Rather than waste my summer binge-watching Sex and the City while scrolling through images of unaffordable yoga retreats in Bali, I decide to create my own wellness retreat at home. According to Mind (2017), simply researching new ways of relaxing can help us cope better when stressed or worried. Thus, while investigating how to create a home spa and wellbeing experience, I come across a company that does it all for you.
State of Liberty offer seasonal 'at home' retreats. I am instantly drawn to the fact that their retreats are sustainably designed. My two-day Summer Retreat (£180) arrives in a glossy white box (pictured above), containing products in beautiful amber glass jars and cute linen pouches, with 25 elegantly designed recipe cards and journaling exercises. Everything else such as the four meditations, three yoga videos and expert advice on self-care topics are online in the Wellbeing Resource Library, for which I am given a password. There is a schedule, too, but you can adapt that according to your own timetable.
Day One: Saturday
First thing, I try SoL’s pancake recipe but with my own twist. I add acai berry powder and maca powder for some extra protein and goodness. I top it off with maple syrup, peaches, bananas and some hazelnut butter. It is a delight - I’m drooling thinking about it right now.
I then journal using printed prompts. I choose one to help me set an intention for the retreat: what did I hope to achieve? I want to feel more grounded and get into the habit of creating daily self-care rituals.
One of the tasks on my daily schedule was to mindfully prepare your home, so I give my bathroom a good clean for my evening bath and tidy up my bedroom.
For lunch, I make an SoL Bowl, a delicious, healthy Buddha bowl. The avocado and sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and chickpeas are mouth-watering. I try to practice mindful eating, ban my phone from the dinner table, and focus on the textures, tastes and smells. It makes it all the more pleasurable.
After, I do some more focused journaling about my resistance to self-care. I realise I felt self-care was selfish, but then write down the reasons I need to take time for my mental and physical health.
For dinner, I make Coconut Dahl. Surprisingly, I already have most of the ingredients: turmeric, ginger, chilli flakes, coconut milk - all good stuff I should use more in my cooking. I’m usually not a huge fan of sweet potatoes but the spices work so well together: a bowl of warm heaven.
Time for my pamper session (my favourite part!).The self care box contains basic ingredients for DIY skincare, including the most exquisite essential oil blend of ylang ylang, vertivert, rose and peppermint. It instantly fills my room with its sweet and uplifting scent. I mix a drop of this with some of the kaolin white clay and a bit of water to create a paste, then apply the fresh mask to my face. I run a bath and try the scrub recipe: fine Epsom salts mixed with the essential oils and some coconut oil. I light the candle that came in the box and really feel as though I am at a spa. I know a face mask and bath is such a self-care cliché, but it honestly works wonders for my skin and my mind.
Finally, I do the 20-minute yoga video before bed - a lovely way to unwind and get a good night’s sleep.
Day Two: Sunday
My day begins with an energising yoga video. I always love feeling the stretch in my body during a yoga practice. For breakfast, I have the raspberry smoothie and add some fresh strawberries and bananas, too - a nice kick-start to the morning.
I do some journaling using the gratitude exercise, probably my favourite journal prompt. It’s rare to sit down and count the things I already have. I write in detail about what I am happy about in my life; my family, my amazing friends, and my boyfriend. It makes me feel cared about and supported.
For lunch, I create the summer blueberry smoothie bowl – again, adding my own twist with acai powder and topping it with bananas, coconut sugar, granola and some cocoa. I find myself reflecting as I’m eating and being grateful for this food I can afford to enjoy.
I go for a very long mindful walk in the afternoon and end up finding a lovely forest. My legs feel like jelly by the time I get home but it feels so good to be out in nature, to not be on my phone and to feel connected with the world around me.
Towards the evening, I light the candle in my room and do a guided meditation. The flicker of a candle is one of my favourite self-care rituals; I find it so peaceful and alluring to watch. I do more journaling after this and reflect on my retreat so far.
I feel I have learnt the importance of patience and doing things like cooking, eating and yoga in in the present moment, as opposed to being on my phone or multi-tasking. Mindfulness can literally be as simple as chewing slowly and focusing on the sensations. One of the challenges I often face is feeling lazy or uninspired. Sometimes it’s a case of just getting up and doing it: I always feel amazing for it after.
For dinner, I have summer vegetable soup. It's so light and refreshing and I love all my greens anyway, so it's a real treat.
For dessert, I make chocolate balls and also my own hazelnut and cocoa oat cookies. I do have a sweet tooth, so having these healthier alternatives makes me feel less guilty.
My final activity is to set some intentions for the following week. I vow to divide some time for my self-care every day, no matter if it’s five minutes or an hour, and to be grounded in the present. I list my favourite self-care essentials as yoga, writing in my diary, reading a book before bed, my skincare routine, using an oil diffuser and lighting candles.
This beautifully curated home retreat has made me appreciate myself, my home, my life and the people I care about. I loved using the natural products and recipe cards as it made me realise that I could cook better meals and make my own spa ingredients. Everything about this experience aligned with my beliefs on sustainability and mindfulness and it has made me extra happy to do it in the comfort of my own home.