The sea was lush, the solitude welcomed. I returned home with my heart full and mind peaceful.
Time alone and time away from normal routines really are priceless.
I know that my perimenopause symptoms start to stack up when I don’t get time away, they overflow without space, and they benefit from quiet ‘me’ time so I can give my best when I’m recharged.
I’m very grateful to my partner for letting me go on a solo break. Having time away from home without each other is something we’ve done for a few years now. We’ve lived and worked together for 12.5 years, so having time apart is important to keep our lives healthy and in balance. I also believe that as I approach 50, midpoint in life, experiencing new things and being away on my own needs to continue being something I’m totally comfortable with. This helps build my resilience, independence and ability to cope with ‘life’ in general.
My five nights in Robin Hood’s Bay was a ‘retreat’ and one of the 50 Things Before I’m 50. I spent far too long researching meditation retreats, retreats and spa holidays, and similar ‘time-out’ trips but I couldn’t find anything that grabbed me. Venues were either too far away, too expensive or too short. I couldn’t see me returning from a 4hr meditation retreat in Cornwall being relaxed after the 6hr drive!! So I decided I’d have a do-it-yourself retreat and booked a self-catering cottage right in the heart of the seaside village.
My plan was to do what I felt like doing….or to just do nothing. In fact I didn’t have a plan, which is very unusual for me. Someone had asked me before I left, what would I do if the weather was rubbish….to which I replied, I’ll just have long baths and sleep and it’ll be perfect. I simply wanted time to not think about anything in particular. Just to ‘be’.
I packed enough food so I could eat healthily and not be tempted by classic seaside comfort eating (disclaimer….I did have fish & chips the first night), books to read, watercolours to paint with, podcasts downloaded, knitting projects to finish, bath salts and swim suits.
So how was my retreat?
Stepping away from my usual routine
By stepping away from the distractions and responsibilities of everyday life it gave me the chance to explore my thoughts and emotions more freely. This easy process of self-discovery can lead to a better understanding of who I am, what I value, and what I want from life. I can’t say I had any mind-blowing self-discoveries, or uncovered anything new, but it was good to be away from ‘normal’. The real benefit for me was being in the moment and not having my brain constantly ‘on’.
Being in solitude and silence gave me time for reflection and introspection. Just the week prior I’d spoken at the Coaching Summit and my mind hadn’t really stopped buzzing. First there were the weeks of build up to the presentation, giving the session on the day, and then the follow up activity with a rush of new subscribers and heaps of lovely feedback to take in. This break away was a good reminder to build in ‘off time’ following events to decompress properly.
Mental and emotional rejuvenation
Simply having a break from the normality of daily life was lush. The life I’ve created with my partner is ace, I love it and am so grateful for how we’ve developed our personal and business lives. That said, having a solo break provided me the opportunity to recharge mentally and emotionally. I was able to fully relax and unwind away from all the things that are always just within sight when you work from home.
Being alone with my thoughts and doing activities that brought me joy has filled my cup and made my heart and mind feel loved. Put another way….it’s helped to reduce anxiety, increase my self-awareness, and improve my overall well-being. Being on my own allowed me to be in the moment, no thoughts about anything beyond where I was right then. I ate when truly hungry, napped when I felt sleepy and spent most of my time being, not doing.
I had some amazing slow walks along the long beach towards Ravenscar. My favorite time was in the early mornings – hardly anyone else around as the sun rose directly offshore to the east. Being by the sea in solitude feels so special, watching the waves rolling in or out as the tides change is so mesmerising. It feels like there’s always something new to explore and discover, but with no pressure because it will all come rolling in again on the next high tide.
I love beach-combing, scouring the sand and rock pools for gems. I’m drawn to collecting sea-glass for no reason except it seems like treasure I must have. I swam or dipped in the sea at least once, sometimes twice a day, testing my cold water tolerance as I braved no gloves or wetsuit. There’s a real power to the tidal waters off our coast, in a way I find it fascinating while remaining something to respect for it’s wildness. I was careful to stay within my depth and only swim a little further out when there were plenty of people around.
It was the magical solo-beach-and-sea-to-myself dips which were the best, just sitting in the water, feeling the waves gently ebbing and flowing around me. Were it not for the numbness creeping in I could have stayed submerged for hours. Walking briskly back to my cottage did little to warm me up a couple of times so long indulgent hot baths were blissful recovery with a mug of tea or coffee and candles.
I must add a special note about the cottage I stayed in – Sunnyside Cottage. It’s owned by a friend of mine, Rachel, and is a beaut of a place. Staying so close to the sea was brilliant – literally 1 minute walk to the slipway. Even in the bustle of lunchtime at this incredibly popular tourist destination, the cottage was a haven of tranquility, it was hard to believe it’s so close to the heart of the village. It’s a true home from home cottage – dog friendly too if you travel with your furry friend. No affiliation, just a heart-felt high recommendation if you’re looking for a getaway on the east coast – here’s the link to find out more.
Do you have the mental bravery to go away alone? What might get in your way? If a solo retreat is something you’d like to get booked in but need some clarity on your thoughts and to explore where permission for taking this solitude lies, get in touch. This is exactly what a Focus Coaching session can help with.
If you need a reminder of the challenges I’ve already done go have a read of my first post : 50 Things Before I’m 50 Challenge and the update post: 50 Things Before I’m 50 Challenge: Update and 50 Things to do Before I’m 50 Challenge Update 2.
I’d love to hear if you’ve set any challenges for yourself this year – are they ones you know you’ll accomplish, or like me, is there something you’re going to start and not know if you’ll finished? Leave a comment below.
Adopting better habits and thought patterns can help us accomplish far more than we feel is possible. Life coaching conversations can help you make those positive changes. You have the space and time to explore what keeps you stuck, unfulfilled and not living aligned to your values. If this sounds like something you’d like to look into take a look at the Services I offer or get in touch to arrange an initial free and informal chat.