How To Handle Post-Retreat Blues + A Few Of My Self-Care Favorites

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Hello dear,

I hope this message finds you well!

Last weekend, I hosted the celebratory retreat for the spring session of Self Care 101.  As always, it was a weekend of radical honesty, immense strength and the transformation that is only possible when we feel truly supported.  It affirmed the importance of this work that we are bravely doing together as a community.

As always, I felt very humbled to watch so many powerful breakthroughs.  It’s an immense privilege to host and hold this kind of space.  During each retreat weekend I feel like I am floating a few feet above the ground.  There’s so much energy running through us all that I feel like I barely need to sleep.

And afterward, I am always really, really tired.  

I’ve hosted over 20 retreats - both local and international - and through these experiences I’ve learned that the energetic come-down after a really fulfilling retreat can be challenging.  Not only am I so tired, but I get frustrated with the people around me who weren’t at that retreat and don’t understand how profound it all felt.  

Then I get frustrated with myself.  How can I hold so much loving space for my clients and then turn into a brat when my partner asked how it all went?  The sh*tty voice in my head tells me that I must really be a fraud underneath it all.

The downward spiral can be immense and, in the past, has lasted for a while.  An awesome weekend retreat can easily turn into a week-long post-retreat funk.

However, this Sunday I caught myself.  As I trudged up my front steps, I could tell I was in a bad mood.  I was hot, I had a bag full of dirty clothes and almost no food in my fridge.  I missed the good energy of our retreat.  I wanted to curl up and cry.

So I did. Instead of fighting it or trying to unpack right away, I cried on my bed for a while.  Releasing so much emotion helped me feel a little better.  Then I had enough energy to wash off a sweet potato and stick it in the oven.  While it baked, I laid on my bed and watched an episode of the new season of Aziz Ansari’s Netflix show.  I giggled and I drank a glass of cool water.  I noticed I felt more relaxed, and watched another episode.  After it ended, I felt like enough of a human being to have a conversation with my partner, Micah, and share that I was feeling messy, which is always vulnerable for me.  Because he is a great listener who says wise things, I felt validated and connected to him, which made me feel even better.

Then I ate my sweet potato with butter and it was really good.  Simple food can be so helpful.

By the time I went to bed, I was back to feeling grateful.  Not only had it been an amazing weekend, but I had just guided myself through a normally tricky emotional time with a lot of acceptance and gentleness.

In short, I practiced what I preached, and it really worked.

For me, self-care is always the answer.  Sometimes that means devoting myself to a bigger cause, and sometimes that means being extremely selfish.  More than anything, it means taking the time to listen to myself.  My truest self will always reveal what she needs - be it service or solitude - to stay balanced as a human being.  The only thing is that she usually speaks in a whisper, so I have to really pay attention

That Sunday evening, I paid attention.  I practiced self-care.  I got vulnerable.  And it really worked.

So this Wednesday, I wanted to share a few of my favorite self-care resources.  These are the balms that soothe me back to myself when I am feeling overextended or tightly wound.  They guide me back to my steady point when I want to spiral downward.

A Few Self-Care Resources (slightly pregnancy-focused these days):

I’ve been experiencing pregnancy-related heartburn.  My homemade remedy is to eat toasted fennel and cumin seeds between meals.  (Note, I may have made this treatment up.)  In Ayurveda, these seeds are traditionally used to aid good digestion. I’m not sure how that translates to heartburn, except that it seems to be working for me.

Lately, I’ve been putting this song on repeat when I need an energetic pick-me-up.  It always does the trick.

I make this super-easy recipe at least three times a month.  I turn to it when I have nothing in my fridge but cabbage and eggs (for instance, right now).

Always, my daily long walks with this guy will be a favorite form of self-care.

So far, my favorite growing-a-baby books are: this book on Ayurvedic pregnancy, this book on midwifery, and this book on the imperfect art of having a newborn (this one is making me cry every other page).

For those living in DC, I just had the most fantastic dinner at this place.  I highly recommend saving room for their homemade gelato at the end of the meal.

This pillow has converted me, begrudgingly, from a stomach sleeping to a side sleeper.  It hasn’t been the easiest transition, but every night is getting better.

As I mentioned above, I really like the second season of Aziz Ansari’s show, Master of None.  Each 30-minute episode is like a short story while they all still hold a larger plot line together.  I laugh a lot while still feeling like I am learning something about life.

I’m forever-obsessed with these microfiber cleaning cloths that make it really easy to clean up my kitchen or bathroom sink a few times a week without cleaning products (whose smell make me nauseous these days).

***

Perhaps these recommendations will spark a little inspiration for you. Perhaps you have a few of your own that you would like to share.  (Please do so in the comments!)

Mostly, they can just be a reminder that self-care is varied, and that you are important enough to care for in many different ways.  But you have to show up for yourself.  You have to listen. You have to let yourself in - on both your good and your bad days - and learn to enjoy your own beautiful company.

XO,
Gracy