Being exhausted is a common feeling felt by many parents and carers. Whether you’re a stay at home parent, a working parent or somewhere in between it can get pretty hectic.
Changing nappies, feeding, bathing, after school sport practice, schoolwork (or in the days of COVID – homeschooling), groceries, washing, cooking, cleaning, errands and repeat…. The list is endless! If you add becoming forgetful, getting a little snappy with the kids and your partner and add being constantly tired to the mix of exhaustion; it’s a recipe to burnt-out disaster! Let’s face it, burn-out is no fun for anyone.
For me, I especially noticed this as a mum who used to enjoy cooking the family meals to lose all interest in it. I was putting on a fair amount of weight, I was falling out of routine but the big one for me was, I was not sleeping well AT ALL. In fact for me personally, I was taking hours to fall asleep and found it near impossible for me to actually stay asleep. In addition, I spent the year as primary carer and support person to my beautiful mother and her cancer recovery. (Great news, you will be pleased to know my mum is now cancer free!) I on the other hand was really tired, both mentally and physically – I had “carers-fatigue”.
You could say I was very late to the ‘self-care party! My health and wellbeing were being greatly affected, something had to be done. So, I did one thing; I made myself a priority!
Tell me, when was the last time you took time for yourself? I mean, I’ve done the odd girlie weekend away, filled with laughs, great food, friends and a bit of retail therapy along the way. They have been awesome!
But what I’m wanting to know is, when was the last time you really took the time and space to reconnect with yourself?
When’s the last time you’ve spent time on things that bring you joy or those things you are passionate about? Every mum (or dad) deserves a weekend away where they don’t have to show up for anyone other than themselves – right?
Yep, I headed off to a lifestyle retreat for the weekend. I’ve been saying for so long now how I’d love to go to one, I was running out of excuses! The ‘mum guilt’ had always held me back, looking back at that now I may have just been using that theory as an excuse. It honestly didn’t take me long to pack my bag, kiss the kids and husband goodbye for a few days. Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, here I come! (FYI, I chose to do the Gwinganna Wellness Weekend Package)
I arrived for my 2pm check-in at the glorious Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in Tallebudgera QLD, where I was welcomed by the wonderful staff and gorgeous nature surrounds; my home for the next few days. It was here I was given the opportunity to ask any questions, give my dinner preferences (Yes, all meals and snacks are included!) before being whisked off by buggy to my villa. With over 200 hectares of land, this retreat is spaciously spread out to allow your time here to be as memorable and life-changing as possible.
I settled in very quickly and headed off to the onsite Spa Sanctuary; (as you do) making the most of my quality time away from home. There are 33 spa treatment rooms available with the largest spa menu to choose from, I chose the Himalayan Body Polish – which was divine and highly recommended! There really is a suitable choice for everyone.
Our welcome orientation meeting was another opportunity to get a rundown of how the weekend will unfold, choices we had and a chance to meet other health and wellbeing experts if you wish. All activities and seminars on offer are choices available to you over the weekend; it is totally up to you if you want to do all, some or any. Dinner was next and I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious and plentiful the meals were. Seasonal, locally sourced, organic, whole foods; that are seriously scrumptious and filling! I headed back to take a quick dip in my private plunge pool before an early night in bed….. Bliss!
After having the bed to myself ALL NIGHT, I woke early to the peaceful sounds of nature as I ventured off to my sunrise Qi Gong (a restorative meditation) session. I truly loved the opportunity to start my day this way. (I don’t want to spoil the surprise and experience of the Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in advance, but please know there is a great selection of other morning activities available and differ each day and time slot in their program. These activities include gentle and more physical options to cater to everyone’s needs.) This was followed by a delicious and hearty breakfast followed by informative daily seminars, where I learned so much! As an example, I was able to learn about the importance of sleep (and my lack of that has contributed to my weight gain) how to get myself a better sleep each night, delve into my hormones, food and diet and wellbeing. All seminars were all conveyed with relatability, understandability and humour by all speakers and experts. Again, highly recommended.
After lunch (yes another delicious dining experience) the afternoon is dedicated to rest and relaxation. How you choose to do that is ultimately your decision. It’s a great opportunity to read a book, have a nap, swim or indulge in some relaxing treatments from the spa. I visited the spa sanctuary each day, choosing a different therapy or treatment and oh my goodness… it was heavenly. I’ll confess, I was doing some serious snoring during my facial and ‘rockupuncture’ appointments. (Special mention to Suzanne and Harlee….) It was that good! Another wonderful dinner, plunge, pj’s and early to bed; it seems I was adjusting to this new love for ‘self-care’ just fine. I actually didn’t miss the technology or the television (or the family) at all; switching off was easier than I imagined and so therapeutic. Listening to the birds, the sounds of flowing water, having the morning sun hit my face or the evening view from my villa and having a hot shower in peace; I was pretty damn content.
The great thing about going to Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat is I have been able to take the new skills and information learned home with me, where I am able to easily adapt them into my ‘real world’. Even after 3 days; I’m no longer craving sugary or fried food nor am I lost without the reduction of caffeine. Yes, I am sleeping much better, I am eating better and I am feeling so much better. That’s a win for everyone ! I found over this time that nothing is selfish about self-care. By putting time into myself, I wasn’t the only one benefiting from it, so was my husband and my kids. I’m very keen on making it an annual visit to Gwinganna.
I know as busy mums we will have some days when we may slip back into bad habits, and you know what …. that’s ok. However, one thing will remain – I’ve now stopped saying yes to others and more yes to myself!
Written by Kirsty Masterson, mother of 2 boys
Blog written in writers own words and opinions.