Summer can be a whirlwind, can't it? Feel like all the vacationing you did might have left you with less energy than more? But To Do lists are back and the budget is spent, so what do you do if you still need a little relaxation fix? Well, who says a retreat has to be somewhere far away, or take up a whole week? We say away with that myth, and plan an awesome retreat at home. Even if you can only make it for 24 hours, make it a focused and nourishing day.
Get a group of your closest buds together, pick a day or two that works for everyone, and commit to it. So often the reason we don't do this kind of thing is limits on our time. If you don't set it aside though, it won't happen. Parents, rustle up some childcare (overnight if you can shake it), you need time to connect with friends too!
Have everyone pitch in with planning + execution. We're willing to bet that within every group there exists different strengths for things that you would normally have to pay someone to do for you. Make the themes revolve around connection, health, the natural world, + slowing down for some conscious re-charging. We have a few ideas to get you started.
Get Artsy - Nominate your most artistic friend to plan a session where you all create together. If they have a particular skill to share, do that! If not, there are all kinds of ways to be creative together that don't involve a ton of supplies. Get thrift store mugs and paint them; do a paint-night style session where you all paint from the same picture; get blank cards + DIY them; have everyone bring a fav photo or piece of art, + upgrade thrifted frames with paint or stain + frame your mementos; pick a piece of clothing you want to alter + dye it, patch it, distress it, to give it new life. There are so many options! If you can't compile what you need from your own homes, look for supplies like brushes, canvas, frames, even blank cards at second hand stores.
Exercise - Everyone will benefit from moving more, but here on the West Coast, this is easily one of the most nourishing things you can do. We have so much natural beauty surrounding us. Get outside + hike to the top of a nearby mountain, or find a long walk along the Ocean (bonus points if you do both!). Getting moving outside is something we all need!
Clothing Swap - Get everyone to go through their closets + bring anything they would donate. Toss it in a neat pile in the middle of a room and swap! If you want, include shoes + home decor items. Everything left over gets donated to good will.
Meals - Collaborate on a meal plan full of nourishing foods. Unless you have one person who wants to take on all the cooking, divide up the meals and have someone different lead each meal and the rest help with prep and cleaning, so the division of labour is broken up. If you can find a market or a store that sources from local farmers, so much the better! Connecting with each other + with your food is the important part. For an extra elevation - have everyone bring a drink of their choice for your evening meal and share via tasters for your own DIY tasting. Or have your super talented chef friend teach everyone to make something, like an at home cooking class.
Yoga/Meditation - If you have a friend who is a teacher, or just a great home practitioner, ask them to create a beginner routine that they can lead everyone through. If not, then find something online that you can easily follow along to. Set your space up so it is calm + there are minimal distractions. Burn incense or candles to add the sense of scent into your practice.
Self-Connection - After this session, or really whenever suits your group, have everyone take a focused hour to themselves, even if you're all still in the same room. This could be for writing and reflecting, for resting, for moving, for listening to a guided reflection or music - whatever you each individually need to mindfully connect with yourself. If you're the types for sharing, come back together for a debrief after, but not essential.
Exploring - One of the most funs parts of getting away somewhere new can be exploring the town and surrounding areas. If you want/have time, have everyone pick 1-2 shops or spots in your town that you can toss into the mix for an exploring session. Ask that they all have a focus on sustainability, like they are conscious retailers, second-hand (consignment + thrift), or they involve an experience, be it inside or out.
Sleep Over - Remember how much fun it was to stay overnight together as youngsters? That connection that comes from falling asleep talking, or giggling? Even just sharing in peacefully drifting off surrounded by people you love. We don't get the chance to do that as often as adults. Hopefully you'll have someone willing to volunteer their house to have a sleep over so you can continue the fun for longer!
These are only a handful of ideas. Every group of friends is going to have a different set of interests + skills to bring together. Every experience will be unique + beneficial in different ways, and hopefully everyone will enjoy some meaningful time spent with friends. And you never know, it could be your new thing! How fun would it be to do annually? We hope you do it + love it. Share your ideas with us, we want to hear them!