Recent online and in real life conversations wandered into the realm of self-care. As a new mum (though I’m not sure 11 months counts as new any more)  self-care is something I think about a lot. I talk about it a lot. But I don’t do it enough. Why is that? Often it’s just not having the time and space to be able to take care of myself. Especially when Rafa was younger and needed me, and I needed him. Patrick also pointed out a few weeks ago that as a couple we’re really good at looking after each other, but we need to become better at looking after ourselves. Such wise words. I’ve slowly found ways and things to do to look after myself. Two yoga classes a week. A massage with a physiotherapist once a month. Short exercise sets a few times a day.

This is what self-care looks like for me, and I realised that the real cost of self-care for me is literal – it’s a financial cost. Time and space I can make happen. Patrick and I have been doing it for 11 months. What I’ve never really considered was the financial cost to self-care. There have been times where I’ve thought ‘oh wouldn’t that be nice’ but the cost of the activity ends the thought rather quickly. Something I really want to do for myself is attend a yoga retreat and I’ve been looking at The Paradise Guide Yoga Retreats to Sri Lanka for almost three years now. And this year I’ve committed to making it happen. Thinking about self-care generally and about self-care in relation to a trip like this really opened my eyes to the importance of planning and investing in self-care the way you would anything else.

To really demonstrate my learning, I’ll give you examples.

Notice trends. The Paradise Retreat takes place a few times a year (there are four this year, the first beginning in April). I know this because I’ve been looking at them for three years. Dates for the year are announced early in the year AND they usually announce their early bird special at this time. The early bird offer is usually $200 off the price of the retreat and often includes some extra freebie. The catch is, you need to book then for any of the dates, even if your preferred date is in December.

Ask questions. Some of you might hesitate from emailing and asking questions in February 2017 about something you are thinking about doing in 2018. Don’t. Register your interest. Ask your questions so that you’re better informed. I reached out to the company to confirm the above ‘trends’ I noticed (ie Are you sure you always offer the early bird specials in the beginning of the year?) and I outright asked about how much additional money they would encourage participants to bring. I haven’t been to Sri Lanka, I don’t know. Ask your questions.

Do the math. The yoga retreat I’m looking at with The Paradise Retreat is AU$1750 for a solo en-suite (and they’re great about putting their prices and inclusions up front, it’s all available on their website). Airfares from New Zealand are likely to cost me NZ$2300. Now, just those two figures alone are confronting aren’t they? But I’ve got a whole year, possibly even longer to afford a trip like this (in terms of time, space and finances). Also, based on the above (asking questions) I found out that AU$300 is roughly enough spending money for the retreat, massages cost about US$40 and you can fly from Australia for as little as AU$850. Good to know.

Invest in it. The biggest lesson for me, regardless of what self-care looks like for you or needs to be for you, was that you need to invest in it financially. A yoga class a few times a week needs to be paid for, or someone to mind the children or the dog, an especially creative knitting class that costs $200 won’t seem as confronting if you have a little pool of resources to draw from.

Make it known. There’s nothing like some public accountability to really get you focused. You don’t need to tell the whole world, but letting a few people know your intentions will really help keep you motivated. You’ll have a little support group encouraging you along.

Often there’s very little we can do about some barriers to self-care but when it comes to financially affording some soulful me-time, that’s an area that you have some control over. So go on, start a little self-care fund for yourself – even if it’s a massage or a truly decadent hot chocolate once a week. And if you’ve got any interest in The Paradise Retreat at all, they’ve been kind enough to offer my community 10% off until the end of February with the code VANISHA10. See you in Sri Lanka?

*While I’ve mentioned The Paradise Guide and The Paradise Retreat in this post, this is not a sponsored post. The discount code was a nice gesture that was offered by the company for my community. Please feel free to use the code, I do not make a commission from it.

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