The end of the year is often a time of reflection of the past year and preparation for the next 365 days ahead.
Being a January baby, it’s even more than that for me as I gear up for another year around the sun. If you’re into the health and wellness lifestyle, you’ve probably noticed an uptick of retreats marketed toward women with the promise of soothing and inspiring the mind, body, and soul. Recently, I was invited to a series of wellness weekend workshops in this realm at Saraphi House, a wellness retreat space in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Over the course of a week, I worked out my body with boxing and yoga classes, practiced mindfulness through the aid of guided meditations, and indulged in the local culture with arts and crafts workshops.
While I had a great time at these one-off workshops, my experience was bittersweet as I knew I likely wouldn’t be able to experience something like this again anytime soon, and because of the often high price points, the idea of an extended retreat of this kind was totally out of the question.
While a stay-away destination retreat might not fit everyone’s budget or schedule, not all hope is lost. With a little creativity and planning, you can create your own wellness weekend. Unplug from the electronics, call a babysitter, and check out these tips for putting together the perfect wellness weekend tailored specifically for you, and by you.
Pick a Theme
Some retreats are focused on purely the physical — like yoga, for instance — while other kinds of retreats might be centered around mindfulness, meditation, or even art forms like writing. You can even combine a few different areas; the possibilities are endless. To help figure out which way to go, brainstorm on your intentions for your wellness weekend. How do you want to feel? What do you hope to learn, experience, or achieve?
Incorporate activities that support your intentions and desires.
Get Out of Town — Or Not?
Another thing: While this can definitely be done in the comfort of your home, especially if you’re solo dolo, oftentimes, getting out of your natural surroundings can put you in an entirely different headspace. Consider renting a hotel room or, even better, an Airbnb for the weekend. This is especially a good idea if you’re going to include like-minded friends who are also in need of a recharge.
If you’d like to keep the weekend focused mostly on yourself, maybe try to include friends into just one aspect of the weekend. Perhaps invite them to an exercise class, or host a potluck, workshop, or salon on one of the days. A DIY spa night with the girls can also be a fun activity.
Create an Agenda
A preset schedule is essential for the smooth running of your weekend. Once you’ve figured out the theme for your weekend, create a schedule with a good flow of activities, experiences, and exercises. For example, a good way to encourage mindfulness during this time is to begin each day with a specific morning routine.
On the mornings of the workshops at Saraphi House, I decided to switch things up. Usually, after rising, the first thing I do is check my email and social media. This time, though, I decided to do some stretches first, followed by a short 10-minute guided meditation, and finally breakfast and coffee.
Similar routines can include a bit of morning journaling, meditation, and/or yoga before starting the activities of the day. Don’t forget to pencil in some downtime for unstructured reflection and relaxation.
I’m currently in the process of creating my own writing and wellness weekend. For these purposes, I’ve decided to create an afternoon with an aerial yoga class — something I’ve always wanted to try — along with time in nature, followed by self-compassion writing exercises.
Here’s a Sample Schedule of My Upcoming Wellness Weekend
- 6 p.m. — Unplug from the internet, social media, and my phone.
- 6 to 7 p.m. — Try out a new recipe for dinner.
- 7 to 8 p.m. — Spiritual bath and meditation.
- 8 to 9 p.m. — Listen to music and color in an adult coloring book.
- 9 to 10 p.m. — Free time and then sleep.
- 9 to 9:20 a.m. — Wake up and do guided meditation on awareness.
- 9:30 to 9:45 a.m. — Complete a self-compassion journal exercise.
- 10 to 10:30 a.m. — Breakfast.
- 10:30 to 11 a.m. — Social media and email break.
- 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Aerial yoga class.
- 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. — Lunch at a restaurant of choice.
- 2 to 3 p.m. — Rest and walk or stroll through the neighborhood.
- 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. — Afternoon tea and novel reading.
- 5 to 6 p.m. — Back home to try out new recipes for dinner.
- 7 p.m. and beyond — To be determined.
- 9 to 9:30 a.m. — Wake up and do kickboxing exercise.
- 9:45 to 10 a.m. — EFT tapping on self-love.
- 10 to 10:30 a.m. — Breakfast and coffee.
- 10:30 to 11 a.m. — Social media and email break.
- 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Herbal steam and Thai body massage.
- 1:30 to 2 p.m. — Afternoon tea and journal about my takeaways from the weekend.
- 2 p.m. — End of the wellness weekend.
Afterthoughts and Takeaways
Though scheduling some things out is recommended, remember this time is for you, so don’t be afraid to try new things or just go with the flow, if that’s what you feel like.
Not everyone is able to jet away for a weekend of TLC at a moment’s notice, but with a little planning and creativity, anyone can enjoy some soul-soothing right in their backyard.