Have you ever attended a workshop or wellness retreat reintegration, only to find your “transformation” evaporating as soon as “real life” kicks in? It’s definitely happened to me before, and it’s a terrible feeling. All that money and time spent… for what? A fleeting feeling of “hell yeah!”?
Well, we’ve learned this lesson the hard way so that YOUR retreat reintegration goes smoothly and your hard-won healing sticks around for the long term.
After our 2021 Art of Ceremony retreat in Costa Rica, My Husband and I spent a few extra days there to help us ease back into our reentry. Gorgeous walks on the beach. Delicious food to nourish our minds and bodies. It was retreat reintegration at its finest!
But, you can’t always schedule “buffer” time between a sacred experience and the duties of daily life.
So what do you do when you return from a wellness retreat—totally changed—to a life that’s stayed the same? How can you create a bridge between your sacred experiences and the everyday routines of your life at home?
You can start by harnessing your six senses!
Read on to support your re-entry by partnering with your five senses and your intuition.
6 tips for Wellness Retreat Reintegration using your Senses
- How your sense of Sight can support you as you reintegrate into daily life
- Sound healing you can do from home
- Recreate the Scent of your retreat reintegration to bring it back instantly
- Find out how Touch and textures to help with reentry
- Incorporate healing Tastes and flavors to embody your healing
- Listen to your Intuition as a daily practice
Visual cues trigger emotions and help us engage with the world around us. Because visual memory is encoded in the medial temporal lobe of the brain—the same place where emotions are processed—visual stimuli and emotional response are linked!
Do you ever find yourself scrolling through photos on your phone with a goofy smile on your face? In our modern lives, we have the ability to carry evidence of our adventures, big and small, in the palm of our hands. Capturing stunning photos of the places you visit and the people you meet is an amazing way to bring memories home with you. What pulled you in so strongly that you just HAD to stop and take a picture?
Having visual reminders of the things we love—framing photographs or displaying sentimental objects—can help ground us and motivate us to continue living in alignment with our True Natures and our most Divine Selves.
To help process your experience, try putting photographs from your journey in places you’ll see them regularly. If you brought anything special back home with you, clear a small space on a shelf and dedicate it to your time on retreat. Spend a few moments each day to take in the visual reminders you’ve collected. Allow yourself the time to remember you sacred experience.
Leaves rustling in the wind, ocean waves crashing against the shore, the sounds of cicadas and monkeys. I can close my eyes and hear the song of Costa Rica! But I don’t have to rely on my memory alone…
We created a meditation for our retreat guests using the sounds of our time in the jungle. Having those recordings available upon our return home is absolute bliss and helps smooth out what can often be a rocky reentry.
What sounds remind you of your experience? Create a playlist with the music you listened to while on retreat reintegration and dance around the house!
FUN FACT: Iconic memory (visual memory) has a duration of about 100 milliseconds, while echoic memory (auditory memory) has a duration of about 3-4 seconds and is capable of holding a large amount of auditory information. Both types of memory are considered short-term and fade rather quickly.
We want you to hold onto and truly process your retreat reintegration experience! Because our iconic and auditory memory are both more temporary, choosing to capture photos, videos, and sounds from your experience can aid in your reintegration by allowing you to repeatedly revisit the sensory stimuli you were surrounded with and sync in your transformation more deeply.
Our olfactory sense is well known for its connection to memory and emotion. Freshly baked goods, perfume, the pages of an old book, a new car, or one of our favorites, petrichor—the scents we encounter throughout our lives all have the amazing ability to whisk us away and transport us to the places of our past. We don’t even have to leave the room.
With that in mind, I provided each of our retreat guests with a beautiful scented soy candle to keep by their bedside while in Costa Rica. I made certain to offer unique scents to truly help them anchor their experience. Bringing that scent home instantly recreates the feeling of being on retreat!
Candles, essential oils, bundles of dried herbs, or bouquets of fresh flowers—there are so many ways to utilize your sense of smell when it comes to reentry. The more we use our olfactory sense, the stronger it gets! So don’t forget to stop and smell the roses…literally.
If I told you to close your eyes and imagine digging your toes into warm sand, splashing in cool water, or letting the sun kiss your skin—could you recreate the sensation? What about the feeling of the wind at your back, satin sheets on your skin, or dirt beneath your fingernails?
Our sense of touch is another remarkable aid in our retreat reintegration. Wearing familiar fabrics or jewelry can help ground you in the present moment while still reminding you of your transformation, growth, and sacred experience.
Schedule a massage or bodywork in the first two weeks after your return, write healing affirmations on your skin, or get out in nature and simply feel the earth beneath your feet.
I have been craving fresh, tropical fruit since our return from Costa Rica! Take note of what foods made you FEEL GOOD during your time on retreat reintegration and honor your experience by continuing to nourish your body in similar ways. Look at what felt supportive while you were there and get creative with how you can replicate that at home.
Maybe you started drinking a new type of tea or prepared your coffee a different way. Maybe you found yourself enjoying more fresh foods, new spices, or unique desserts. Don’t abandon those experiences, EXPAND upon them!
What’s available to you at home that incites a similar sensation? This is a great opportunity to take a trip to a local farmers market and taste what your local area has to offer that can help reactivate your transformation from the retreat.
Healing retreats are transformational. We get in touch with who we really are, who we want to be, and what we want to create. Continue the transformation by tapping into your intuition on the regular.
Journaling, meditation, pulling tarot and oracle cards, and practicing new and full moon rituals will help guide you on the path you set for yourself during retreat.
Take a moment each morning to ask yourself who you want to be that day. How does that person dress? How do they move and speak? What is their motivation, their passion, their dream?
What is YOUR dream? Remember that you ARE that person. You are a beautiful, intricate being with wants, and needs, and infinite potential. Who you want to be on any given day is who you are. You don’t need to split yourself apart or fit into a single box.
Your transformation is a lifelong process. Keep growing and take up space, love. You’ve got this!