Guest Post by Katie Hill
It’s a brutally cold winter. The holidays are over and the new year shines with possibilities. After the hoopla of the holidays wear out, I tend to feel a little stuck and stagnant. I plaster pictures of remote tropical islands and listen to world music while I type away at my job, space heater at my feet. Everyone wants a getaway this time of year, but not all of us are able to leave everything behind and escape to Bali.
What if we could create the same restful, rejuvenating and amazing spa experience right in our own homes? I, for one, am going to commit to a once a month in-home retreat to get me through the dry, sparse, cold winter.
Here are 7 tips for creating a rejuvenation retreat at home:
1. Carve out a three-hour block of time on your calendar. It can be smack in the middle of a Saturday or smack in the middle of a weekday. I love taking three hours of personal time from work to escape when there is no one in my house but me. Make it a priority. Ask your family for support. This is time for you!
2. Come up with a theme. If you’re craving the tropics, make it a tropical theme. If you’re more the ski lodge kind of person, snuggle into your ski lodge theme. Feeling like Jamaica? Then connect with your inner Bob Marley and plan your in-home to a reggae theme.
3. Pick three to four retreat activities for your sacred time. You don’t want to overbook your time. For my in-home retreats, I usually choose a bath ritual, a yoga and meditation activity, a super healthy meal, and end with a good book that leads me to a little snooze.
4. Create a soundtrack. Using tools like Pandora or Spotify, you can listen to channels of music that correspond to your theme. There are also “spa” stations on these apps, which provide relaxing spa music that you would certainly hear at an upscale spa retreat.
5. Choose rejuvenating scents. Here’s where I dip into my stash of essential oils. My favorite retreat ritual is to line up five to six essential oils (my favorites are lavender, peppermint, sweet orange, lemon balm, ylang ylang, sandalwood, and patchouli). There are also a great number of essential oil blends that can be just the right combination of relaxing and rejuvenating.
Let your nose decide which scent you desire the most on the morning of your retreat. I’ll often add lavender to my bath, peppermint to my feet after the bath, and sandalwood in a diffuser while I do some yoga. I’ll then spritz lavender again while I’m reading, just because the smell makes my whole body relax. It’s amazing how much of the retreat experience comes from amazing scents.
6. Don’t forget to eat. Be sure that your retreat includes special foods that you wouldn’t normally have in your day-to-day life. I’ll often go to our local co-op and find some salads, green juices and dark chocolate. Having a nice little meal after the bath and yoga ritual ties the retreat together. Make sure you find a cozy place to eat. Eat mindfully, without any technological interference. Notice each flavor in your food and be aware of how each bite makes you feel. Have a cup of detox tea or some water with lemon or cucumber. Take at least 30 minutes to enjoy your meal.
7. Wrap it up. At the end of your retreat, journal for a few minutes about how the experience felt to you. What came up for you while you relaxed? When our minds slow down and we connect with our heart space, we often feel very creative and inspired. Capture all the good ideas that bubbled to the surface during your retreat.
I believe that we are all worthy of rest and relaxation. I believe that pampering ourselves refreshes the body and the soul in a wildly helpful way. When we can stop the madness of our lives and settle in to connecting with ourselves, we find a deeper happiness and joy in our everyday life.
What will you include in your in-home retreat?
About the Author: Katie Hill is a writer, yogi, and board certified wellness coach. Her passion involves empowering people to create lives that are shimmery, purposeful, and full of vitality. She lives in Madison, Wis., with her husband and son. You can find her at www.katie-hill.com.