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Self-care and celebration: A mom’s 30th birthday retreat

Photography by Kristen Knight Photography

As mothers, we devote our lives to our families’ wellbeing. We juggle responsibilities, from doctor’s appointments to family meals to birthday celebrations, all in the name of ensuring our loved ones are happy and healthy. Yet, in this unending cycle of giving, we sometimes forget to prioritize our own self-care.

SMART, NOT SELFISH

Busy mom Alexa Harrison focused on self-care when she gathered with friends for a birthday retreat.

Self-care isn’t just about the basics (nutrition, exercise, sleep, hydration); it’s also about making room for things you love that bring you joy. You know, those interests you might have put on the back burner when you became a parent?

Taking care of yourself in this way isn’t selfish; it’s actually a smart move. When you’re in a good place physically, mentally and emotionally, you’re better equipped to care for everyone else around you. It’s like securing your own oxygen mask first before helping others.

Being a mom is my favorite role yet. I won’t claim to be an expert, as I’ve only been at it for about 20 months, but I’m always looking for ways to show up better as a mom.

GOOD VIBES ONLY

I turned 30 recently, and in this new decade, I’m making wellness my North Star — for my own benefit and my family’s. So, I hosted a “birthday wellness retreat” that I shared with my closest girlfriends. Here’s how I kicked off my latest trip around the sun.

The Bootleg Howl, a magical escape from the mundane nestled in the heart of downtown Biloxi, was the backdrop. This artfully designed historic property features carefully curated details in every room, including a library and music room, art room and game room. Plus, there’s a New Orleans-style courtyard with lush gardens and a pool. It’s a unique and peaceful experience that nourishes your mind, body and soul.

Yoga was an enjoyable part of Alexa Harrison’s 30th birthday retreat.

Our retreat (aptly titled 737—my angel number) began at 7:37 a.m. on my birthday, July 7 (7/7). We gathered on the sunroom porch with Tiffany Kidder, a yoga instructor and sound-healing practitioner. Surrounded by the harmonious sounds of morning birds, we got aligned in the vibration of love with a cacao ceremony (fun fact: cacao is chocolate in its purest form, so yes, we started our day with hot chocolate.)

With good vibes only, we ventured into the backyard, where Tiffany led us in a gentle yoga flow. The fresh air and serene surroundings allowed us to easily reconnect with our bodies (even when we were falling over in tree pose). Just as the day began to heat up, we retreated indoors to the living room, ready for a cleansing sound bath to rejuvenate our spirits. The entire experience was so healing.

NOURISHING BODY AND SOUL

We nourished our temples with a plant-based brunch and savored every bite and sip of chia pudding, jackfruit tacos, vegan charcuterie and cold-press juice, knowing that self-care starts with how we choose to fuel our bodies. The rest of our day was spent, beautifully energized, floating in the pool, enjoying the company of dear friends and the sheer pleasure of relaxation. It was an amazingly joyful day, and my cup is still overflowing simply thinking about it.

The celebration was a reminder that as moms, we too deserve moments of celebration and self-care. It’s not selfish; it’s necessary. By embracing wellness and joy as priorities, we can become better versions of ourselves. So, here’s to the moms who put themselves first occasionally, who gather in joy and who make wellness a guiding star on their journey through motherhood. You deserve it all.

Written by Alexa Harrison

Alexa Harrison is the owner of Gather Gulf Coast, where she works to empower women-owned small businesses through collaboration on pop-up community events. Follow along on Instagram @gathergulfocast.

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