My favorite solo dates (+ win a $1100 retreat giveaway)

Ok, three hours of free time have just “fallen” into your lap. What will you do?

This happened to me last weekend and my first thought was, “What movie do I want to see?” But after looking at the listings and not finding anything inspiring, I sat quietly on the couch for a bit, reflecting on what do I truly need?  A walk around the lake (I love turtle watching) and a peach/mango smoothie ended up being just the ticket.

While there’s nothing wrong with going shopping or catching a flick, I challenge you to think about what would really nourish –and sustain–you when you get precious time alone (think cotton candy vs. black beans and rice)?

women's retreat

So many of us are disconnected from who we are and from our true needs and desires.  In fact, many mental health professionals believe this “disconnect from self” is the root cause of depression and anxiety.  While solo dates may feel weird if they’re new to you– they’re ideal opportunities to reconnect with your essence and core values.

The next time you are given an unscheduled window of time alone, consider the following soul-nurturing ideas.

My five favorite self-care solo dates:

  • BEAUTY DATE:  Visit your local botanical, wildflower or sculpture gardens, then enjoy a leisurely lunch at a new outdoor bistro or café.
  • MOVEMENT DATE: Try a new dance or yoga class, then treat yourself to a new, exotic smoothie.
  • NATURE DATE: Enjoy a dip at a nearby spring-fed pool, river or lake, then treat yourself to your favorite ice cream.
  • CULTURE DATE: Explore your local museum or check out a new gallery exhibit, then try a new ethnic restaurant.
  • JOURNALING DATE: Browse your local independent bookstore, pick out a beautiful, inspiring journal and head to a new coffee shop and reflect on ten things you’re grateful for.

You can find more of my favorite solo dates in my award-winning self-care primer, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life (or join a Personal Renewal Group in your area and connect with like-minded women around this theme in further depth).

women's retreat

Join us here at McKinney Roughs on May 11th for our New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat from 9:30-4:00 Mother’s Day weekend.

I’D LOVE TO SUPPORT YOUR WELL-BEING. Here are three upcoming opportunities to work with me:

  • Join me and women from around Texas on Friday, May 11th from 9:30-4:00 for New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat (check out our two for $398 bring-a-friend special which includes a Kendra Scott jewelry gift). Want to win this retreat plus my favorite self-care goodies ($1100 value)? Enter to win our Mother’s Day Self-Renewal Retreat Package Giveaway; share your response to “What does self-care mean to me?” by May 3rd here.

  • Reach out to me to have me plan/facilitate a custom 1/2 day or full day life balance retreat for your company, team or organization on life balance, resiliency or self-renewal. Learn more and email me at workshops at reneetrudeau dot com.
  • Craving authentic community and want to find (or create) your tribe? Learn more about our global sisterhood of RTA-Certified Facilitators  and empower/support women in your community!  More here on how to become a RTA-Certified Facilitator  ($100 off through 5/30; includes private coaching with me) and join our inner circle.

Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum.  She is the author of three books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 16-year-old son. More on her background here.



  1. Self care means to me being quiet enough to ask my heart “what do you need right now darling?” And then following it’s sweet whispers wherever they lead. Self care mean nurturing self love and holding fear gently until my horizons expand again and again.

  2. Thanks to all of you for entering to win our Mother’s Day Self-Renewal Retreat Package Giveaway (we’ll draw/announce a name on Friday, May 4th)–tell your friends about this, there is still time to enter! As we reflect on Sunday, May 13 “Self Mothering Day”–here’s some food for thought from a visit I had this week with Amanda at FOX 7 Austin on the 5 Best Self-Care Solo Dates. I think I wanted to go a little too deep for their 3-minute segment, but I tried to get some meaningful tips in there. Prepping for it inspired me to get out in a canoe on Town Lake on Sunday night! Here’s the clip:

  3. Dianna Collier says:

    Self-care is taking the time to offer myself support & tenderness. It’s checking in with my spiritual, physical, intellectual, relational & emotional needs. It’s embracing the power of small changes to make big differences in the quality of my life.

  4. Jennifer says:

    To me, self care means slowing down, breathing deeply, and checking in with how I feel. Once I do that, the path in front of me is clearer.

  5. I just finished a serious self care getaway to Kripalu. I’ve been there three times. It is truly the best self care for me and reminds me how to practice it when I get home. So this time, I’m taking away a yoga Indra practice as addition to my self care practices