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Elizabeth Barbour, M. Ed.
The Revitalized Business Woman
Missouri City (Houston), Texas

Call Today: (281) 778-7298

Latest News

Wednesday
Feb012017

What is a Retreat? Why Should I Go?

I’ve been leading women’s retreats for almost a decade, and I’m excited to announce that I’ve just put the final details in place for my next Revitalization Retreat weekend from April 7-9, 2017 on Galveston Island, Texas.

People ask me questions about retreats a lot – What is a retreat? Why should I go? I was reviewing some notes from when I was interviewed for a magazine article about the importance of nature retreats and I thought I’d share some of the answers with you.  If you are thinking about going on retreat – with me, or someone else – this should help to answer some of your questions.

1) How do you define a retreat?

I think of retreat as “stepping out of ordinary time” – it can be for an hour, a day, a weekend, or longer. It’s about getting out of your usual routine, responsibilities, and expectations and taking time to slow down, rest and renew. With our busy, chaotic world, it’s more important than ever to carve out these chunks of time for ourselves.

2) What do you think are the benefits of a retreat in which women spend much of the time outdoors?

Nature is in balance. Nature has rhythms and cycles. When women spend time in nature, they are restored to their natural sense of flow. They relax, unwind, let go of responsibilities and start to breathe easier. They listen to their bodies and the mental chatter tends to die down. Retreats are also great for connecting with your creativity (Even I wrote a poem after leading my last retreat – that’s very unusual! Ha!) and for gaining a new perspective on your life. Mother Earth has much wisdom to impart if we will only slow down and take the time to listen.

3) Is it possible to take a personal retreat outdoors, or are retreats usually group functions?

I highly recommend that my clients retreat outdoors whether by themselves or in a group. A personal retreat can be as easy as going to the park by yourself and taking a journal, some inspirational reading, and some yummy snacks and just sitting and BE-ing. Listen to the birds, look at the trees, sit against the trunk of a tree and get grounded. A group retreat can be gathering a group of friends who head to a favorite place in nature to reconnect with the land through camping, hiking, and singing around a campfire. Or my favorite kind of group retreat (not that I’m biased) is going on retreat with a trained retreat facilitator, someone like me! Retreating with a skilled professional allows for deeper intentionality in all of the activities and invites you to sit back and relax and be guided and cared for during the retreat weekend.

4) In general, what do you think are the different benefits of a personal retreat versus a group retreat for women?

A personal retreat can be excellent for clearing the mind, reconnecting with the body and experiencing silence, something most of us don’t do these days. A women’s group retreat can help you do those things, too, but in addition, you get the wisdom, direction, and resources of a skilled facilitator, you experience great connection and companionship with other women, and you feel deep in your bones the support and understanding of knowing you’re not alone. Retreats can be an intimate experience and there is real power in the synergy of a women’s circle. You can even make life-long friends… I’m still friends with women that I’ve met on retreat in Colorado, New Mexico, and Georgia over the past decade!

5) Why do you think outdoor retreats are so good for most women?

Mother Nature is nurturing, loving and healing. Spending time outside takes us back to the basics, back to our essential selves, back to being more connected to the land, back to being plugged in spiritually. It allows us to press the reset button of our inner clocks and regain balance and wholeness. The mountains can be very grounding and nurturing. The beach can be very uplifting and support possibility thinking.

6) What can you expect on a group retreat?

My retreats are all about revitalizing your life including mind, body, and spirit! I incorporate guided journaling, playful movement, time in nature, uplifting music, healthy and delicious food, and lots and lots of time to R-E-S-T.  As a result of our storytelling, circle time and lively conversations while sharing a meal, retreat participants come away with insights and a-ha’s about their business and life that often propel them forward in an area where they were previously stuck. They leave feeling refreshed, renewed and well, revitalized!

Of course, every retreat is different so you want to make sure to find one that suits your needs. There are some retreats that are just about yoga and meditation. Other retreats that are business planning retreats. Others still have a specific topic in mind – embracing your spirituality, connecting with your creativity, learning how to play a drum, etc. Find one that appeals to you and go for it. Going on retreat can literally change your life!

Interested in learning more about my April Revitalization Retreat? Email me today and let’s connect!

Here’s to retreating!

Elizabeth

Wednesday
Jan252017

5 Simple Tools to Support Your Smart Self Care

 

So now that January is almost over, how are you doing with those New Year's resolutions?

Yeah, I thought so…

One of the biggest challenges with visioning is that we often have an idea of what we want, but we are not sure what tools we need to get there.

For example, when I think about decorating my home, I can see in my mind’s eye how I want it to look. Hanging artwork on the walls, reducing clutter, painting an accent wall, choosing a new fabric for drapes…

But what I often forget to think about is… What are the tools that I need to make this happen? Paint and a paintbrush and drop cloths… Hammer and nails and picture wire… Bins for trash, recycling, and donation…

You see where I’m going with this?

Every goal or vision requires tools to support the manifestation from dream into reality!

