I’ve missed you! No really, I really have. It feels like I’ve been away forever but it’s only been a couple of weeks.
A couple of months back I decided – with a little persuasion from mum, the kids and friends – to book myself onto The Body Rescue Plan Retreat in Portugal. Christianne Wolff and her husband, Robbie, regularly host these wellness breaks and ever since hearing about them, I’ve thought how much I’d love to go on one. Well, with one thing and another, this year has been a tough one; I have felt rather overwhelmed by it all at times. There have been times (mainly due to living on other people’s sofas, my building site and my mum’s floor) when I’ve not managed to make my own wellness a priority. So, I took the plunge and booked it!
Christianne and Robbie are such a wonderful, nurturing team. Alongside the two of them there were four of us, so it was nice and intimate with a chance to really get to know each other and allow for focused individual attention.
I booked into a hotel for my first day there so I’d be ready and refreshed to start the retreat the next morning. Christianne and Robbie had a minibus to collect us all. We arrived at the charming villa in beautiful sunshine and were presented with a host of healthy snacks and infused waters on the terrace. We had the chance to become well acquainted. Anna and Yvonne already knew each other as they are mother and daughter. Verna was the final guest. All three ladies were just lovely and we all bonded very quickly.
Every day was planned to precision but felt very smooth and organised. One of our very first instructions from our hosts was not to lift a finger helping with dishes. Our hard work would be in the physical activities planned and there was a real focus on the importance of this being a well-earned treat for ourselves. They had planned to take care of all our needs and that’s exactly what they did! Check out the view from my room… blissful.
On the first day we had circuit training with Robbie by the pool. Wow! That was the toughest workout of them all. There were times during the exercises when I wondered what on earth I had signed myself up for! I jokingly vowed to kill Robbie in his sleep that night. The truth is it was so beneficial and really fired up our energy levels ready for the days ahead. We were so hot when we finished this workout we got straight into the pool. Ahhhh…. so refreshing!
There were so many wonderful elements to this trip. Yoga by the beach, mountain walks, Zumba, mindfulness, breakfast on the beach, delicious food and great camaraderie. One of my favourite moments was on our first evening at the villa. The four of us were instructed to lay down on the sun loungers at sunset, given pillows and blankets to make ourselves extremely cosy, and then Christianne guided us through a meditation with our eyes closed. It was so incredibly peaceful and soul-nourishing. Finally she asked us to gently open our eyes as she continued to calmly talk to us about our surroundings, taking it all in and appreciating everything. The moment we opened our eyes we saw that darkness had filled the sky above us apart from dots of brilliant light. The stars looked absolutely magnificent! At first I thought I was seeing an aircraft because it was twinkling so much, and then another and another. It soon became apparent they weren’t planes but stunning stars set into a very clear, unpolluted sky. They say the best things in life are free. Isn’t it wonderful to just take in what surrounds us? When you take a moment to notice nature on a walk or the sound of the sea or the stars above you, it makes you realise how lucky we really are. Even in stressful times we can find a little bit of peace if we allow ourselves a little time.
The food was superb and we felt like we were constantly eating – just another thing that I adore about this plan! As well as our gorgeous main meals we also had plenty of smoothies and snacks; I thought it was very sweet that when we had been doing one of our workouts these boxes had been delivered to our rooms for us! Freshly-made apple crisps, yummy homemade energy bars, nuts and fresh fruit. We were also gifted Body Rescue water bottles and ‘I love yoga’ T-shirts.
We were all quite emotional to say goodbye to each other at the end, but in a good, positive way. We had grown close in just a few days. The environment was so supportive – it felt as though we were all cocooned from the everyday stresses we had left behind at home. It allowed us the chance to really recharge and get back into looking after ourselves in a loving and nurturing way. This is something which is often overlooked but when we care for ourselves it renders us better able to cope with everything and better equipped when other need our help too.
We bid each other farewell just after lunch and were all dropped back, the others to the airport and I to my hotel where I had booked to stay one final night. It was really great to have the time to sit with myself and reflect on the week that had just been. I also discovered I had lost several pounds in just a few days as my hotel room had some scales. I was very surprised by this – I wasn’t even thinking about weight loss when I booked the retreat!
All in all, whatever you do to take time out for yourself, it’s so important that you do. It could be a solitary walk in nature. Maybe a few pages of good book in a long hot bath, or just a night in your PJs watching your favourite film while painting your nails. Many of us run around trying to be Superman or Wonder Woman so much that our batteries get very low, our capes fall off and we can no longer fly. Even running seems a struggle, like wading through treacle.
Give yourself time. Obviously I highly recommend this retreat if you can but, like I say, it could just be a little bit of ‘me time’ or an at home beauty treatment. It’s a start!
Look after yourselves, really do! I’ll see you soon.
Love Catherine xx