Finding The Joy In Self-Care

The following is a recent experience from an attendee of The Pure Joy Wellness retreat in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

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Several months ago, while preparing to leave on a dream vacation, one question swirled around in my mind. How can I get out of going on this trip?

Crazy, right? I’d been traveling on business for 4 months straight. I hit a wall. The last thing I wanted to do was to get on another plane, not even for vacation. I couldn’t believe I was seriously considering not going, but I was.

I had to decide

The long and short of it is that I got my mind right and went. It was during this trip that I reignited a self-care routine consisting of rest, exercise, and play. In the month leading up to the trip my workouts started slipping. I began eating crappy and my energy was low.

The trip was a cruise and I was determined not to spend my days circling buffet lines or boozing it up too heavily.  Every night I went to bed with the intention of waking early, exercising, and getting outdoors to play.

One morning as I walked the ship’s outdoor track, we slowly pulled into Havana, Cuba. As the sun rose we glided past the famed statue, Christ of Havana. My heart filled with joy. I got really present in the moment and thank God. I thank myself. I had a wonderful time and left feeling rejuvenated. It was a good decision.

One great decision leads to others

I began to get intentional about scheduling time away from work and day-to-day responsibilities. The lesson I learned while cruising to Cuba, is that it’s not enough to schedule time away, or pay lip service to self-care. I must do it.

Next, I decided to join The Pure Joy Wellness retreat in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

 Everything about it sounded luxe and I needed it

This trip helped my imagination soar to another level. I was reminded that the sky isn’t the limit. It was my first time staying in a private villa, fully stocked and staffed with a chef and house team. I’ve never been pampered and cared for as much as I had on this retreat.



I’ve stayed at luxury resorts before but this was different. Villa Estrella is a beautiful 12,000 square foot private home with patios, balconies and an infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Sea. It’s tucked into a hillside with panoramic views of the jungle, ocean, and volcanoes. What?!

The experience was… Pure Joy

I need time alone. It’s one of the best ways for me to recharge. The bed in my suite was one of the most comfortable I’ve slept on. The retreat wasn’t jam packed with activities which allowed for ample relaxation. Our package included a full body massage…it was divine!

Some afternoons I lounged in the pool gazing at the Gulf of Papagayo. On others I sat on the upstairs balcony catching breezes and listening to the tropical sounds of the wildlife as I read a book. One afternoon our chef provided a healthy cooking demo and on another we made ourselves all-natural facials.

We exercised daily, but unlike at home, it was fun and. Much of it happened while exploring the beaches in the Province of Guanacaste.  Our beach hikes were especially nice because we got them done in the morning while it was cool. Renata Joy tailored individualized workouts for each of us and mine left me sore for days.


Over the 5-day, 4-night retreat we visited 3 beaches. Playa Ocotal was my favorite and the most physically challenging for me because we chose to climb the rocky parts. It was a great core workout. I was smiling and laughing the entire time. At the end we sat still in gratitude as the wind kissed our faces.

 On a day trip we visited Costa Rica’s Blue Zone, one of the few regions in the world where people live measurably longer and better.  In my opinion “better” is subjective. We stopped at a local restaurant for a traditional cooking demo and lunch. It was delicious.

The staff at the villa were at the ready to arrange day adventures and there was plenty to choose from. I chose instead to relax and spend my time in other ways like getting to know the other guests on the retreat. I met some cool women and in learning about them, I connected even deeper with myself. Funny how that works.

What are you waiting for?

There is never a lack of great excuses or reasons for not making ourselves a priority. For not making the time to get away from it all and care for self. What’s your excuse? Time? Money? Maybe you’re finding yourself returning from vacation more tired than when you left. You don’t see how this will be different.

I won’t try to convince you.

I’ll just leave you with what I learned from The Pure Joy Wellness retreat in Costa Rica. I learned that the choices I make around self-care today have lasting benefits that positively impact both my health and my wealth. When I am refreshed and fully charged I am unstoppable. I plan to fit in 1-2 wellness retreats per year in addition to other vacations.

You never know where a decision may lead. When the time comes, will you decide to stay or go?