I Tried A Wellness Retreat And It Helped Me Embrace A Minimalist Lifestyle

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Sometimes, you just need a break. You need to get out, pare down, and start clean — especially when every day feels like a high-speed train that doesn’t stop. There’s a lot of clutter out there that needs to be minimized every now and then. That’s why I decided to hop in a car with my mom and take a drive into the snowy mountains for a weekend of wellness.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Was it going to be anticlimactic? Way too cold? Were we going to start going crazy from boredom after day one? After all, how long you can really sit around doing essentially nothing? But that was my problem: I went into the entire experience expecting that every moment of every day had to be packed with something. Sure, my mom and I unwound, took in nature, caught up, but the best thing we drove away with was a renewed appreciation for enjoying a more minimalist lifestyle. In partnership with bareMinerals — the creators of clean — here are the highlights from my trip that helped me wipe the slate clean and get back to basics.

1. Disconnection correction

My vice has never really been my phone. I’m in a forced relationship with it, and I relish the moments I can leave it behind or turn it on silent. My friends can attest to this. I’m — to a fault — notoriously bad at responding to texts, seeing DMs, etc. But, and this is a big but, I’m an obsessive TV watcher. I have every streaming service and all the cable channels. I turn the volume up so I can hear it in the shower. I don’t even know how to fall asleep without something playing in the background. So being dropped in the middle of the woods without easy access to every show and movie ever made was...an adjustment.

But you know what? It was fine. I was fine. I read, I looked at the snow falling outside, and sometimes, I did and thought of nothing at all. It’s pretty amazing how normal constant stimulation can feel, and how peaceful it is to dial everything down. And it’s. so. easy. Leave your phone behind, turn the TV off, take your earbuds out, and just listen. It’s really that simple.

2. Maximize minimalism

Maybe it was just in my head, but there was something about being in nature that made me more aware of things — the foods I was eating, the products I was putting on my skin, the amount of stuff I (over)packed.

In fact, I suddenly found myself with a heightened awareness of clean beauty. I started sifting through the products my mom and I had packed, checking to see which were full of what’s good and free of what’s bad. Of course, an easy way to avoid reading the fine print of every label in your medicine cabinet is to simply choose brands that are committed to quality ingredients. Take bareMinerals, for instance. Its hero product, the ORIGINAL Loose Powder Foundation SPF 15, has only five clean mineral ingredients. And the entire line is also non-toxic, cruelty-free, and totally clean without compromise.

We may not actively think about things like skin care on a daily basis, but choosing healthy products does soothe any subconscious worries that may be running in the background of our already stressed brains.

3. Talk therapy

Not to directly contradict myself, but as great as taking in the scenery is, it can also get a teensy bit boring after long enough. But instead of retreating into a podcast or something, you know what I did? I talked to my mom. Sometimes we talked about important stuff, sometimes about absurdly trivial stuff, and sometimes about not much at all. Granted, we have a good relationship that makes conversation easy, but the point is, having someone to talk to — having real life human interaction — is so therapeutic. It makes it easy to simplify and live a bit more analogue.

4. Self-care don't care

This one is nothing new, but self-care is so worth it. I still get the occasional eye roll when I say something like “I need a massage,” but I do. And I don’t feel dramatic or silly or over-the-top for it. Because for me, they’re 60-90 minutes of awesome. They’re a chance to quiet my mind and slow things down. So my mom and I got those deep tissues, we sat in a sauna, spent an afternoon in a hot tub while it was freezing outside, and blissed out.

As great as this weekend was, I also recognize it’s not exactly sustainable to do something like that all the time. And that’s ok. Because the takeaways are applicable anywhere, anytime. Live cleaner, live more minimally, and don’t be afraid to take a break.

This post is in partnership with bareMinerals.