I’m sitting here on the morning of my 39th birthday (I actually can’t believe that number as I type it out… I feel as though it should be my 29th!?), thinking about my life. I had the recent pleasure of attending the Life Delicious Luxury Wellness Retreat at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, and it’s brought on a whole new level of contemplation, in the very best way.
First of all, I love my life. I have two gorgeous healthy boys, a talented loving husband and the most amazing big family a gal could ask for (in fact, I couldn’t have done the retreat without my INCREDIBLE mom, she came and babysat Max while I indulged in self-care, she’s something else). It’s better than hitting the lottery. But if I’m going to be honest, I often feel as though I can’t do enough, and have feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious. I say this openly because I know I’m not alone. And the Luxury Wellness Retreat confirmed this.
As I sat in the room on the 2.5 day journey, I quickly realized that our small group of fabulous, strong and accomplished women all felt the same. We all felt varying degrees of insecurity, perfectionism, intimidation, anxiety or being overwhelmed all of which prevents us from living our authentic lives and pursuing our dreams. It was such an ‘aha’ moment. All of a sudden, I realized that we all likely feel these fears and emotions, yet we never really talk about them. Which makes us all feel crappy and alone in the end. Which also made me feel sad. Then it made me feel empowered. Kind of like, this is BS; enough is enough, we’re ALL better than this!
The reality is that many of us know what we ‘should’ do to live the life we want. But possessing this knowledge and putting it into action are two very different things. You can read all you want about wellness and self-care, but you need to actually CHANGE if you want to see change in your life. Putting knowledge into action takes a lot of discipline and self-awareness. Why is it so difficult?
I decided that I wasn’t going to give it lip service any longer. After all, how we live our days is how we live our lives. If I continue to live my days the same way with the same habits, my life will look no different! Less reading, more doing, starting today.
The retreat focussed on the four main pillars of wellness:
- Stress Management
I would say that I do a pretty good job of eating well (and by well, I mean balanced, not sprouts and tofu for each meal! Oh and by the way, the food at the Fairmont was incredible, we ate so well!), and am getting back into the swing of exercising after having Max (slowly but surely). However, I have a heap of room to grow when it comes to stress management and sleep. I was reminded of how we NEED to master sleep before we can start to tackle any of the other pillars (watch this video). You need to be rested in order to have a healthy metabolism, energy to exercise, balanced hormones (including those that influence our feelings of fullness and our hunger cues), and manage stress and anxiety. And stress management of course ties into this. For instance, I’ve wanted to meditate for years, but never really put the effort into it. As a quintessential busy-body, meditation always seemed counter-intuitive: why would I sit still if I wanted to be more efficient? There are things to do for crying out loud, how can I just SIT there and do NOTHING?! But I know better, and many of the most successful people in the world meditate.
I walked away from the weekend with so many actionable gems and pearls of wisdom. Here are some of the biggest concepts that really resonated with me:
- Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction. I didn’t learn this particular quote on the retreat, but it is one of my favourites and Catherine talks a lot about this concept. As a perfectionist I have to constantly remind myself of this – don’t wait for the perfect moment, it will never come. And guess what Tori (me, talking to myself), you likely won’t do a perfect job either, and that’s totally ok! Just roll up your sleeves and figure it out. I attended a talk by Dr. Greg Wells (he’s amazing, Google him) that included the Power of 1% Better that’s worth a quick read. Meditation fits in here. I now meditate for 3-4 minutes a day, focussing on a ‘box breathing‘ technique. I’m not a perfect meditator, but it’s better than not doing it at all. And I LOVED the concept of every breath being a ‘rebirth’ – basically, if we didn’t nail it in the moment prior, the next moment is a new start! Which leads me to my next point.
- Abandon the ‘all or nothing’ thinking. It’s such a liberating way to live! Catherine is big on this: one lunge is better than no lunges, one deep breath is better than none. Do one small thing each day to move toward your goals. I can’t tell you how many times I see people vow to eat completely ‘clean’ overnight (usually on January 1st), only to fall flat on their face and end up in a worse position than where they started. Don’t set yourself up for failure and be kind to yourself!
- Refuse a life of mediocrity. I was really inspired by one of the pre-work videos which was an interview between Tony Robbins and Maria Forleo on How to Live an Extraordinary Life. It’s so easy to look at others and believe that they deserve greatness, but what about you? It’s a mindset shift that is so important and powerful. The world needs your greatness! What if everyone abandoned their fears and gave the very best of themselves to the world? I think incredible things would happen.
I could write a book here but the reality is that each person walked away from the retreat with something different. But most important, we each walked away with a plan. I now take time to journal, breath deeply more often, believe in myself more, and try to create a better environment for sleeping. I’m a better person when I take care of myself, which means that improving my self-care is better for everyone around me. It’s that whole ‘put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others on the plane’ mentality.
If you’re really wanting to make a change in your life, and any of this resonates with you, I’d highly recommend attending a retreat with Catherine (she is beyond lovely and created such a safe and welcoming environment). I feel as though it was the best ‘birthday’ gift I could have given myself. The next one is being held February 17-19th in Victoria at the gorgeous Fairmont Empress Hotel and you want to book early as they fill up quickly!
Sending you all big love!
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