Updated: May 12
Hello friends! I write to you on a beautiful, white, snowy morning here in the District ☃️. Despite
how pretty the snow looks, I confess I actually hate it. I grew up in Minnesconsin, (right on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin, so I identify with both!), where winters were long and the snow, ice and wind chill were brutal. I know some people live for this. I, however, do not. I have learned nothing brings me more joy than a hot, humid, sweaty day or the ability to go outside without 20 minutes of mental and physical preparation.
Having endured 22 years in the freezing cold, I did learn the art of hygge and would now consider myself somewhat of an expert at sheltering indoors when outside conditions are less than optimistic. On top of the cold weather, we are, of course, still in the midst of a pandemic, leaving many of us anxious for an escape. So my offering to you today is the Ultimate DIY At Home Retreat!
For your mental health and overall wellbeing! It has been almost a year since shelter-in-place orders started, with many vacations cancelled since. A study by the American Psychological Association found that taking vacations effectively alleviate stress and anxiety associated with work. Additional studies show that vacations can: improve productivity, lower the risk of heart disease, improve sleep quality and more! That is amazing! Since a true vacation is hard for most of us right now, here use this DIY At Home Retreat Guide to create your own perfect rest and recover day.
Retreat at Home: Prep
Clear your calendar in advance to commit to yourself for a few hours. If you have little ones to take care of, see if your partner or family member can help out for even a few hours. If possible, take time off of work.
Create a set schedule + write it out. Tips and suggested activities below.
Prep! You don't want to be running to the grocery store when you're trying to relax and recover. Plan a healthy, feel-good meal or two to make it easy on yourself day-of.
Set the space: if you have the luxury of a spare room/empty office or a nice corner of your living room, clean it, de-clutter and make it a safe, healthy space to be for some of your activities. You could even create a little alter.
Turn off your computer and phone. If you need them for a video activity, set it on do not disturb or airplane mode. Don't be tempted to answer emails or check your stocks! They will be there later, I promise.
If you're worried about distractions or just want someone to share the experience with, ask a friend to join you virtually, do a few of the activities together (journalling, classes, meditations) and schedule a few check-ins throughout the day via Zoom.
Clear the space: after organizing and de-cluttering a set space in your home, pick fragrances - essential oils, perfume, candles, incense, palo santo - whatever helps calm you and clear the energy.
Move your body! Schedule a yoga class with your favorite teacher, use a pre-recorded class, follow a simple sequence of poses your body needs, or just move in any way that feels good! It doesn't always have to be yoga.
Nourish! Fuel your body and brain with a healthy smoothie or meal. My favorite healthy food bloggers: Tone It Up, Oh She Glows, Chef Chloe. Some of my favorite recipes for winter: chickpea avocado salad, sweet potato quesadilla, and açaí bowls!
Journal + reflect: get a pen and paper (try to avoid your computer or phone) and just start writing whatever is exactly on your mind. Hopes and dreams? How you are feeling emotionally and physically? A gratitude list? Enjoy with coffee or tea.
Palpate and massage! If you're feeling comfortable with it, schedule a massage. Studies show strongly support how massage can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is necessary for de-stressing, and if you find the right massage therapist, they will take Covid protocols seriously. Otherwise, get a foam roller or lacrosse ball and do it on your own!
A little treat: take a bath, restorative yoga, or Yoga Nidra to top off your retreat.
I hope this inspires and helps you to create your own at home retreat this winter! Also, if you want something to look forward to, consider my retreat in Tulum, MX October 2 - 7, 2021!