The Reset is a retreat offering time to rest, grow, assess your life, make plans, and prioritise you – in beautiful locations, with support and experts to help you make the most of it.
I’ve spent five days thinking about how to describe how utterly life-changing two nights in Meath were.
When GirlCrew told me I was going on The Reset retreat I was, let’s say, sceptical. I am generally not one to embrace the whole self-empowerment thing. I am a cynic. I like numbers, science and facts. I had images in my head of people sitting around positively reinforcing each other and saying things like, “If I wish hard enough I’ll get it.” No offence if that’s your thing but it’s not for me. The Reset was nothing like this. If the Reset retreat was a self-help book it would be called something like, “Permission to Take a Fricken Minute To Think About Your Life Plan in a Logical Way.”
On Thursday, rather than packing to go on retreat, I spent the evening crying. One tiny, itzy-bitzy issue triggered me into a blind rage and hours of tears. My real problem was that I was exhausted. As well as working for GirlCrew, I have a minimum of four freelance clients, my long-term boyfriend lives in London so I spend more time in Dublin airport than I do in my own living room, and I haven’t taken care of myself well in a while. I haven’t been feeding, watering, socialising or exercising myself with any kind of routine and have put on more weight in the last year than I’d care to mention. I wouldn’t treat a houseplant the way I’ve been treating myself. As the tears fell, I ate my way through the season finale of This is Us and thought, “I have to stop this” and The Reset wasn’t so much a gentle stop as it was a handbrake turn.
I could talk to you about the stunning beauty of Loughcrew, about how lovely the bedrooms are, about feeling like you are living and breathing Downton Abbey, about the gorgeous countryside and the stunning old world feel of the house. That would be doing a disservice to the hard work of Vicky, Lauren and the rest of The Reset’s team who create the real value of this retreat. The venue is stunning and all of the above is true, but what made The Reset special was the people.
At GirlCrew, we talk about women supporting women a lot because there is an incredible power in it, and we see this happen on the GirlCrew app day in and day out. Vicky and Lauren went to every length to make sure you had everything you needed to get the most from the weekend. I spent the weekend surrounded by the type of women who you’d put on your “If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive” list. We all came to the Reset from different places and we all had a story to tell on how we ended up there. Some inspiring, some heartbreaking and some just like yours or mine – of women taking on too much, trying too hard, working every hour they have to spare and simply needing the break.
Personal, Practical Problem-Solving
What really appealed to me about The Reset was the practical problem-solving advice they gave. It’s all so simple when you really break it down, Are you unhappy? How do you feel about this area of your life? Is this what’s making you unhappy? Okay, what steps do we take to solve it?
Now I guess some of you are thinking – I could do that myself. I couldn’t, I couldn’t even identify what was making me unhappy and Vicky helped me do that in the first thirty minutes of meeting her. I have availed of life and career coaching in the past and found it useful but I never quite managed to hit the nail on the head as accurately as I did on The Reset.
Two major problems I have are organisation and actually being able to envision the future. Organisation has been an ongoing problem throughout my whole life both professionally and personally. I’ll book a holiday and forget to let anyone know. I constantly double book myself or overload my calendar. Sure I can have an 8am meeting about your new project that you’re not paying me to help you with, head to work for a 9 hour day, commute 3 hours, come home, work on all my freelance projects, get some exercise, eat (possibly for the first time since breakfast), take a call and finish work around midnight. Maybe I even get to talk to my boyfriend for half an hour, read my phone for an hour, get to sleep around 2am and get up at 7:30 to do it all again. Totally sustainable. Very healthy behaviour.
Enter Bullet Journaling. I’d heard about the wonders of bullet journaling but never tried it because 1. It sounded complicated and 2. My handwriting resembles chicken scratchings. I’ve been using this for a grand total of 4 days but my stress levels have gone through the floor. I like giving and getting instruction so this is perfect for me. I like checking things off lists and love a good sense of achievement. I’m getting all of that from my messy non-artistic, non-official on lined paper instead of dotted bullet journal. It’s perfect for me, at a glance I can see what my priorities are for each day and flip to a small task list that includes things like take a minute to check I’m working on my priorities or what actually needs to be done today.
In figuring out what makes me happy and what I want to achieve and what I want to leave behind, I was able to begin to build a picture of what I want my life to look like. Part of this process was building a vision board. A week ago I would have scoffed at the notion. I guess I saw them as somewhere people stuck pictures of Birkin handbags and Jimmy Choos, not where you put a visual representation of the goals you’d identified in your coaching session. Mine is currently stuck on the tv in my bedroom. So I see where I want to be first thing every morning, last thing at night and am reminded that crying over TV shows is not where I want to be.
One session over the weekend was dedicated to our relationship with food, to give us all the tools to maintain a balanced diet. The meals and snacks provided complemented this, was absolutely out of this world and a great example of how simple nutritious food can be. Sinead Delahunty cooked recipes from her new cookbook and I don’t think I’ve ever been as well fed.
One major misconception I had was that the yoga on a retreat was for fully fledged yogis and maybe on some retreats it is like that, but Julie designed both classes to be accessible to all levels, making me feel just a little foolish for forking out for a series of yoga classes in advance of the trip (in fear of making a complete fool of myself). Everyone seemed to be a beginner or intermediate level so I was definitely not embarrassed and found the classes amazing. Julie brought some of the class to tears during a final meditation where she simply told us: “ You are enough.” It reinforced the idea that we all are doing our best, and we don’t “need to be different than we are”. While working on improving some skills, like our ability to look after ourselves or in my case chronic disorganisation, we were never made to feel like we were anything other than enough. Lauren and Vicky had created this wonderful balance between setting goals and removing what doesn’t make us happy and realising that doing your best is enough.
After the Retreat
I’ve only been applying the principals I learned from my retreat for a week but I’ve reclaimed a lot of time, gotten more done, been proactive, felt more organised and generally felt less stressed. Did The Reset solve all my problems? Absolutely not, the things I was upset about last week are still upsetting. Some people will always try and put you down, I still have a huge workload, my boyfriend still lives in another country andI still need to make more money than I do to ever dream of owning a house. But some things have changed. I’ve been taking better care of myself and at the very least, I have a plan in motion to “fix” some of the other things.
For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am in control of my life, not at the mercy of it.