7 Steps To Hosting Your Own Wellness Retreat
Imagine hanging out with a bunch of awesome, like-minded women in a comfy space, developing your business or brand while workshopping motivational topics, creating inspiration, perhaps enjoying some meals together, and most importantly—having fun.
You could, of course, enjoy this experience as a retreat attendee, but how about hosting your own? There's a growing trend, especially with wellness bloggers, to host events that create connections.
Aussie blogger Heather Cox hosts intimate Treehouse Retreats focused on yoga and clean living. One of her clients was quoted saying, "I didn't want to leave. I left feeling lighter physically, emotionally, spiritually and with a smile on my face... I can't wait to go back."
While many connections today are made via social media, there seem to be fewer opportunities to connect in person. A wellness retreat can act as an escape but also a time of community and personal and/or professional development.
If you're ready to boost engagement with your wellness community while simultaneously growing your network, here's how to get the excitement going:
1. Partner with other wellness professionals.
Collaboration can be a beautiful thing—you can usually accomplish more as a team capitalizing on individual strengths for a common goal. It widens your network for attendees and also helps greatly with execution.
Reach out to professionals you've worked with in the past; perhaps it's your favorite yoga teacher or health coach. There are many moving parts to an event. Even if you want to run your retreat alone, it's usually best to have at least one other person on hand to assist. If your budget is limited, consider reaching out to a school or local health and wellness center for an intern.
2. Set your mission/goal/intention.
In essence, you want to choose a theme. Is it deepening yoga practice, healthy eating or maybe a combination? Is it professional development? Maybe you want to include workshops with basics like bookkeeping and insurance for self-employed individuals. Think about the question you get asked most as a professional and perhaps that is the focus of your retreat.
3. Find a locale (and secure it).
After you've set your intention, it'll give you a better idea of the space you'll need; maybe it's a yoga studio or a kitchen for meal prep as a group.
Visit several locales, envision your retreat there, take photos, set the stage in your head. Leave a deposit or take the necessary measures to secure the space for your retreat date. Hosting your retreat at an inn or boutique hotel helps capitalize on the getaway aspect and increases the overall value of your event.
4. Name your baby!
Yup, this is now your baby. You've found a place to host your event, now you need to give it a name. Think about what you're trying to emphasize and write a list of words that describe that idea. Use a thesaurus to find synonyms. Brainstorm. Think of puns, or even made-up words.
Giving your event a clever, catchy name can help others remember it, too. Think of Cherry Bombe Jubilee; you might not be sure of its meaning, but it's memorable.
5. Outline your daily agenda.
Now comes the nuts and bolts of planning. What will the day/s look like? Will you start out with morning yoga? Or breakfast? What workshops/seminars/talks will you host? How long will each one be? Will you teach them yourself?
Make a timed action plan outlining each 15- to 30-minute block of time throughout your retreat, even include breaks.
6. Promote, promote, promote.
Building a list of potential attendees is key. Use Mailchimp or other subscriber management software to maintain your list. First reach into your own address book, then seek out friends of friends. Next spread the word via social media.
Create a jpeg or pdf invitation that you can promote across all social media channels. Post weekly about your upcoming event and be sure to include direct links for where to sign up.
7. Empowering yourself—and others.
As a facilitator, it's up to you to guide the conversation of your retreat. Encourage questions and thoughtful responses. Ensure that your curriculum gives value, that your attendees will leave with new knowledge, ideas, and/or actionable steps. There's great benefit to sharing your own experiences—both good and bad—from which others can learn.
Tune in to your attendees' needs and work to meet those through an enriching experience. Be giving and thoughtful, and they're certain to go back into the world with renewed intention and inspiration.
Rebecca Miller Ffrench is the founder of The Upstate Table, which hosts gatherings and pop-up events in the Catskills supporting local farmers and purveyors. Rebecca is also part of the Salt Sage Collective, which strives to elevate culinary wellness by helping . Rebecca is also a cookbook author, recipe developer, and events planner. She has published four cookbooks, including her most recent, Whole Protein Vegetarian (Countryman Press, 2016). She spends her time between Phoenicia and New York City with her husband and two daughters.