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I don’t know about you, but I am pretty exhausted right now. I have lots of plates spinning, lots of exciting things on the horizons, but also lots of worries and fears about where my life is leading.

So its just as well I am off for a bit of a break next week. Well I am not sure how much of a break it will be because I will be working, and I am taking my 4 year old along for the journey too.

Next week I will be welcoming 21 ladies to the sunny island of Rhodes in Greece for the annual Too Fat to Run Health and Happiness Retreat….so I will be working, but I will also be taking some time to reflect on my own health status, and making plans for the next 12 months…just being away from home and around other women is sure to have a fantastic effect on my wellbeing…and a bit of sun on my skin will be great too.

But how many of us really have time to retreat? I don’t necessarily mean going on a retreat, I simply mean having some time to retreat from the day to day stresses and to focus on self care and fulfilling your needs for a bit

In The Clubhouse our online running club our theme this month is Retreat, and we are looking at ways we can recreate the idea of a health retreat but without leaving our homes. The theme has been met with mixed reviews really, because in principle everyone wants more time for themselves, but actually prioritising it is often impossible, or so it seems.

Many of my women work full time (often in demanding jobs) they have children and other caring responsibilities and some have husbands or partners that work aways from home.

When women post details of their days activities it is mind blowing, not only the volume of stuff they have to deal with, but often the stressful and emotionally draining nature of it all too.

We all know that exercise is a fantastic prescription for both mental and physical health, so my women work really hard to squeeze it into their schedule, but taking half hour just to sit and journal, or to have a relaxing bath, or  to take some time to think about goals…well that seems a bit indulgent doesn’t it?

The thing is, a retreat can come in many forms, and here are some ideas to get you thinking…

1. An Annual Retreat – Yes, a yoga break or other kind of health detox or spa break can be a brilliant way of taking time out. But often the amount of planning it takes to make it happen means the effects are short lived, unless women can implement more regular self care routines and habits. Plus they are not cheap.

2. A Monthly Self Date – A once a month day that is just yours. Perhaps to spend alone doing something you enjoy doing. Going to a gallery, doing some solo sightseeing, having a day in a park to read (oh what bliss). But it could also be shared with others, friends, partner, family members. But the idea is for it to be fun and free of stress, so think about this when planning your day.

3. A Weekly Self Care Day – A day where you have an afternoon, or a couple of hours for you to recharge your batteries. Perhaps its a day of the week you get a lie in, or an evening where you don’t schedule late meetings or exercise or social stuff, and have a night in painting your toes and listening to your favourite old records.

Don’t think you have the time or the inclination to do any of the above? What about a daily self care habit?

I like to call this my 3pm PitStop or Daily Retreat Treat

So how does it work?

  • Identify which point in the day you most feel a lapse in energy (mine is 3pm)
  • Set a daily alarm on your phone for that time
  • When the alarm sounds run through a check list in your head of things which could be causing the slump or may get you through it
  • Take anything between 10 minutes and an hour to rectify
  • Repeat Daily

What could the factors be?

  • Boredom
  • The need for fresh air
  • The need for movement
  • Hunger
  • Thirst
  • Loneliness
  • A lack of fun
  • Stress

What could the solutions be?

  • A change of activity
  • Go outside
  • Take a walk
  • Do some yoga or stretching
  • Eat something healthy and delicious
  • Have a cup of tea
  • Drink some water
  • Take a nap
  • Meditate
  • A trip to the loo (this is great if you work in an office or busy job)
  • Phone a friend

Try this for a week and see what a difference it makes to your life.

Did you know that this week in Mental Health Awareness Week?? And I have just come across these interesting stats that show just how important looking after yourself is.

  • Only a small minority of people (13%) report living with high levels of good mental health.
  • More than 4 in 10 people say they have experienced depression (Recently 75% of women in one of my groups reported this)
  • Over a quarter of people say they have experienced panic attacks.
  • The great majority (85%) of people out of work have experienced a mental health problem compared to two thirds of people in work and just over half of people who have retired.
  • Nearly two-thirds of people say that they have experienced a mental health problem. This rises to 7 in every 10 women, young adults aged 18-34 and people living alone.

You might think that the idea of having a retreat, away from home or just in your daily life is frivolous, or airy fairy, or just an excuse to be lazy or selfish…but you are important, you are worthy of time for yourself, you should be prioritising self care…I mean how else can you look after others if you are not well?

To find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week click here

Keep an eye out on social media next week to see how our Too Fat to Run ladies get on in Rhodes. I promise not to post too many pictures of me relaxing around the pool…well, let’s just see hey?

Dates and rates for the 2018 retreat will be posted soon, please note these get snapped up (normally by clubhouse members who get a discount). We are sold out this year.

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