It’s not selfish, it’s self love.
~Annie Sanchez, adapted from my teachers,
adrienne maree brown and Cleo Wade
Wanna know what the least selfish thing you can do is? Take a solo getaway.
a night or two worth of comfy clothes
a great book or two
a bag of snacks
a journal (even if you don’t journal regularly, you’ll be glad you have it for thoughts that come to you during the thought-inducing space of a solo getaway)
a swimsuit in case there’s a hot tub or pool where you’re headed
bug spray (cuz mosquitos suck)
sunscreen (cuz skin cancer)
an iPad or laptop, if and only if, it’s for reflection/self care purposes — no work work allowed.
I’m presently stationed at Sarabande Bed & Breakfast in the glorious village of Los Ranchos situated within the city boundaries of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Yes, this little village is inside of Burque, just twenty minutes from the airport and fifteen from downtown.
Los Ranchos is most definitely the wealthiest area in the ABQ metro area consisting of sprawling mansions (most are historic, only some are McMansions like you’d find in LA or Jersey), many with horses, peacocks and grapevines. Rarely do you see human life on the properties, but there’s a dreaminess just the same.
This area of town has always been a mystery to me. Who are these people? What do they do? Do they live here full time? Do I see them out and about on regular days when I’m running errands and eating out?
My aunt actually lived in the area when I was a girl. Her home was nice but on the modest side for sure, in a “normal” neighborhood with neighbors you could talk to over the fence (unlike most of the multi-acre properties along Rio Grande). I often wonder what her property would be worth now had she and my uncle not separated and sold it.
The Sarabande property is a special gem within the magical mystery of this area. It’s absolutely lovely. Quaint but not tiny. Luxurious but not stuffy. Inviting and friendly.
I feel like I really only discovered this place about half a year ago, though I was aware of it peripherally before.
While talking to Erin, one of my bffs, earlier this year about where I was going to host my Goal Setting Workshops she suggested I look into Sarabande. Low and behold, they make their gorgeous living room available to outside guests and the price was right for my little startup.
Since spring 2019, I’ve hosted two workshops here and have one coming up on September 28th. I’ve also got a special all-day retreat in the works that will take place here in the winter…stay tuned for that!
My relationship with Sarabande was immediately a mutually beneficial gift in my life. At this point, I’ve decided that when I’m staying local, I will be taking time for myself here. It’s just perfect for what I need when I need time alone.
How to take time the glorious way
One of the things I know how to do really well is luxuriate. For me, it doesn’t matter how fancy a place is, I definitely know how to settle in and soak it up.
When taking a solo getaway, especially somewhere fancy, here are my tips:
In advance of arrival, ask for what you want and need.
Is it a special room? Perhaps a hypoallergenic pillow?
Early check in. Late check out.
Special rate? (It’s worth asking)
Bring stuff from home that will ensure you can really go there.
Again, a journal.
Tarot cards? Crystals from your altar?
That book you’ve been dying to start.
Your comfiest jammies and lounge clothes.
No uncomfortable anything…clothes, shoes, hats, etc. Only stuff that feels good on your body and makes you feel good in your body.
The snack bag of all snack bags. Don’t skimp, be sure to bring at least:
Delicious, healthy snacks you actually enjoy eating.
La Croix (if you’re addicted the way I am)
Wine or whatever you might want to drink and will regret not having when you want a glass at 9pm and there’s no fucking way you’re leaving the property and you live in a city that doesn’t deliver alcohol.
A note on alcohol: Your solo getaway should be replenishing. Don’t drink so much that you’ll wake up with even the slightest hangover. You’ll seriously regret screwing up your precious morning.
Any other little treats you might want. Again, you don’t want to have to leave once you check in. It’s okay to have more than you’ll actually consume, you can take it home after.
Use the robes.
Take a bath if it’s a great tub.
Use the pool, hot tub and/or sauna.
Take the yoga class if it’s offered.
Enjoy all the little perks the property makes available. They’re there for you to enjoy!
If there isn’t a restaurant onsite, have your dinner delivered — DoorDash, GrubHub, Yelp Delivery, PostMates — there are options, so utilize them.
Oh, and a way to step up the place you book in the first place: utilize your credit card points — they are there to be used, don’t hoard them. Use them to cover the cost or part of the cost of a nicer property. You will not regret it.
And one last thing, put your out of office on before you go away. You don’t want to feel like you have to keep checking your email while you’re soaking up the down time.
Once you’re onsite and taking full advantage of all the things, be sure to disconnect. I’m totally down with posting some IG stories, but don’t spend your time scrolling. This time is for you to get away, replenish, and refocus your attention on what you want and need in your life.
What do you want and need in your life?
My solo retreats benefit me in multiple ways.
It’s important to me that I get quiet, mind-wandering, creative brainstorming time at least twice a year. This allows my business ideas to breathe and grow and take shape. It also provides me with the down time I need, away from my email, laundry, and day to day distractions.
I think it’s a helpful exercise to start brainstorming what you want to use your solo retreat for in advance — maybe a week or two. Start a list of the things you want to do, think about, and address while you’re away and keep adding to it as ideas come up.
Once you’re at your destination, look over your list and see what resonates in the moment. You’re not beholden to this list of course, but it’s a good place to start. Surely some of the stuff on there won’t be as important to you now as it was when you added it, but it’s great to have a list of things that feel important to you even if you don’t deal with all of them now.
Be sure that you spend this time really doing things that serve you.
Nap. Read. Rest. Daydream. Go to bed early. Wake up early. Take a morning walk.
In between all the replenishing activities, work on the things that feel important to you in about two hour blocks then let your mind rest. Then come back to the stuff again for a couple hours. And let your mind rest again.
It’s not about getting everything done as fast as possible. No, it’s about making progress on what matters most to you while taking time to slow down and replenish.
I’m in the middle of reading Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown and have been overcome with the proclamation that what we do, everything that is, should feel good. For the sheer pleasure of it, yes, but also for the liberation of self.
I’m not going to go deep into the particulars of oppression here, but I’ll say this: I’ve been on a private journey of self-discovery for several years and am learning every day different ways in which I’ve been oppressed to which I’m working through understanding, forgiving and undoing.
If you feel like you don’t deserve to feel good or to take time for yourself, let me be the first to tell you that you do. You absolutely do.
Replenish, replenish, replenish
Yeah, I keep using the word because it’s the whole point of a solo getaway. And also, it just sounds so good and inviting. :)
Give yourself the space to do what feels right…and nothing else.
If it’s your first solo getaway ever, you may find that you just need to sleep and read the whole time. Do that! Don’t judge yourself for taking it easy. It’s the point of getting away after all.
And if you’ve got some creative energy flowing, follow it and see where it takes you.
The key is to do what you want, not what other people think you should do or you think other people will judge you for not doing.
Remember what I said about judgement?
It’s not selfish, it’s self love
If you’re thinking that you can’t possibly get away. You simply don’t have the means or the time or the babysitter, think again.
There are people in your life who love you and support you and will happily take your kids for a night or two. You have to ask for what you want and need, remember?
You can definitely get the time off. Again, you have to ask. And/or, you can always use your sick or vacation leave.
You can. You do. You will.
My first two-day, super luxurious solo getaway cost less than $100 because I used credit card points and booked a property that included breakfast. I just had to cover the difference.
This time, I’m using credit card points again, have the snack bag of all snack bags and ordered Thai delivery instead of walking to the fancy restaurant up the way.
Get creative. Make it happen. You can do it. I know you can.
Note: Your solo getaway doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to feel good to you.
The greatest thing you can do for your loved ones is take care of yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s self love.