This weekend I hosted my very first wilderness retreat in the mountains of Idaho! One of my dreams came true! I think all of us shed a bit of a tear at some point when we all went around and said what we wanted to get out of the retreat. As a group, we sat around for a quick introduction, and each of our stories resonated with each one of us in some way. We felt seen. We talked about sacrifice, business, womanhood, our babies, and feeling burnt out by a combination of all of it. It really hit me just how much of a weight we can feel as women when it comes to a direction in life, finding ourselves again as moms, and again once our kids are older. How we can feel alone in our female friendships, in our jobs, and in our overall direction.

Some of us shed a tear as we spoke, others gave a comforting leg pat, and some of us realized just how much we relate to each experience. We sat as a tribe of women, from all over the country (and Canada!), and bonded in our ability to relate to each other. What a powerful entity womanhood can be! It got me thinking about how important it can be to feel seen, and how guilty women can feel when deciding to put themselves first. 

Feeling Lost is Normal

Creating a welcoming and loving community of women has been something I’ve been thinking about a lot, especially as I created the Our Womanhood program — which is a monthly program to help with exercise, nutrition, lifestyle, and self-care. So many women at the retreat talked about hoping to find their way personally, professionally, and in life. I looked around and saw nods of understanding from the other women, and saw how much it helped all of us to realize that it was normal to feel lost. Life isn’t a straight line, it’s got twists and turns and ups and downs and spirals and dotted lines. Jobs change, passions grow, kids come, and lifestyles shift. All of those changes can cause us to feel lost, and that’s totally normal. 

Even if I don’t have all the answers or advice, sometimes we just want to feel seen and to know we aren’t alone. At that point of the retreat, not even an hour into our arrival, I felt the shift in feeling understood. 

Don’t Feel Guilty About Helping Yourself 

As I sat in a circle with the other amazing women who were able to join me on the retreat, I felt so thankful and aware of the sacrifices they made to be sitting in the circle with me. Their sacrifices were time away from their kids, work, and life in general. We talked about learning more about business, being around like-minded women, recharging, and taking time that would benefit our mental health. That is a huge sacrifice, because women, moms, and those committed to work often feel guilty taking time and resources for themselves. However, it’s not anything to feel guilty about. 

Whenever I start to feel bad about taking time for myself, I always remind myself that I’m the only one who can give my kids a happy mom who loves her life. And I have to help myself in order to give them that. Whether your goals are to spend more time on your career, on yourself, or on your wants, it’s okay to begin keeping those promises to yourself without feeling guilty. 

These realizations are why I think female retreats are so magical, and why it was so important for me to host one in the mountains where we can all feel relaxed and at peace in the mountains. Where we can get back to ourselves, and feel empowered in life. 

It was only day one, and I felt so comforted surrounded by each woman. I felt seen. This is what it’s all about!

xo Natalie

P.S. When you’re feeling lost, how do you work on helping yourself through that without feeling guilty?