In our social media dominated little world, armed with sophisticated technology in our palms every waking hour, one quick fix constant remains – if something is acting up, try turning it off and then on again.
Call it a reboot, restart, or Reset, if you will. Sometimes, with a million tabs open in our minds, pacing around at a billion miles an hour, a reset is the key to preventing a crash and rejigging your internal navigation system.
Feeling overwhelmed and under-productive, that is exactly what I did recently when I headed off to Loughcrew House in Co. Meath for the first ever The Reset retreat, designed for busy women in need of a change.
Organised by health and wellness focused entrepreneurs Vicky Shilling and Lauren Healy, The Reset sounded like the ideal remedy to a busy few months, and pulling in to the picturesque estate, the weight in my shoulders automatically began to lift.
What’s the hype?
With an emphasis on overall wellbeing, The Reset takes elements from various different wellness strands – meditation, Yoga, Pilates, goal-setting, mindful eating and personal development – to offer a holistic and comprehensive approach to embracing the best version of yourself.
A full weekend commitment to a schedule specifically designed to challenge you to focus on yourself, how you would like to improve various areas of your life and how to set tangible goals to do so.
Arriving on a Friday evening, guests (most solo, like myself) check in to the (absolutely jaw-dropping) manor and meet their fellow retreaters. In my case there were 11 others and we headed straight in to an introspective and interactive group session on goal-setting with bespoke Reset workbooks.
This was followed by a balanced and nutritious three course dinner prepared by healthy food GAA guru Sinead Delahunty of Delalicious blog and cookbook, which was the dream set up for a healthy-ish eater like myself.
This was a wonderful way to get to know the rest of the group, over a cheeky glass of wine (for balance!) before retreating to our rooms to hit the hay, or in my case, reflect on all that had come before.
Sometimes, you need someone to ask you the questions you aren’t comfortable enough to ask yourself or perhaps don’t even know how to identify, and Vicky and Lauren have designed the first session to do just that, emphatically setting the tone for the weekend and planting the seeds of change.
Saturday kicked off bright and early with Pilates led by talented instructor Julie B. Thankfully, Julie was keen to ease us all in to the notoriously demanding practice as we were all novices, and not once did I feel like I wanted to give up or die of embarrassment over my ineptitude – the sign of a great teacher and a warmly supportive group.
Having worked up a sweat, we were treated to a breakfast banquet of champions, again prepared lovingly by Sinead, with everything from stewed rhubarb, my favourite Wicked Wholefoods Gránola, smokey homemade beans and delicious oat bread. This was a perfect fuel up for a pleasant hike on the grounds of the oh so picturesque estate in the sunshine.
There are various workshops throughout the retreat, from meditation (an art in itself, made accessible with the guidance of Lauren and Vicky) to group sessions on mindful eating and productivity.
I left each armed with a workable plan for overcoming things I wasn’t pleased about, from procrastinating to beating myself up about the *occasional* tub of ice cream for dinner.
We were given free reign to explore the estate, which I loved. I found myself at one point lying in the shade of a tree reading one of the many motivational books dotted around the house and I have to say, for the first time in years, I switched off entirely.
The only interruption was the welcome call to yet another Delalicous feast, this time a lunchtime buffet of everything from beet hummus to lentil koftes to cauliflower tabbouleh – so many of my favourite things all laid out in a luscious spread….can SInéad be my private chef please?
I was a happy girl indeed and everyone there was sold on picking up a copy of her cookbook based on the fabulous dishes we tried. Luckily, an afternoon cooking demo with Sinead was on the agenda, so everyone left with the feeling that moving towards healthier eating was actually doable and could be delicious indeed.
We were also invited to create Vision Boards, which you may be familiar with from the film The Secret, and many of us whiled away an afternoon assembling vibrant and inspirational boards with magazine cuttings and quotes – I’ve heard colouring books are all the rage but this arts and crafts session was the perfect way to relax and focus on the things we each wanted to attract into our lives going forward. Scissors and pritt-stick in hand, it was pure and simple bliss.
Saturday night brought with it a leisurely dinner followed by something so few of us trying to live in the fast lane get to enjoy – a movie night with platters of snacks and the ultimate excuse to put your feet up and unwind. It didn’t hurt that the film of choice was Mona Lisa Smile, a thought-provoking and empowering tale perfect for a group of women taking hold of their lives and choosing to be in charge.
Early morning Yoga with Julie B was our Sunday wake-up call, a class which featured tears, breakthroughs and a collective sense of “you know what? I am enough.” Gathering together in the garden for a last supper style buffet brunch, happy, relaxed, still in our activewear, each of us pondered aloud what we had learned and I got to thinking of my own key takeaway message from the weekend.
Is it worth it?
Having largely foregone Wifi (the unthinkable!) and taken the time to switch off stress in favour of solace, I realised just how little I had prioritised my own personal development over the last while and how reliant I had become on mindless scrolling through social media instead of engaging with my own thoughts and even my friends and family.
While I arrived at The Reset feeling apprehensive and unsure if “this sort of thing” would be for me, I left feeling like “this sort of thing” is for absolutely every woman who has ever felt like life was whizzing back on auto-drive.
The Reset forces you to pull over, get out of the car and consciously plot the route you want to take, and you leave Loughcrew with a detailed map of how to make that journey and the confidence to do so. I don’t think a single one of us wanted to leave, but we did so armed with bags of goodies, gratitude and goals.
The Reset is an unforgettable experience, with benefits reaching far beyond the weekend retreat. It is an investment in the most important relationship you’ll ever have – the one you have with yourself. Can you afford not to?
How much does it cost?
An absolutely stunning room to yourself, plus all your meals and activities, starts from €800 for the weekend.
For more information or to book your place on The Reset on October 12th-14th visit www.thereset.me.
REVIEW BY DARINA COFFEY