February 17, 2020
I recently participated in Oak Bay Beach Hotel’s Annual Wellness Weekend with The Life Delicious, and learned SO much.
Are you a fellow high achiever who wants to learn mindfulness, exercise, nutrition and sleep tools to enrich your everyday life?
Trust me– you probably need to read this.
Like most working moms, I don’t get much time for myself.
I teach full-time at an alternative school, which often include heavy emotional work.
If you’ve been following my instagram stories, you’ll also know that we’ve moved three times in the past three years.
I’ve also recently developed adult asthma and have been on three rounds of antibiotics in the past 6 months for a recurring chest infection.
Add in a broken toe and bruised tailbone from clumsy accidents, and my workout routine has completely fallen apart.
I knew I just wasn’t being the the best version of myself as a wife, mom and teacher. I needed to hit the reset button with my exercise, nutrition, and rest.
The first night of the retreat, I went down to the seaside mineral pool, to float and listen to the waves. While the rain fell down, I took in a series of deep breaths. This was gift to myself to get some rest, learn some new tools, and meet some new like-minded people.
Nestled on the shores of the Pacific Ocean near Victoria, BC – the Oak Bay Beach Hotel is a luxury boutique resort like no other. Their facility overlooks the Juan de Fuca Strait and offers breathtaking ocean views of snow-capped Mount Baker in the distance.
And have I mentioned the seaside mineral pools? (OK, I know I HAVE, but they’re really that awesome).
My hubby hasn’t been here before, and after seeing my instastories of the ocean-view hotel room and amenities, we’re planning a romantic couple’s getaway this summer!
The Life Delicious was founded by Catherine Roscoe Barr, BSc, a fellow busy working mom who GETS me. She’s spent 18 years as a wellness professional and provides wellness education, empowerment and strategy through writing, speaking and coaching services.
The Life Delicious is a simple and efficient template based on neuroscience and mindfulness to help you hardwire habits that best serve your life.
I’m so grateful I got to meet Catherine and learn from her. She has a huge heart and is also super HILARIOUS.
Even though I’m a teacher, I’m often the worst student and get antsy when sitting in meetings or professional development workshops. Catherine is a dynamic, energetic speaker and kept my attention with her engaging stories, fascinating information and energy-boosting movement activities. Schools and workplaces need to adopt this teaching style more often!
The Life Delicious curriculum was seriously so JAM PACKED with evidence-based information, strategies and resources.
Throughout the weekend, Catherine shared thousands of pieces research from her own experience and from respected wellness thought leaders with us. Our purpose was to listen carefully and choose what was relevant to us and our own lives.
What I’m sharing with you is what stood out most to me, at this particular moment of my life. I’ll probably resonate with different top 5 lessons at next year’s retreat. Heck, we all know that things can change SO much from one year to the next.
I guarantee every participant learned something different from this experience … here’s mine.
The first night, Catherine taught us about neuroplasticity and the 7 mindset shifts. She encouraged us to be curious and ask ourselves:
“How can we use our mind and body to change or brain, so we can live the best life possible?”
She also encouraged us to pause and reflect on what makes us feel good and what doesn’t, and tweak accordingly.
Since coming home from the retreat, I’ve found myself pausing and asking myself: “Does this serve me?” throughout the day. It makes decision making so much easier and I find myself saying “I’m sorry, but I’m just not able to do that” way more often. And being OK with it.
Catherine led us through a guided breathing session, and showed us step by step all the moving parts that go into a truly effective inhale and exhale. I had NO idea there were so many components to a breath’s correct posture and targeted muscle engaging!
We also learned about the importance of being creative with how we fit in movement throughout the day. Catherine told us:
“It’s important we are physically active EVERY single day to boost our moods and cognitive function”
I LOVED the retreat’s guided group workouts, including a 6 minute no-equipment workout to kickstart our day. These series of activities have been specially designed for energy, stress release, confidence building and digestion.
This was a big shift for me– exercising in the morning with the goal of creating energy, instead of exercising to try to fit into my skinny jeans.
I’ve been doing two rounds of this workout (12 mins total) every workday morning, and have noticed a significant spike in my strength, stamina and overall energy level. I’ve also been more aware of how I creatively fit in movement and physical challenges throughout the day.
Catherine encouraged us to find what nutrition plan works for us, and that our meals should be filling enough so we’re able to wait 3 hours until the next one.
I found her suggestions very reasonable (and achievable!) with the 80/20 rule:
80% of the time nourish your mind and body. 20% of the time, nourish your spirit and treat yourself.
She also encouraged us to pay attention to indulgence that elevates us vs. indulgence that depletes us.
I’ve written before about my nutrition plan to keep my energy up as a busy working mom. However, my healthy snack planning had fallen apart AND I was finding myself mindlessly snacking in the evenings.
Since the wellness retreat, I’ve been making batches of protein overnight oats for my morning snack at work and also made filled our freezer with healthy family meals. I feel more in control of my food preparation, and have noticed increased energy levels and better digestion.
We also learned that healthy food can also be delicious, with the wellness retreat’s Nutritious and locally-inspired meals, curated by Executive Chef Kreg Graham.
These are just a few examples of what we ate!
Ahhh sleep. Sleep is literally our brain and body’s housekeeping, and affects all facets of our life. Catherine shared with us that if we’ve had a bad sleep the night before, we need to consciously make ourselves eat healthy food all day. This is the best way to break the vicious cycle of sleeping poorly, eating poorly, sleeping poorly etc.
When asked about whether sleep deprived new moms should choose to get up and exercise OR let themselves sleep
For new moms, sleep trumps EVERYTHING. Allow yourself to be flexible and creative with exercise and nutrition until things calm down a bit. It’s OK that self-care looks a little different for a while.
She then shared that our bedrooms are for “reading, sex, and sleep”, along with several helpful PM rituals to help us wind down and AM rituals to help us wake up.
Since returning from the retreat, I’ve completely changed my night time and morning routines. We put up blackout curtains, black tape over all those little annoying lights and created a ‘no TV on in the bedroom on worknights rule’. We now open our window a crack for fresh + cool air, and I’ve been reading in bed with a warm-toned reading light to make myself get sleepy.
For the morning, we purchased a Phillips Sunrise Alarm Clock to gently wake us up with light and bird sounds, and I’ve been doing Catherine’s 12 minute workout.
I feel like I’m now sleeping sounder and feeling more awake throughout the day.
The last module is connection: with ourselves, and then with others.
Connect With Ourselves
We discussed what self-love looks like in practice of self-nurturing, self-knowledge, self-forgiveness, and self-trust.
Catherine told us to get into a routine and make a plan, so we’re not relying on willpower in the moment.
Don’t rely on willpower– hardwire your own healthy habits!
We spoke at length about the importance of us being in control of our own schedules, and being firm about what we do (and don’t) allow into our lives. We also discussed seeing our partners as our spiritual guides and how important it is to ask for help.
Connect With Others Who Fill Our Buckets
For our social networks, we need to intentionally curate the people who really matter in our lives, and be OK with saying “I’m sorry, I simply can’t” to the others.
The goal is to surround ourselves with a tribe of people who we really connect with, and are genuinely excited to be around. Radical stuff, hey? I wish I had learned all this when I was in my early 20’s.
Connect With Nature
Catherine also encouraged us to connect with nature– to go outside in all types of weather and allow ourselves to be uncomfortable in the elements.
Since the retreat, I’ve made steps in connecting with myself, with those who mean the most to me, and with nature. After my morning exercise, I’m taking several deep breaths using the techniques Catherine taught us. I’ve more confidently said “No” to several opportunities and spent more time with my close friends and family. When I’m cold, or uncomfortable outside, I hear Catherine’s voice telling me to:
Get outside and allow yourself to be uncomfortable in all kinds of weather.
The classroom I teach in all day has no natural light, so I added two more snake plants (which clean the air and thrive in lowlight environments). My students and I are appreciating the addition of a bit nature to our space.
1. Re-Think My Work Day Morning + Evening Routines
2. Batch Meal Prep + No Mindless Evening Snacking
3. Proudly Be The Queen Of NO
As scary as it is to write these personal goals on the INTERNET, I welcome accountability check-ins from you.
Feel free to ask me if I’ve done my morning workout to create energy, prepped healthy meals + snacks, said NO to something that does not serve me, or had a good night’s sleep.
Start 2021 by soaking in everything you need to know to live your best life at the edge of the Salish Sea for the Oak Bay Beach Hotel’s annual Wellness Weekend. Step away from nonstop busyness and into a space where you can refocus on yourself.
Find out more: HERE
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