If you have set some self care goals for yourself this year, here are some practical and helpful tools to help support you and making your vision a reality…

1.  A self care list. You are the only one who can make your own self care list. Because the truth is, we all need different things to feel like we are taking care of ourselves.  There are literally hundreds of things you could put on your list but I’d encourage you to pick 10 to start. Actions like hiking in the woods, dancing to your favorite music, savoring a soothing cup of tea, journaling about your feelings, sitting in silence and meditating, luxuriating in a bubble bath or scheduling a lunch date with a friend. Here are a few great articles to give you some inspiration about self care strategies from Tiny Buddha, The Mighty, and Psychology Today.  Once you have created your Self Care Top Ten, hang your list someplace you can see it regularly (fridge, office, closet!) and remind yourself to schedule these into your life on a regular basis. Speaking of scheduling…

2.  A calendar. If it's not in your schedule, it's not in your life! I cannot emphasize this point enough. If you start blocking out time every week, month, and quarter for self care, you'll be amazed at how much more productive you'll be and how much less stressed you will feel. Ask yourself: What do I want to do for self care (Refer to your list from above!) and how much time do I want to allot? Grab your calendar right now and schedule it!

3.  Virtual workout support. Most professional women that I know really struggle to fit in exercise with their busy lives. Between work, commuting, kids, volunteer work, and everything else that needs to be done, exercise tends to fall further down on the list. One solution that I have found very helpful on days when I don’t have time for a full workout (either an exercise class or a long walk) is to tap into online fitness classes. Two of my favorites are www.mommastrong.com (only $2 a month! Seriously? Seriously! With 15 minute workouts – easy and fun!) and www.yogawithadriene.com.

4.  Self care on speed dial (aka your BFF or your sister or whoever will tell it to you straight!) You need at least one friend who will tell you when to slow down, reassess or take things off your plate. Many friends will be supportive and say things like “You’re strong, you can handle it, I believe in you.”  Which is great… sometimes. Other times, when Life has gotten out of control, you need a friend to give you some straight talk  and say “I love you. I see how hard you are working. But you’re about to have a meltdown. Let’s be proactive and avoid that, shall we? So what do you need to take off your plate, STAT?” 

5.  Retreats. If you’ve followed my work, you know that I’m a big believer in retreats. A retreat can be anything that helps you to remove yourself from ordinary life (work, parenting, or any other responsibilities!) for an hour, a day, a weekend, or longer. It could be sitting under a tree on a blanket on a warm sunny day for an hour. It could be scheduling a Friday afternoon once a month for “me time”. Or it could be going on a weekend retreat with your favorite coach! (Hint hint… my next retreat is April 7-9th on Galveston Island, Texas!) Not sure what kind of retreat you need now? Here are some ideas to help you plan your next retreat… 

Revitalizing Action: Which of these tools are you going to put in YOUR self care tool box? One or ALL of them?

  •  If you make a list, tell me what’s on your list!
  • If you grab your calendar, let me know what you’re committing to.
  • If you try one of those virtual workouts (or if you have another one to recommend to me!), let me know how it goes.
  • If you have a friend who will set you straight, call her and thank her for being that friend to you.
  • And if you plan a retreat for yourself or decide to go on retreat with me in April, (I promise you’ll feel restored and revitalized!) I want to celebrate with you!

Email me anytime for support, inspiration or to share aha's!

Here’s to simple tools to support your smart self care!

Elizabeth

Wednesday
Jan182017

Showing Up Matters

I’ve attended too many funerals recently.

Barely more than a year ago, I wrote an article called The Power of Presence a few days after we attended our friends’ 4 year old son’s funeral. Connor was a friend of Riley’s and had a rare form of brain cancer called DIPG.

The concept of presence and showing up is fresh on my mind again because sadly, last week, I flew to Florida to attend the funeral of my 33 year old cousin, Johnny. He was the son of my beloved first cousin, Diana, and was an all-around great guy. Married with a 16 month old baby boy, Johnny was loving, caring and devoted to his family. He served in the United States Air Force for 10 years and was a proud veteran.

As painful as it was to be celebrating the life of someone who died too young, it was heartwarming to see how many people attended his funeral and paid tribute to his life and legacy. I had quality time with my cousins Diana and John and their daughter Cassie as well as dozens of extended family members I hadn’t seen in a long time.

I’m so glad that I went. To honor Johnny. To be a support to Diana, John and Cassie. To connect with other family and friends who knew and loved him.

To get there, I had to travel on my birthday. Which, at my age, isn’t such a big deal. But my 5 year old daughter was really upset the morning that I left.

“But Mooooooooom! It’s your birthday! You can’t be gone on your birthday!”

I assured her that we would celebrate when I returned but that did not allay her concerns.

Then I tried to explain to her “Honey, when big important things happen, it matters that we SHOW UP for the people we love.

I went on to say “Do you remember Grandma’s funeral? Do you remember all of the people who attended and told us that they love us and care about us and that they were sad with us?”  and she nodded affirmatively.

I said “That’s why I’m going. It’s my turn to do this for them. They showed up for me and now I’m showing up for them.”

 

While I’m grateful I was able to make that trip last week, of course you can’t always…

  • Make it to the funeral
  • Attend the wedding
  • Get to the family reunion
  • Show up at the anniversary party
  • Visit a sick loved one
  • Attend the graduation
  • Get there in time for the birth of the baby

Time, money, distance and life commitments often prevent us from showing up in person, even if that’s what we would most want to do.  

But there are other ways to SHOW UP if you can’t make it in person to an important event … If you want to see the amazing things that people did for us a few months ago when my mom died and get inspiration for how you can show up for someone you love,  I wrote about it here.

Showing up and being present is one of the most important things we can do for the people we love. It’s about making love visible by making it tangible and real. We all know that actions speak louder than words. When you show up, you are being a witness to others at a time of big transition- whether it’s celebrating one of life’s milestones or grieving the loss of a beloved.

Where will it matter if you SHOW UP today, this month, this year?

Elizabeth