Christmas gift to yourself? These all-women run retreats could be the ticket – Women's Agenda

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Our lives are never stagnant. An undercurrent of transition permeates our existence as we ride highs and lows, yet often fail to take stock of the changes that have taken place and the impact they have had on our lives.
Never has this been truer than in the current climate. Our lives have, in varying degrees, been ripped open and forever changed by Covid. The suddenness of this change and the severity with which it has altered our lives is something that we are yet to properly process.
In all the noise of lockdowns and border closures, home learning and vaccinations we have lost the time and space to mark our rites of passage. Babies are born and introduced to families through FaceTime, funerals occur with grieving relatives watching through Zoom unable to seek solace in each other. Graduations, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries have all taken place with restricted celebration. 
Covid has deprived us of the ability to mark these moments, to share our joy and grief and celebrate our achievements. However, our society for a long time has failed to mark the other rites of passage, especially those rites of passage that specifically effect women.
Adolescence, matrescence, menopause: the shifts that bring a woman from adulthood, through to motherhood, through to independence and maturity. As a society we have long forgotten that these rites should be marked and ceremonialised. Women should be celebrated, supported and given time to process the shape of new eras and identities.
With these rites every part of our sense of self lays itself bare for scrutiny. The existential crisis of who was I and who am I now? The push and pull of sociological, physical, emotional and spiritual expectations are placed upon us and yet society provides no space for these to be examined and understood.
These can be similarly compared to the other moments of transition that society finds less palatable and as such, fails to acknowledge and support. Breakups, moves, miscarriages, breakdowns, these are all considered ‘personal’, something that we should manage and move on from, with as little fuss as possible. But in removing the support systems and reducing these to an individualised experience, we isolate those experiencing it, and subsequently reduce our humanity.
And so we need to create a space. A space for women to reconnect, rediscover, recalibrate and re-centre. This was what was front and centre in the minds of the team behind Banksia Wellness Retreats. After examining the deficit in emotional support for women, they decided to create this very space.
The retreats which take place in different locations across northern NSW, aim to up-skill women and arm them with the tools to negotiate these transitions; not only during their time at the retreat, but to transfer these skills back to their everyday lives.
The all-female team behind Banksia Wellness Retreats are health and wellness experts who understand the complexities and challenges that so many women are up against. Their focus is on building out a sense of connection within the programs; to other women, to the environment and ultimately to themselves.
They provide women with a team of professionals to help them negotiate these transitions and to readjust their sense of identity. As health practitioners they have seen women who are isolated and at breaking point. Their aim is to move beyond the general wellness and mindfulness of other retreats and instead create something that was specifically for women who have experienced change.
Many of the women who have come through the doors have been mothers, often in the early throes of parenthood. This has reinforced to the team that as a society we are not doing enough to support women. If ever there was a time to be reflective about the way we address our rites of passage it is now. Pandemics don’t stop these moments from occurring, but they do provide us with an opportunity to pause and examine ways in which we can increase our humanity and connection.
Click here to find out more or to book in at Banksia Wellness Retreats.
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We acknowledge and pay respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
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