring for others in your family/work/community you do, are you considering or ready to start planning your own self-care adventure this year?
Here are 5 self-care practices to help you stay committed to wellness (and plan a little adventure!) in 2023:
- Identify your self-care shortlist. What is self-care for you? Time with girlfriends, a long run? How about spa time – a facial or massage? Would a night way in a hotel or a wellness retreat be just the ticket? Open up those journals and list out all of the things that fill YOUR bucket with energy. Now let’s find you some time.
- Create blocks on your calendar for self-care. I know. It looks ugly. I juggle many different commitments throughout the week and the only way I have been able to make time is to keep dedicated blocks on my time for self-care and hold firm to those appointments for myself. Even if it is just 10 minutes at a time. I know you can carve out 10 minutes. You are scrolling this post right? 🙂
- Allow for flexibility and have a plan B. There will be meetings, kid events, someone gets sick, or another crisis pops up and that time gets bumped. That is OK. I have learned to be patient with myself and give myself grace when plans change. I simply build in a plan B. So if I miss a workout, I find another time in my day to take a walk or do a quick yoga practice on the Peloton app after work. Maybe all you need is to set that 10-minute timer on your phone to close your eyes for a power nap.
- Set boundaries. This one is hard! Advocate for yourself and your time. I love my people, friends, and family SO much and I tend to give so much of myself that I don’t realize I’m tapped and then start snapping at everyone around me. That’s my warning sign to remove myself and take a break. I’m learning to set better boundaries when I need to recharge. To recognize what I have control over, and what I need to let go of.
- Build in a support network. Find friends who will hold you accountable for showing up. This yoga retreat has helped me start to build a good support system for making it to my mat on a regular basis.
Is it time for you to have a little me time? I’d love to keep you updated on adventures I discover and tips to help you plan your next self-care adventure in 2023!