Do something for you
So in my last post I mentioned how I was feeling positive for the new year, and that feeling is continuing. I’m in a position where I don’t have too many demands placed on me, which is wonderful, but as I’ve mentioned before, women in general seem to find it difficult to take time for themselves and this is still something that I can struggle with. To quote myself rather pompously from a previous post about finding time to go hiking:
“This [feeling] is compounded by the gendered socialization that prioritizes men's leisure time over women's. Women (particularly lower-income women) are expected to not take time out for themselves (how many bloody 'mother as martyr' adverts do you see on the telly) and participate in activities purely for the joy of it, because other commitments in their life come first. I have to admit I struggle with a slight embarrassment that I have the opportunity to be so frivolous and get to spend my time doing activities that I want, and I don't think this embarrassment would be so profound if I were a man. It's a sad thought that prioritizing your hobbies and health is considered a luxury amongst most women.”
I still feel kind of embarrassed that I have a lot time available to do what I want, and I think conversely this pushes me to not actually focus on myself as a weird self-punishment. There is literally no one in my life who makes me feel shitty for being lucky, except me. Why, brain??!
So one of the ways I’m trying to get over this is by indulging in a bit of self-care. Undoubtedly, one of the best things you can do for your body is move, stretch and - how to put this - live in it, and be ‘connected’ to how your body feels- when it needs exercise, when it needs rest, when it needs sustenance.
Last summer I went on a weekend retreat organised by my friend Anna who runs Pilates classes here in Lyon. We spent the weekend reconnecting with our bodies- through massage, yoga, Pilates, meditation and eating delicious, nourishing food. I met some fantastic women, learnt some new recipes and laughed a lot.
Each day had a timetable of events, beginning with morning yoga sessions. Throughout the day you could opt in to whatever you wanted to participate in, be it Pilates sessions, preparing lunch and dinner with the holistic nutritionist who crafted our meals, or just spend time relaxing in the sauna or pool. We also each had a shiatsu massage scheduled.
It was a great way to kick off the summer. I had just torn a ligament in my foot the week before, and Anna made sure that everything was accessible and fit around my injury. I have to make it clear- this wasn’t some detoxing bootcamp-type weekend, it was comforting and recalibrating, and dinner included a glass of wine or two. Also, it goes without saying that there was no competitive stretching. I am a relative beginner, and I expected to feel a little out of my depth- especially since I didn't know any of the other guests, but everyone worked within their capabilities and the practitioners took time to get to know each of us.
Anna is organising another event on the 10 - 12 March, which I think is the perfect time of year for a retreat- you are just emerging from winter’s cocoon and as spring kicks in you can face it refreshed and ready to roll. The details of the event can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/295594710837368/
This will be a chance to practice Pilates and Yoga, and share in good food and fresh air. We will spend 2 nights and 2 days in our own private gîte in the beautiful Beaujolais region (30 minutes outside of Lyon), surrounded by rolling vineyards, with plenty of cosy indoor spaces to relax and reset.
Sounds good, huh?
I can absolutely recommend Anna, and the other practitioners she works with. It was a delight to experience last year’s retreat, and a welcome reminder to take care of myself. It’s something we all should do more, especially if you’re busy, stressed or just need a boost before spring hits.
As Anna says, do something for you.