The Bonds Made And Stress Released At My First National Self-Care Retreat

At the beginning of this year, I decided to lift my foot off the brake. You know how when you’re first learning to drive and you slam on the brake at completely unnecessary intervals because you’re scared and you don’t quite know how to maneuver and focus and you don’t want to crash? That was me, but with life.

I was scared of fully going after the things that I wanted, not because I could fail but MY GOD, what if I succeeded?? Then what?? People’s expectations would rise and what if I can’t keep up?

But I made the conscious decision to take my foot off the brake and step on the gas.

It was a necessary decision, as 2014 was a pretty bad year, personally and professionally. I lost about 40% of my income due to forces outside of my control, my depression was getting worse, and we got into an accident with a drunk driver.

I was determined to have 2015 be my year and I realized I had to get out of my own way to do that. So I thought to myself, “What does my community need?” It needed the same thing I needed—time to myself, away from everyone else and all my responsibilities.

So I began planning the 2015 Self-Care Retreat. I put together an amazing three days of girl talk, soul searching, great food and authentic community.

Now it has happened. This past weekend, 21 women joined me in Alexandria, Virginia for what I had been billing as the “best weekend of the year.”

self-care retreat group photo

We cried. We hugged. We laughed (and got security called on us—oops!). We ate good food and explored a new city with new friends. We enjoyed swag bags from generous sponsors ranging from Dove to Younique Cosmetics.

In short, we did exactly what I hoped we would do—came together for a life-changing weekend, filled with “aha” moments and lifestyle shifts, that leave us with the space to become those women we always dreamed of being.

I have a few more posts that will go more in-depth on the major takeaways (and man, they are extraordinary), but I wanted to write this brief post to share how incredibly grateful I am to the women who decided to join me for this first retreat. I had no track record of successfully executing an event of this magnitude, and yet they came. They arranged for someone to watch their kids, to leave work early, to get a plane ticket or a rental car and join me as I pursued my goals. There are no words to express this gratitude.

More posts on the weekend are coming, but for now, check out the #HereWeGrow15 hashtag on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a peek into the magic. All I have to say is, You gotta be there next year!

Tara Jefferson at the 2015 self-care retreat




  1. Tara, reading this just made my heart smile. I am SO happy this event was such a success. I truly hope I can come next year. Thank you for making this your year, because in doing so you have inspired so many (myself included). Can’t wait to hear more about the retreat!

  2. Lovely post & so pleased to hear about the successful event! Keep on keeping on. :) xoxo

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  6. I found the bonds made and stress released at my first National Self Care Retreat to be incredibly rewarding. It was a great experience to share with a group of like-minded individuals and I’m grateful for the opportunity to take part in such a meaningful event. The retreat provided me with the tools and support I needed to practice self-care and I’m looking forward to learning more.

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