Energising Relaxation Breaks - What’s it all about?
Recently I have been asked by a number of women why am I offering wellbeing breaks; what is my motivation? So, I thought I would explain.
I have always been a person who wants to be happy, aren’t we all? The older I get, the more life I experience and the more I realise that we have to work at being happy. It isn’t handed to us on a plate and it isn’t an automatic entitlement.
I choose, and I am fortunate enough, to work in an amazing place which supports people with cancer. Does that make me happy? Yes, in many ways it does. I don’t drive a fancy car or own an amazing house. I don’t splash cash on expensive treats or travel the world. Of course, more money would be lovely, but it is not the be all and end all. I am privileged enough to spend time with people who face some of the most difficult challenges of their lives; sometimes facing their own mortality or watching the decline of a loved one. What I witness is, that against the odds, people have the most amazing ability to cope with such difficulties and find tremendous resilience that they never knew they had. For a long time I have observed this with awe and admiration for their ability to summon this strength; always thinking I wouldn’t be able to do that myself.
Throughout life it is unlikely that any of us will not experience immense loss and sorrow of any kind, and I am no different. For over ten years I watched my hero, my Dad, adapt and change with an illness that was to eventually take him in December 2018. I have always believed that when he took his last breath, so would I. I simply believed my heart would stop beating.
My heart didn’t stop beating of course, it kept on despite the circumstances and has continued to do so thankfully. So, what do I do now I wondered? Crumble? Decline in health? Delve into an all-consuming depression? All realistic possibilities. How do people survive their own personal version of their worst nightmare? This is when I thought long and hard about all the things I had learned so far about myself and other people. I thought of all the training I had undertaken and all the experiences I had shared with others and for some reason, I made a list of things I felt that I was good at. I started with the things which I felt my Dad had passed onto me. A sharp sense of humour (albeit occasionally inappropriate), a good moral compass, resilience, patience and the ability to remain calm (usually!), fun and enthusiasm and a deep love of red wine – not particularly a skill but certainly something I shared with my Dad! It was a bit cringey to make this list but I made myself crack on with it regardless.
I won’t bore you with the list but after noting some practical things and useful odds and sods, I saw a pattern forming. Lots of these were about being well, feeling positive, building resilience, learning from each other and basically giving a stuff that while we are all doing this life business together, we might as well be good at it. I started to look around at the habits of positive people, blogs and videos about life and the ingredients that make it good; and if not always good - at times when disaster strikes, then manageable, bearable and with hope. Before I got too earthy and wish-washy I had realised that this had made me want some time out. I was searching for something and I didn’t know what it was. I kept telling my husband (absolute gem and eternally patient man he is) “if you can’t find me, I will be at Liverpool Airport running away”. I am sure this was very worrying for him to hear but he didn’t judge it and dug a little deeper to understand how I was feeling in order to support me.
It was of no great shock to my husband when I announced that I wanted to leg it off on a retreat! In my search for the unknown, I had wandered into retreat territory, which was not at all where I thought I belonged. Yet there I was, contemplating 6am yoga, confidence workshops, sharing a villa with strangers (women only, not fussed on strange men - another of my dad’s lessons! Only joking strange men, I apologise) and there and then I decided I wanted to go. I discussed this with said husband and it was booked in quicker time than I usually do anything. I love a good procrastinate... or at least I think I do!
Having a dot on my horizon gave me hope. Hope that I would be able to cope. The knowledge that I could be there for my family yet knowing that I would experience this much needed get away and feel better for it, gave me peace of mind. The promise of the illusive ‘me time’ and that all would be well. It kept me afloat for a while, allowed me to think I had solved my conundrum of how to grieve and do what I needed to enable me to be there for my family and help them through.
Turns out, I didn’t quite have it fully sussed. I kept looking back at my ‘stuff about me’ list and realised that there was something missing. What was missing was me sharing what I felt to be useful and helpful with other people. We all have our story and in the modern world we live in, a bit of sisterhood is sometimes needed! Friendships grow, change and evolve, as we do, and in the recent months I have developed new friendships out of the blue and it has reminded me of the power of common bonds and how having the support, consideration and care of others is an underestimated force. All of this knitted together in my busy mind and I came to the conclusion that I could call on my experiences, and dare I say skills, to facilitate something quite special for women. So, that is how I have arrived where I am…
‘Energising Relaxation Breaks’ was born! (it is a little self-indulgent that I have used my Dad’s initials (ERB) for the name but it makes me feel like he is backing me which I am sure he is).
What I have created is a break filled with a range of activities, experiences and opportunities for women to figure out the ingredients of their happiness recipe. As cheesy as that sounds, that really sums it up. We are all unique and not every part will resonate with every woman. The idea is to be open and accepting to a variety of enjoyable and thought-provoking experiences that can be taken away and then brought into everyday life. Either that or an enjoyable shared break, making memories and having relaxation and fun – whatever floats your boat! There is nothing revolutionary here. It is simply an opportunity to get away, take some time to work on yourself, feel invested in, refreshed and have some ideas of how to keep that feeling in everyday life.
I have been surprised by the responses; some very positive, some less so, but overall, I feel that I am doing something worthwhile and meaningful which is certainly part of my own happiness recipe.
I have joined forces with two amazing women whom I respect and enjoy the company of. I know they will bring joy to others as they do to me.
If you feel that this resonates with you or if you would like the time to work out your own happiness recipe, do get in touch.
I took a big leap of faith booking on the unknown and I hope you can join me and leap too!