Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.

In grief, I feel it’s important to take some time off to get away. I notice most people do this, sometimes a month after the funeral, sometimes even three months after. But dince my father passed away, I hadn’t had a break or getaway. In fact, the last time I was away was a week before he was hospitalised, when I went to the jungles of Gunung Ledang.

So it was with much anticipation that Eddy and I made plans to head back to Fraser’s Hill in May. The last time we spent some time there was maybe around 2014 (?) but it has been way too long.

You see, grief is a deeply personal and emotional journey that can take a toll on our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Practising self-care becomes even more crucial during our grief journey, as it offers a way to nurture ourselves, find solace, and support our healing process.


In around 2014, when we visited Fraser’s, we spent a few nights at a retreat house, which is hidden away on Jalan Richmond, practically separate from the rest of the main touristy areas of the hill resort.

I thought of that time fondly, and of the serenity of the retreat house we were at (and the retreat too, for that matter). It didn’t occur to me of all the childhood memories I have of my family holidays in Fraser’s Hill.

As I sat in the retreat house, I reflected on how much is the same and how much was different since my father, mother and brother used to visit. I recalled all the adventures my brother had, and the experiences of childhood wonder and fun I had because my father and mother saw it fit for us to have a holiday.

It was a bittersweet excursion for me, but I needed it. And it fills my heart with gratitude that I have the father I had.

Self-care in grief.

Self-care is not a luxury but a necessity, especially during the grieving process. Engaging in self-care activities helps us replenish our energy, restore our emotional balance, and honour our needs. It provides a safe space for healing, self-compassion and rejuvenation. By prioritising self-care, we create a foundation for the healing journey and foster resilience in the face of grief.

I sadly neglected this aspect for four and a half months. Oh, I had my daily meditation and reiki, workouts and outings with friends, but I needed to get away. Life was getting stale, and I was getting more and more cynical as the days went on. Teaching yoga, writing, even spending time with my cats felt pedestrian and mundane.

My self-retreat.

During grief, self-care may look different for each person. It’s essential to find strategies that resonate with you and provide comfort. If you would like to learn more about some ways you can care for yourself in a self-retreat, check out the blog post below.

For me, just being in Fraser’s Hill – with a much cooler and less humid temperature, and with its fresh air and seated in the depths of the jungle – went halfway to rejuvenating me (if not more!).

Fraser’s Hill is a bird-lovers haven. I found myself waking up at 0645 AM, watching the sun rise and listening to birds, in real life Dolby Surround Sound Atmos Experience. Every morning was spectacular, with the mists slowly clearing, and one moment in inky darkness and the next in sunny splendour.

I spent most of my time with energy work, mainly reiki. Eddy is currently exploring crystals, so I also used my pendulum a great deal. Both modalities of energy work was for me, for my pets, for the future and also for my past.

Of course, I took walks (so quiet and healing) and had yoga mat practice outdoors (it was so bracing that even practising in the sun didn’t cause any sweat on my part). Of course, journaling played a part in my self-retreat – all three journals, namely personal, business and reiki.

We also spent one morning driving around the hill station, checking out the old sights and attractions (many were not open, being very very non-peak). By the way, Fraser’s Hill is such a dear place to me, I even wrote a YA horror-inspired book – check it out here!

What type of self-care works for you?

For your own self-care practices in your retreat, you may consider:

  • Journaling
  • Walks, yoga or other gentle forms of activity
  • Connecting with nature
  • Meditation – you can get many guided meditations, talks and energy healings on apps, such as Insight Timer

Daniel on Insight Timer

Join me on the Insight Timer app, with pranayama (breathing) practices, guided meditations, reiki practices, mindfulness talks, both live and pre-recorded!

Also check out the schedule for live yoga classes!

Addressing challenges and resistance to self-care.

It is common to face challenges and resistance when it comes to practicing self-care during grief. Guilt, lack of motivation, or feeling overwhelmed can hinder our ability to prioritise ourselves.

On a holiday or getaway, you may find yourself only interested in eating – which is fine, so long as you don’t have regrets. It’s important to give yourself permission to care for your wellbeing without guilt.

Start small, set realistic expectations, and surround yourself with a support system that understands the importance of self-care in your healing process.

Embracing self-compassion in your healing.

Grief is a journey that may never end, just transform. It will take time and patience. Practice self-compassion throughout the process. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge your emotions and allow yourself to grieve in your own unique way.

Self-care is not selfish but an act of love and respect for yourself during a challenging time. Give yourself permission to prioritise self-care and honour your healing needs.

For me, my self-retreat to Fraser’s Hill was exactly what I needed. I came back and surprised myself at how compassionate and non-judgmental I was to events and people that tested my patience before the break.


Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.

Russell Eric Dobda.

Check out the Mindful Mornings Mini Course below, that has activities you can do on a self-retreat!

PS. Check out the last time I wrote extensively about Fraser’s Hill in 2005!

Expand your mornings with the Mindful Mornings mini-course below!

Included in the course:

  • Yoga movement
  • Morning meditation
  • Mindful activities for the mornings