If you’ve ever been to Bali for any kind of self-care retreat, creative immersion, or spiritual journey, you will probably understand the intoxicating effect it has on you (if so, thanks for the heads up, not). Recently I took myself on a week-long ‘Active Escape’ with Nat from Stiles Training
, who runs retreats a couple of times a year in partnership with the wonderful Karen at Sharing Bali
. I signed up on a whim and it was truly one of the greatest things I have ever done for myself. I thought I’d share my self-care takeaways from the trip for anyone who can’t just jump on a plane for a break (read: plan six months ahead, get flights on sale and then stress out about it unnecessarily for a good chunk of time).
An excerpt from my journal on the first night:
” Goodbye, comfort zone. Hello, Bali. Hello, expansion (yes, resistance, I see you there). All my concerns can all go out the window now, I’m here. You wanted to come, so here you are. Forced to not bail out of something for once. The rest of this year will be ‘go-time’. So enjoy this week”
I was sitting, freshly showered following a group fitness session with the ambient beats of Aphex Twin mixing with the rainforest soundscape, blown away by how different Bali is from what I expected; the buildings, villages, way of being. Way more chill than I thought. Ubud is so far from Denpasar airport, and I saw such a cross-section of the island: metropolis, third world, villagers, flea-ridding dogs missing eyes (or paws) and tech being sold from huts in the burbs. So lively, and rich in it’s own culture with an almost playful mish-mash of western influence.
The transformative power of Paradise
My body felt amazing toward the end of the week. It was raining most of the time—even during workout sessions in the bamboo gym—but there were hot showers and Lemongrass tea waiting when we were done. Hiking a volcano at 4:30am to watch the sun rise was difficult but breathtaking. Of course we visited the hot springs to recover, and there were epic massages and facial treatments plus a body scrub waiting for us back at the retreat. A couple of sessions of restorative Yoga really helped too.
I turned in early every night all tuckered out from activities and slept deeply on a firm mattress to the sound of the rain. Never underestimate the power of a restorative sleep for self-care and helping you feel like you can take whatever life has got for you. I even read two books that had been on my essential self-care reading list for a very long time; The Alchemist, and You Can Heal Your Life. Classics! How indulgent does it feel reading two books over 5 days, my gosh.
I’m clearly paying close attention during the Balinese cooking class
I definitely was out of my comfort zone but we were a group of women who all chatted openly and vulnerably about their issues, shared amazing food, and doing things like white water rafting and hiking along steep cliffs and ravines—which both scare the shit out of me—while cheering each other on was brilliant. Doing all of that made me feel so strong and capable after a tough first half of the year.
Self-care takeaways from Bali to home
I couldn’t believe how good I felt in my body, and clear in my mind, plus the food, the rest and relaxation, the books, the village vibe, even just the space… it all felt like parts of the Universe coming together in some divine treat just for me. I started to think about how I could bring these feelings into my life in the same way through ramping up the self-care practices in my life.
Schedule in Restorative or Yin Yoga regularly, but for peace instead of sweat.
These were self-care magic, and Karen gifted us with some to take home too.
Massage and facials.
You drop by the clinic at Endeavour College for a massage at Bali prices.
Working out in the morning.
I was definitely reminded me how good it feels to get it done early… afterwards anyway.
Pure heaven, cleansing, warming, refreshing, all at once. Sipped mindfully.
Simple, fresh food with lots of vegetables.
Such a nourishing way to eat, so tasty, and everything was made from scratch.
A leisurely breakfast.
It was so luxurious having fruit, eggs, coffee, and banana pancakes every morning.
Not drinking every night.
It’s nice for alcohol not to be a focus of a holiday for once, though I did enjoy a Bintang or two.
I could keep in touch with V and not much else, spo it was the perfect disconnect.
More barefoot time!
Connect to the earth, ground yourself, feel rooted in, and find your balance again.
Grow some herbies!
The flavours and properties of herbs are worth the effort, and without buying a bunch
The Balinese do manual labour, it’s so good for the body. Gyms seem weird now.
Reducing excess possessions.
Village life was simple but it never felt lacking, so it’s time for a clean out!
I bought myself a couple of Balinese dresses, and seriously felt like a goddess.
Which of these self-care practices do you like the sound of? Choose a couple to try today! I’d love to hear how you go, so please leave a comment and let me know what you picked.
Oh, p.s. if you liked this post, or if taking time out for yourself is that To Do list item you never quite
get to, then pop your details in here
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