Sarah Lian talks about starting a women's wellness retreat in Malaysia
Power to you
The great thing about resolutions come every new year is that it's a sign that we all want to be better for our sake. It's okay if we fail—we just need to get back up. Among the resolutions you might have made for 2019, a wellness retreat might be the answer to succeeding it. After all, it's time to prioritise 'me time' and personal wellbeing, which doesn't just limit to fitness. Mental health is just as important as staying fit and eating well. And for that, along with other personal goals, a wellness retreat is where you can go to learn better at it. There aren't a lot of those in Malaysia but that's about to change as more locals realise its benefits and importance.
Sarah Lian knows this and thus, SuppaRetreat is born—this time, to the public, and it's for women only. The first one is happening at Tanjong Jara Resort from 18 to 20 January and the itinerary is jam-packed with inspiration, motivation and empowerment by speakers and coaches such as Hannah Lo and Nor Soraya Ghazalie. We had a chat with Sarah to learn more about SuppaRetreat, her tips for maintaining a good work-life balance and her favourite spots in town for a healthier lifestyle.
Congratulations on SuppaRetreat, Sarah! Tell us more about it.
"SuppaRetreat is a women's retreat with the aims to build a community of empowered women in all facets of their life. I think there's a lack of women's retreats in Malaysia that have a holistic approach towards mindfulness and personal development. We started with an internal retreat within my company Suppagood and then hosted a by-invitation retreat with select women and now hosting our third retreat open to the public. We are planning to host a few more throughout 2019."
How often will the retreat be held and will the location be different each time?
"We are planning four retreats for 2019 and anyone who is interested can find out more from our website and follow us at @supparetreat on Instagram. And yes, the plan is to have them at different locations each time because they'll be a different type as well. From grooming to fitness, personal development to financial planning, soul searching to leadership, each retreat will be facilitated with the right lifestyle coaches and to help women find their own personal strength.
Another exciting thing that we're curating at the moment is Suppaweekends! They will be fun experiences for women to connect with excursions, mini trips and even exciting activities once a month. We are looking to collaborate with other female-led organisations and continue to explore more within this space."
The itinerary and lineup of coaches sound amazing! How do you curate it and how will it differ with each SuppaRetreat?
"We do small polls on what women are looking for and what they want to improve in their lives. From there we curate the activities and find the perfect coaches for our participants. This upcoming retreat in January will be great for people who want to to get a sense of alignment; so whether they are healing from a negative experience or trying to get their lives back on track, this retreat is about giving them space and assessing where they are to move forward. My lifestyle coaches will lead our participants to ask the right questions for them to answer."
Wellness retreats seem to be on a rise in other parts of the world in recent years but what about Malaysia?
"With neighbouring countries like Thailand and Indonesia leading the way with health retreats, yoga escapes and meditation clinics, I think there's definitely a space for Malaysia to grow—I'm optimistic, really. We are moving towards a place where there is a lot more focus on emotional and mental health and that is something that we as Asians, in general, tend to overlook."
What are some of the benefits of wellness retreats such as SuppaRetreat?
"I think retreats are an incredibly important aspect of self-care. This is probably going to be the biggest buzzword this year. Women taking a break to focus on themselves allow them to be more productive in whatever they do. As my lifestyle coach Racheal Kwacz always says, 'You can't pour from an empty cup.' The SuppaRetreat will allow you to reconnect with yourself and help you declutter your life. We want to make sure we put time into the things that are important."
On that note, what are your three tips for maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
"I'm probably still struggling with that because I feel like work is always on my mind but I have started three things:
Making my dinner a sacred time by putting aside any distractions and really sitting down to enjoy a meal and the people I'm sharing it with
Being more present in each and every moment
Putting my phone away when I can. I'm constantly reminding myself to do this because time away from it can be refreshing even if it's just for a few minutes."
It's not easy to start living a healthier lifestyle—and that doesn't just limit to dietary and exercise habits—what are some pieces of advice you can give to our readers hoping to start making a change in their lifestyle for 2019?
"One of our fitness coaches, Linora Low, always advises that it needs to come from the right place. You should wholly understand why you are making these changes and that it is a journey of learning more about your body and, most importantly, yourself. With that, motivation and determination will come naturally."
Last, but not least, we have to ask: Name three of your favourite spots in Malaysia for healthy eating or workout spots?
- Rubberduck—They have some stunning meals that are both delicious and healthy! If you have a sweet tooth, they also have great desserts.
- La Juiceria—There's just something about fresh juices and good food that nourishes the soul.
- Firestation—They have such a wide variety of classes so there's something for everyone and their trainers are on fire!
The first SuppaRetreat is priced from RM2,312 per person and includes accommodation and meals. You can find out more or view the full itinerary here.