Yoga classes, smoothies, and inspirational articles will give you a daily dose of wellness, but retreating to a new setting to be empowered with other women breathes new light into your life.
I’ve led and attended wellness experiences, yoga retreats, and spa getaways. Each has a unique way of transporting me out of my head and into my heart. I’ve also felt the energy of being in women’s circles and enjoyed renewed strength when I connect with a diverse group of women and their unique spirits. I know firsthand that magic happens in these spaces.
I’ve entered these experiences feeling a mixture of emotions—excitement, apprehension, concern about taking time “off,” worry that I might judge or be judged. After a few days of quiet, nourishment, sweat, exploration, giggles, and tears, I emerge a better version of myself, realigned with personal purpose and vision.
Are you seeking an empowered space for female inspiration and connection, or are you feeling a personal desire to grow and expand? A women’s weekend focused on mind-body-spirit wellness could be your ticket to transformation. Here’s what happens when you take yourself out of your daily routine and try something new:
1. Disconnect to reconnect.
We’re all in it: A new age of endless tasks and ideas competing for our attention from multiple access points. Technology amplifies this intensity and we navigate setting boundaries with our virtual world. Retreating for even a couple of days from our everyday routines and devices quiets the mind and makes room for the heart. We must carve out space to think deeply, to connect to ourselves and others. When we give ourselves permission to break the pattern of being always available and always seeking answers, we soften into ourselves and lead from within. Turning off can turn you back on.
2. Explore your curiosity.
Whether you want to dip your toe in the water or go deeper with a practice like meditation, yoga, visioning, or preparing nourishing meals, a gathering led by skilled and passionate teachers offers the opportunity to align with your desires. Learn something new about herbal medicine, release stress in a drumming circle, or find peace on a meditative hike with new friends. Women’s gatherings provide fertile ground for honing your skills, deepening your passions, and discovering new ones. Vision journaling, tongue scraping, and meditative hiking are all parts of my life that I discovered on a retreat. You may go expecting a certain outcome but be surprised by the new experiences and opportunities that magically seem to present themselves.
3. Amplify your voice.
Now is the time for you to gather with other women and give attention to your hopes and dreams. To ignite the power and potential within each of us to do our part in lifting the spirit of humanity. Dancing, playing, and sweating with spirited women will free you, and workshops on raising your voice, aligning with your vision, and creating a mindset of success will strengthen your abilities and agency.
4. Get inspired.
When women gather in safe and brave spaces, they are inspired by one another’s stories and reflect to connect with their own. Gathering with other women who seek connection with themselves, community, and the planet raises your vibration and empowers you to take action in your own life and in the world.
5. Ground yourself in nature.
One sure way to take care of your mind and spirit is to surround yourself with the beauty of nature. We know that contentment, interconnectedness, and well-being levels all increase with exposure to green spaces. They take us out of the tech-heavy, fast-paced world and let us surrender to the natural, open, slower state of nature.
6. Switch from critic to mystic.
I have an inner critic that I carry with me despite my intention to leave it behind. (We all do.) This critic is a running feed in my head that is constantly analyzing and organizing both my surroundings and myself. When I arrive at a retreat, I can’t help but try to get a sense of control as I plan out my itinerary and assess my surroundings. But the multiple layers of a well-designed retreat experience slow me down, and I switch from strategizing to opening up to possibility and going with the flow. The controlling and critiquing part of my mind powers down, and I begin to follow my gut and my instincts to beautiful places I may never have discovered had I followed my original itinerary.
Women are the caretakers and givers, endlessly performing for those around them and taking on life to keep all in order. A well-deserved weekend without doing dishes, laundry, and carpools. A break from caring for your loved ones, focused solely on caring for yourself so you can return rejuvenated and refueled. Need I say more?
8. Connect to community.
Society has drawn a wedge between us women. Virtual world and ideals have contributed to a lack of depth in connection and conceived judgment. By joining a women’s weekend of wellness we return to our roots. Where women supported and resourced with each other in community. This type of connection is what women need now more than ever to rise up individually and stand together with encouragement.'
9. Open to learning.
With every phase of life we are pushed to grow internally and meet life as it presents itself. A women’s gathering grants you this guidance by providing the tools and practices to support you in dealing with every stage. What could be better than gaining knowledge needed to help you better navigate life, relationships, career, and everything else?
10. Redirect your path.
Are you at a crossroads? Not happy in a relationship or job? Feeling a lack of energy or purpose? A wellness experience is exactly what you need to re-examine who you are, what you stand for, and what you want to pursue. This setting offers the space for you to go inward and ignite the spark inside you needed to set you on a new path with courage and conviction.
Now, how can you make this happen? Like most things that are good for you, getting there is the hardest part.Here are five ways to actually make it happen:
1. Ask your loved ones for help.
The people in your life who love and support you want to see you get healthier and grow. Ask for their help to watch your pet or your kids. Ask for ticket funds for your birthday, Mother’s Day, or a celebratory gift. Your loved ones will benefit—you give them a chance to support you, and you come home a better version of yourself.
2. Turn your can’ts into cans and your dreams into plans.
I have a card on my desk from a dear friend that reminds me that “Our someday is right now.” Dreams and goals are not serving you if they are stuck in your mind. If you are thinking about a retreat, do this: Make a list of the reasons “why” and “why not” for your desired retreat experience. Compare the lists, not to see which is longer but to see which is more compelling and will best serve your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Then make a second list and answer the questions “What will happen if I go?” and “What will happen if I don’t go?” Those reasons will stare right back at you as important truths.
3. Ask the retreat organizers for a discount.
If finances are a hurdle, don’t be afraid to ask for a discounted ticket in exchange for your services. Retreat producers are always looking for helping hands and professional services before, during, and after the retreat, and they are often willing to do a work trade.
4. Invite a friend or relative.
Retreat experiences are a beautiful way for women to bond, reconnect, or get to know each other better. When you commit to attending with someone you know who also wants to grow, the two of you emerge from the experience closer, with memories to share, and you’ll be able to support each other with your renewed vision when you return home.
5. Just do it!
Sign up as a commitment to yourself. Studies show that just anticipating a vacation or a retreat has a therapeutic effect. By scheduling time for rejuvenation and personal transformation, you will start to feel the changes in your daydreams and yourself as you picture yourself rising.
Originally published on MindBodyGreen.