Hello everyone, Lesley here. I don’t know how you’re all feeling, but I’ve been a little overwhelmed and exhausted recently. So many changes, so much uncertainty, it can all be really draining and lead to heightened anxiety levels.
So last weekend I was a very lucky girl and took myself off to a retreat in the Lake District. So fortunate – it was last weekend and not the one before as the Lake district was very badly affected by storm Arwen.
The retreat was organised by two wonderful ladies – Jacqui Wallace and Anita Grey. I’d never met them before and didn’t know them. I found the link on social media and took myself off. Yes, alone… on my own!
I really wanted to go alone. I am very privileged to have lots of friends and family for company but I’m an awful fusser and constantly trying to please everyone and look after them. So this weekend was about looking after myself.
I set off early Friday morning and arrived at Brathay Hall in Ambleside in the afternoon. The beauty of the venue struck me immediately. A large house at the top of lake Windermere overlooking the water with acres of gardens and land to wander around – and an opportunity for wild swimming.
I was checked into a beautiful room in the main house overlooking the lake. The view was just stunning. Immediately I began to relax. The benefits of immersing in nature are so well documented so I believe it so important for us to connect regularly for our health and wellbeing.
Brathay Hall is run by a trust and specialises in outward bound and adventure trips for disadvantaged children, but has also branched out recently to offer alternative courses.
Late afternoon I met the other clients and our itinerary was explained.
The retreat was a combination of calming and relaxing yoga practice, the Alexander technique and walking/hiking up the Lake District fells.
The Alexander technique is something I’d previously practiced and I find most amazing. For those with neck or back issues, it helps strengthen and realign the spine. Anita was the expert on that and very knowledgeable I must say.
The yoga was led by another exceptional teacher, Jacqui, a lady with many years experience who has studied and honed her technique in India and South America.
We were able to dip in and out of as many classes and activities as we liked, with no pressure to attend. It was a very full schedule, so I missed the very early morning session of yoga and had a lie in. I must say I slept like a log!
The food was really well cooked health fare, either vegetarian or the option to have chicken or fish. The desserts were fresh fruit and berries with a wonderful gluten free chocolate cake.
I thoroughly enjoyed the tranquillity and calmness of the place. The other clients were friendly and everyone was able to mix in or work on their own agenda, although most participated in all events.
What did I gain from the retreat? Well it was a wonderful recharging of my batteries that are quite run down currently. This time of year can be demanding and the pandemic makes it even more so. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to have time to reflect on my life and the changes that may be ahead.
So if you really want to give yourself a treat and look after your mental, physical health and wellbeing I really do recommend investing in a retreat. The gift of ‘me time’ is something wonderful you can give yourself any time of the year.
Have a wonderful Christmas and I hope 2022 is good for you all.
Best wishes, Lesley x
Lesley has written more wellbeing posts that you might enjoy reading.