It’s at this time of year when you’re flicking through a magazine, or scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest that you see photos of sunny retreats, be it yoga, health or relaxation based and wish you could be teleported there, that second. Out of interest, you click on the link to see what it’s all about, thinking maybe this one won’t require you to re-mortgage your house in order to go... but then see that in fact, it would. Page closed. It's certainly something that I do. All. The. Time. Then there's the times when I see things and think ‘I could do that’... even if it’s free climbing the Eiffel Tower, which, by the way, I absolutely could not do. I was having one of those moments whilst also drooling over pictures of a retreat and realised I could do that, myself, for a fraction of the cost. So that's exactly what I did.
I spent a wonderful 9 days in beautiful Croatia, concentrating solely on me. Selfish, I know. I relaxed, ate well, moved and did yoga every day. I laughed like I haven't in ages, enjoyed the sun and sea and think I even shouted WEEEEEEE whilst playing in the waves. I recharged my batteries and returned with a renewed energy and the momentum to implement activity in to my every day life that I’ve been wanting to for a long time. It gave me the inspiration and confidence to push forward on things that I've been putting off and putting off.
If that all sounds up your street, here's how to plan your DIY Retreat…
A HOLIDAY WITH A PURPOSE
As nice as it is, this isn’t the usual lay on the beach every day whilst drinking strawberry mojitos kind of fare. This time away requires a little planning. Have an aim; what are you looking to achieve. Me? I wanted headspace. Time to look at the bigger picture. Time away from technology, or rather, specifically allocated and minimal technology time. I wanted to get into the routine of moving for a good 30 minutes, every day. I wanted to take my stress levels right down. To really listen to my body and make tweaks where I needed to. I wanted to get into the routine of early bed times, early wake times and a more restful sleep. I wanted to break away from the watching of crap programmes on TV. And I wanted SUN, SEA and BEACHES! All the things which usually pass you by every day in, every day out. My reason for wanting all these things was, of course, my health and more specifically my skin health. I am at a stage in recovery from eczema and topical steroid withdrawal where I’m so close to the finish line, I just need that extra push. My DIY Retreat certainly gave it to me.
CHOOSE THE LOCATION
It doesn’t have to be abroad, but I would suggest somewhere close to nature – be it seaside or wilderness. Getting up close and personal to nature is so grounding. The Wi-Fi is never quite good enough which forces time away from technology. There is so much beauty surrounding you that it’s hard not to immerse yourself in it. I would also wholly recommend self-catering – that way you have far more control over what you eat. Get creative and take enjoyment out of cooking and preparing your meals – don’t see it as a chore. It's not.
DECIDE ON THE DURATION
I chose 9 days. A little more than a week, with only 5 needing to be taken off work. It stopped the miserable count down of days until I had to fly home, because I could never quite get my head around which day I was actually going home on and how long I was there for! It’s really up to circumstance though – make it work for you.
What activities can you do out there? What is their local cuisine? Where is your closest supermarket? What amenities are provided in your accommodation… a fridge, a freezer? All of this is important in helping you to prepare – remember, you’re not paying for someone out there to do it all for you.
Up next... In DIY Retreat - Part 2 I will talk about what to do once it's all booked and paid for...