Activists play their way to wellness

Group photo

The Activist Wellbeing Retreat invited participating activists to reconnect with themselves through creative exploration of movement and play.

The retreat ran from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 March and was convened by Plan To Thrive’s Holly Hammond and Rest & Play facilitator Stephanie Gesling, and organised by Jolene Elberth of Plan To Win.

The retreat was held at Rocklyn Yoga Ashram outside of Daylesford. The ashram is home to a vibrant community of monks and visited by people in search of Buddhist wisdom, a deepened yoga/meditation practice, or just some time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Holly took participants through sessions on balance vs. burnout, strategies for sustaining activism, and goal setting for living well. She also shared her emerging theory of the ‘8 elements of activist wellbeing’ which will eventually be shared in an article here on Plan to Thrive. In the meantime, here’s the headlines:

1.    An understanding of society, power relationships and dynamics of social change
2.    Freedom from past distress, oppressive messages and limiting beliefs
3.    Purposeful action
4.    Self awareness and emotional resilience
5.    Strong and close relationships
6.    Healthy body
7.    Rest and recovery
8.    Joy and pleasure

Interspersed with these sessions were opportunities for participants to explore creative movement and unleash their inner silliness individually, in partners and as a group.

In addition to taking part in sessions, participants in the retreat could opt-in to yoga, yoga nidra for deep relaxation, and a havan, or fire, ceremony.

The beautiful grounds of the ashram and the neighboring Wombat State Forest were a perfect setting for a relaxing and nourishing weekend.

Here’s what participants said they appreciated about the weekend:

  • The community building, sharing, holding space for one another, the surrounding nature, the soiree, the joy, the strategies and tools, the interplay, the opt in schedule (yoga, etc), the people and the size of the group.
  • The knowledgeable, fun and creative facilitators; the openness, honesty and trust in the group.
  • The workshops were really well-suited to the participants challenges (and my challenges!) and the reading materials were spot on. The opportunities for personal time were really good too.
  • Amazing people, balance of talk/yoga/relaxation/fun, great food and calm space.
  • The encouragement, research and wisdom shared.
  • I really enjoyed getting to know people, having so much solo time to reflect, the low pressure program (i.e. not jam packed), the space/location, and the FOOD!

Some of the workshop resources are available for download here:

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Plan To Thrive’s next Activist Wellbeing Workshop on Avoiding Burnout is coming up on Sunday 2 April – we hope to see you there!


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