Right from the start, I knew this week would be special. All the ladies arrived at the house at different times of the day and I soon realized no one else really knew each other either. A few women had seen each other around LA and worked out at the same studios, but other than that no one were besties or exclusive. I instantly connected to these women just from the sheer fact that they too were searching for something bigger and deeper within us. The majority of us had booked the retreat less than a month before, and we all couldn’t believe we were in this little town in Portugal together.
The following days included morning yoga, fresh pressed coffee and tea, and healthy, gluten-free and dairy-free, meals. We had two chefs in the house (a local husband & wife) and they prepared the most amazing breakfast and lunches for us. The berries, eggs, and greens all came from the local market and everything was made fresh daily. The kitchen in the house was constantly stocked with green apples, spinach and arugula, marinated tomatoes, and the best home-made granola I’ve ever had. Everything was available to us 24 hours a day and it was delightful.
Each day was magical. We did a boat ride through caves, went to Seville, Spain and enjoyed tapas and sight seeing, ate lunch on the beach, explored our little town, and worked out on the rooftop of our home. The 16 ladies and I fed off of each other’s energy. We talked about our lives back home, where we wanted our careers to take us, and the types of women we want to be. There’s something to be said about bringing a group of strangers together and sharing your life goals and dreams without any premature judgement. These ladies knew nothing about me, but I felt they understood my intentions and aspirations better than anyone.
At night, Shauna (our retreat host) took us to local restaurants for dinner. A week before the trip, Shauna had contacted each restaurant and organized our meals. The chefs were more than happy to accommodate us and even ensured our meals had dairy-free and gluten-free options. This was so important because going out to eat can be stressful when trying to maintain a healthy diet.
Upon arrival at each restaurant, the table was already set and the food would slowly start filling the table. We never had to look at a menu or make a decision. It was so comforting and relaxing knowing that my dinner would be fresh, healthy, and chosen just for me!
For our last night together, Shauna planned an intimate, extravagant dinner at the house. A few ladies picked up flowers from the market and we all helped set the table and prepare for the evening. Our chefs made a whole array of dishes including zucchini noodles, mushroom risotto, stuffed grille chicken, sauteed broccolini, and fresh shrimp. The entire dinner was spent reflecting on the past 7 days, sharing our favorite moments, and remembering our intentions. We all discussed ways to improve our lives back in the states and aspects of our lives we wanted to work on after we returned. It was so interesting to hear each women come to terms with what is important to them and how much we all have in common. We all have normal full-time jobs but wanted something more. We all want to better our minds and be more proactive in our lives and remember life is too short to wait for change.
The biggest thing I learned from this retreat was my life is so much bigger and meaningful than just rolling through the motions. If you don’t like your job, find a new one. If you can’t find a new one, edit your resume, atend a networking event, or start messaging people on linkedin. If you want to eat healthy, do it. What’s stopping you? Go after what you want. If you can’t stop thinking about something, MAKE IT HAPPEN. INVEST IN YOURSELF. BE PROACTIVE. Don’t sit back and wish you had a more exciting life, wish you had a different body, wish you had booked that trip. If money is the problem, save up. Babysit. Sell old clothes. Freelance. FIND A WAY.
Taking care of yourself is the most important part of living. I needed this retreat. I needed to surround myself with like-minded people. I didn’t necessarily have the funds and PTO days but I FOUND A WAY. I freelanced outside of work and made extra money. I sold my couch and old clothes. I took the time to talk to my boss and let her know how important this retreat was to me and appreciated her support. I booked a trip completely out of my comfort zone and never looked back. Don’t let your fears or your doubts stop you from treating yourself to your best life. You deserve it! Self-care is self-love. Your soul will thank you.