I have recently just returned from Ibiza where I was on a yoga retreat with Kirsty Gallagher (check out her website and other retreats at www.kirstygallagheryoga.com). I had such a wonderful time, not only was it great to actually feel some sunshine, that warmth, that radiant glow both inside and out, I gave myself permission to take some time for me and to surrender more into that stillness and practice BEING. I will admit, I felt guilt at times, I felt lazy at times but if I allowed myself to go past this mind chatter. I loved allowing myself to BE ME. It was also wonderful to be surrounded by such a great group of women who also uplifted and inspired me.
However, what is it to really retreat? For me, it is about going inwards, it is about not looking outside to what others expect, it is about letting go of external distractions i.e. phones, emails, even family. It is about quietening the mind and also for some, it can literally be about sitting still with nothing to DO. How often do you find time for yourself and you start cleaning or DOING something? It was amazing to see on the retreat how so many women needed time out for themselves, to turn off the phone, to turn away from emails and social media, to even have time out from families and being mothers and wives. For some, just lying on a sun lounger reading a book was so restorative, for others it was swimming in the sea, for others it was having massages. For me, it was an opportunity to just sit with myself, to not go outwards to please others, to not try to fit in and also to remember, how much I had missed connecting with others. I feel that my journey has been getting a little bit isolated and that I have forgotten about the joy in life from just BEING moment to moment.
So as the holiday season begins, take some time to challenge yourself, will you give yourself the space to retreat while you are on holiday? To go inwards and really ask yourself, what you truely want for you. What do you need? What does your body need? How can you nourish yourself as you take this time away in stillness and silence to come back to a place of balance and calm?
On a practical note, how is this really going to help you in your life day to day? If you are finding that you are all work and no play, chances are you could also be experiencing stress, not enough exercise, poor nutrition and poor sleep. I often refer to when we are getting all stressed as being in that Head Bubble, it takes us out of the moment, out of awareness and out of alignment with who we really are. We then get caught on the hamster wheel. It can be damaging to our overall health and wellbeing long term. Life also becomes a drain and a drudge, we forget to laugh, enjoy, connect and have fun, just because we can. So retreat and bringing balance in can help you improve your sleep, help you make clearer and more aligned decisions, focus on what is important and productive rather than maintaining an image of being seen or heard in what you perceive are the right places. To improve your health and wellbeing and bring you back to yourself rather than being the person who you have moulded into to fit into a world that is so driven by who we are and what we do and most importantly, it can allow you to feel that joy once more.
If you are going on holiday I challenge you to look at how your life is and how you would like it to be, then start to set yourself small achievable steps to make little changes. It could be so simple as to take an exercise class a week, to eat a healthy breakfast everyday, to have a “date night” with your partner at least once a week or if you are single, join that internet dating site. What is going to help you move towards what you want and also to keep you in the moment, keep you connected to who you are and keep you in that strong space within in. It is from here that we can demonstrate our true power and really make a difference at home and at work. Start to bring in a little more Joy by giving yourself permission to focus on YOU, because yes you are worth it and when the REAL YOU shows up everyday and brings that light and joy into the world, we all benefit.
I made this small video whilst at the spa with my three R’s for your holiday, thats Retreat, Review and Revitalise.