Need a Local Weekend Retreat?

How often do you hear the story about 'Busy Brenda', the person who works hard bringing up a family, often whilst working and juggling many other commitments.

Busy Brenda is frequently exhausted and run down, she plans to slow down and take it easy once work quietens down, or once the kids get a bit older or once she retires.

I have to admit that I could be 'Busy Brenda' and I bet you relate to her to as well whether you are male or female, your life does not stop unless circumstances (often an injury or illness) force you to.

Every day in our practice I see people who have had injuries that have forced them to slow down and they realise it is often a result of never giving their body a chance to relax and recover. Seeing this again and again has helped me make changes in my life over the past few years. I have been attempting to take planned breaks to allow my body to rejuvenate and heal, to increase my chances of avoiding burn out. I am getting better at recognising the warning signals that 'Busy Brenda' needs to take a break and whenever I ignore them I usually pay the price.

Probably the most common response I get when I ask you how you have been is 'I'm just so busy'. So rather than leave it up to chance that you may get a quiet patch, or wait for a forced break through ill health, I advocate to take planned enjoyable breaks that recharge you and give you the best chance at being able to thrive in your busy life. It appears that I am not the only person who has come to this conculsion, wellness breaks and retreats are becoming common choices for busy people's holidays.

That is why when I saw the opportunity to go to a local women’s weekend wellness retreat, called 'Eat. Play. Love. Tora.' I jumped at the chance. An opportunity to take a weekend off busily looking after others, and be looked after myself.

The weekend based at Tora in the Wairarapa and run by the same team that operate the Tora Walk over the summer months. We arrived to our accommodation on friday night, an old Shearers Quarters that has been upgraded into 4 rooms with multiple single beds, a communal living/dining room and lots of outdoor areas. Supper was waiting for us which was a delicious spread of cheese, fruit, crackers, dips, baking and more also catering for my gluten-free needs as well as another's dairy free requirements.

Our group of eight all had young kids therefore lying in until 7.30am felt like a dream, then to be able to help our-self to homemade muesli and farm fresh eggs without having to organise anyone felt like the icing on the cake.

The weekend had 24 women, 12 were at our accommodation and 12 at another lodge 6km away. The other lodge is purpose built for the Tora Walk with a large communal area over looking the Tora Coast. Saturday morning started here with a Yoga class overlooking the beach, then nutritious Dr Libbys beetroot cake and hot drinks, followed by a mindfulness session. They adapted everything to allow women of all sizes and experiences to participate, even with myself being 7 months pregnant.

Lunch followed which did not disappoint, a yummy soup, bread and delicious vegetarian salad. A nutrition guru called Sarah Percy came to chat and show us how easy it is to improve gut health, we all learnt how to make kimchi whilst tasting local kombucha and kefir. Some free time followed, I was ready for a nap whilst others went exploring into the hills and beach or chilled out reading. There was no internet reception causing a forced digital detox which actually helped us spend more time talking to each other or switching off completely, also highly recommended.

We all got glammed-up were driven back to the lodge for the evening which had now been converted into a wedding-like reception venue. Our hosts handed our nibbles and bubbly and gave a brief history of the area and the Tora Walk, followed by two more courses of all local cuisine matched with local wines. A wellness weekend wouldn't be complete without letting your hair done, the music then pumped up and the d-floor started.

On Sunday morning we woke to beautiful blue skies and sunshine for our walk to the top the the hill and the most stunning panoramic view of the coast and local surrounding farmland and hills. At the top of the hill, we were greeted by a table of homemade morning tea and hot drinks that had been brought up on a farm bike and then the water boiled up for our enjoyment.

The weekend finished at lunchtime on Sunday and it felt like I had been away much longer. I felt so alive and well from eating well, playing well, laughing and connecting which forced me to reflect on my day-to-day life and where I could add more of these things in.

I felt very grateful to have had this experience and be surrounded by so many beautiful people and scenery. If you get the chance to do this retreat or anything similar I would highly recommend it. However you do not have to go to a stunning coast for a weekend to be able to take time out or rejuvenate. There are simple things that you can add to everyday life which can also make profound differences.


10 Ways to Rejuvenate your Day

  1. SMILE … even when you don’t feel like it … smile especially at those you love.
  2. Feeling overwhelmed, angry or sad? Take deep breaths and drink a big glass of water.
  3. Turn on your favorite music and DANCE for a few minutes … or more!
  4. Go outside for a few minutes of fresh air or to gaze at the moon and stars.
  5. Disconnect from your devices for a period of time each day, try using the time to give your loved ones 10 minutes of undivided attention.
  6. Keep a Happiness and/or Gratitude Log … Whenever you have a few minutes write in it …
  7. Spend a lot of time travelling? Listen to inspirational audio recordings like a TED talk
  8. Stop and stretch for a few minutes. Stretch your arms to the sky, bend over and touch the floor. Open your arms wide and stretch.
  9. Get adjusted by a Chiropractor, ask someone who does this regularly and they will vouch for how great you can feel after.
  10. While waiting in lines, try not to read the tabloid headlines. Take deep belly breaths. Release all worries, thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow … completely empty your mind with each exhale. Do this at least 3 times. Next, breathe in peace and joy. Think of yourself as a sponge soaking it in.

The only thing that you do have to do is plan for it. In most people's life, taking a break does not happen by chance. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Think about your life, what makes you feel rejuvenated, relaxed and more alive?

Make a plan and make it happen!