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The W.E.L.L. Summit from a Mother's Point of View – WELL Summit

The W.E.L.L. Summit from a Mother's Point of View – WELL Summit

img_0336-e1461632732416-3011078The WELL Summit is a special type of “retreat” for a multitude of reasons. I call it a retreat because as a mother, last year’s event was a chance for me to take some time from my everyday life to just be myself in a setting that didn’t involve me changing diapers. What I didn’t anticipate was for the weekend to bring more than just “me time” but rather an opportunity to get to know myself again.

When I first bought my ticket for the WELL Summit, I will be honest, I think that my goals for the weekend were somewhat superficial. I wanted to network with like-minded people. I wanted to learn more about natural beauty. I wanted to get a great gift bag. While all those things were checked off my summit to-do list, and were certainly fun, there were some amazing things that the WELL Summit did for me as a mother and as an individual.

  1. The weekend away helped me reconnect with myself. Sounds silly, right? But it’s not really when you think about it. When you spend the better part of a year and a half worrying about a child/children, time away can be exhilarating. It’s not just the time I spent outside of my family unit that allowed me to clear my head but rather the experiences that I had while away that led me to truly think about some of the things that are meaningful to me and allow myself to brush aside those that aren’t. It sounds simple enough but when you’re mired in the minutia of everyday life, it can be difficult to prioritize what’s truly important to you.
  2. After time spent learning from sessions and each attendee that I had the time to speak with, I was empowered to make my personal world a better place to be. Creating a healthy environment around you and your family should be a priority but sometimes that is easier said than done. It can be overwhelming to try to take responsibility for your family’s wellness and make changes that will stick. After leaving last year’s WELL Summit, I felt like I was given valuable tools that could help me make realistic changes at home, ones that would decrease our footprint and increase our overall health. The speakers at the WELL Summit armed you with the information needed to tackle your own personal world.
  3. I forged meaningful relationships, not just network connections. This one is important. You can hand out business cards all day but to not truly connect with a single person is such a waste. I’ve attended multiple conferences and spent time away from my family but never gained the types of relationships like I did at the WELL Summit. Each person was there for their own reasons but one commonality rang true with all of us. We were there to meaningfully connect with one another and teach each other, whether we knew it or not. So much feedback I received over the course of the weekend was that of surprise, that they’d experienced such moving moments and worthwhile learning experiences from a “conference”. Expectations for the WELL Summit were blown out of the water because when you leave with true friends, there’s nothing better.
  4. Leaving the wellness weekend, I felt like I was a stronger individual person, not just MOM. I don’t know about other parents but sometimes it’s hard for me to relate with myself, the “old me” pre-baby. What did I like to do with my free time? What did I listen to before Mother Goose Clubhouse? When was the last time I washed my hair? There are compromises that I’ve made in order to spend time with my growing family, something that is important to me… but it’s also important to be a strong individual on your own. After leaving the summit and spending with some really inspirational people, I was energized to pick up with some of my passion projects and also sloughed off things that weren’t worth my energy or worry any longer. If I am a strong and happy individual for me, I will most certainly be a better mother and wife for it.

I could continue to talk about how meaningful an experience the WELL Summit was, because I have a multitude of stories that I could share from just one weekend, but to truly understand the draw of the wellness retreat atmosphere, you just have to experience it yourself. It’s one of a kind and I cannot wait to enjoy the summit this October in New York City! I encourage you to snag your spot for this amazing weekend in the Big Apple!


Neal Halfon

Neal Halfon, MD, MPH is founding director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, and also directs the Child and Family Health Leadership and Training Program in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Dr. Halfon is professor of pediatrics in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; health policy and management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health; and public policy in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Is well known for his health related publications.