Pause - Purpose - Play retreat

Let go of the pressure of perfection


Saturday the 26th of October 2019, 09.30-17.00 –
at Tofte Manor,
Soulbrook Road, Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire MK44 1HH

You’re really busy, from a yearning to succeed and do well, in work and in life. But you often put a lot of pressure on yourself to perform and achieve to a high standard. You might fear that you’ll fail, and you are often hard on yourself for your flaws and mistakes. With all that pressure to be perfect, thinking that you’re not good enough, no wonder you might feel tired and unhappy at times, from the lack of rest, recovery and balance in your life. You might feel like you have lost your sense of direction. You used to be fun, right?

To be able to create a more meaningful, balanced life, we need to let go of the unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves – as people, as parents, as partners. We need to take time out to pause for long enough to connect with our values and purpose, to move forward with intention towards a more playful and pleasurable life.


Join us for a day at the beautiful Tofte Manor, learning how you cannot pour from an empty cup and need to look after yourself to make life sustainable. We start our journey together through mindfully experiencing hot drinks and nourishing treats to energise us, whilst learning about self-compassion and self-care as an antidote to perfectionism. Then we will be slowing down the pace with a restorative yoga-inspired relaxation class. Helen Coleman, experienced massage therapist and yoga instructor, will guide your body through restorative yoga poses to help you unwind, whilst Michaela Thomas, senior Clinical Psychologist, will guide your mind through soothing compassion visualisations. Together we will help your body and mind gently let go of the pressure you put on yourself to perform, to do, and help you find rest and recovery. We end the relaxation with a head massage to release tensions you have been holding onto.


When we have slowed down and feel relaxed, we can then have the headspace to decide our direction we want to go towards in life, by finding our passion and purpose through a values coaching exercise. Doing meaningful things ