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How to Explain Your Self-Care Retreat To Your Family

If You Give A Moose A Muffin by Laura Numeroff is one of my all-time favorite kids’ books. It begins: “If you give a moose a muffin, he’ll ask for some jam to go with it.”

If you decide you’re going to spend two days at a cabin in Vermont focusing on your own self-care, not visiting family or friends or going to a work conference or doing any other socially-approved way to spend time away from your life/family/job/home, you’re going to have to explain yourself and your actions. Because chances are, some people in your life aren’t going to get it. You’re going to have to give them some jam.

Here’s a sample letter you can use to send to your family and friends after you schedule your self-care retreat:

Dear _______ (insert name of concerned loved one here),

I wanted to let you know that I’m taking a few days to take care of myself next month. I’ll be going to a really peaceful location in Vermont by myself for a solo self-care retreat.

No, I won’t be meeting friends there.

No, I won’t be stopping to see Uncle Joe and Aunt Lynn on the way.

No, I won’t be working while I’m there.

I’ll just be with myself.

I know what you’re thinking – is it safe? Oh, yes. It’s not a totally remote location. There are friendly neighbors to either side of the cabin if I need help with anything. There’s internet and some cell phone reception so I’m not totally disconnected, unless I want to be. There’s running water and drinkable water and a kitchen and indoor plumbing and everything. Oh, and did I mention I’ll be by myself? No COVID exposure there! The cabin is clean and all my own for two days.

You may be asking yourself: Wait, two whole days? Without your cat, your kids, your wife, your husband, your job, your apartment, your house? What will you do with yourself for two days? Won’t you get lonely?

Well, part of the reason why I’m doing this retreat is so that I have support knowing what to do with myself for two days. I’m working with Chelsea, who organizes these retreats, to set up an outline for me to follow that’s really personalized and helps me achieve exactly what I’m looking for, which is __________ (insert your intention for your self-care retreat here).

And I don’t know yet if I’ll get lonely, but my guess is that I won’t. My guess is that I’ll really enjoy the time to myself without responsibilities to others for a few days. They’ll be there when I get back, for sure. And if I happen to get a little lonely, I think I’ll survive. I’ll definitely let you know how it goes!

You’re wondering if I could just rent an Airbnb by myself and achieve the same thing?

I mean, maybe. But that’s the thing. I don’t. I don’t set aside time to take care of myself. I don’t decide I deserve a weekend away that’s all about my own needs and deepest parts of myself. That gets lost in the shuffle of my life. That’s why I’m doing this retreat – so that I have the support and accountability I need to actually prioritize my own self-care.

And I need to prioritize my self-care. There’s so much uncertainty and anxiety around me and within me. I need to create more space for myself to be centered and whole so that I can keep showing up for my kids, my family, my friends, my job, my community in a way that feels good. I’m taking care of myself because I deserve it, and also because it’ll help me weather the powerful storms of this global time of upheaval and unrest.

I know you love me and are concerned for my well-being. I am, too! That’s why I’m doing this. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m pretty sure after two days of quiet, time in nature, yoga, meditation, reading, writing, swimming, kayaking, sleeping, eating, and maybe even getting a massage, I’ll be more than safe. I’ll feel whole and ready to step back into the life that I love, bringing that wholeness with me and knowing how to create more of it for myself and for others.

Can’t wait to tell you all about it when I get back. And I know you love loons – Chelsea told me there’s a loon that lives on the lake next to the cabin!


_________ (insert your name here)

P.S. I made you some really delicious blueberry jam. Enjoy!


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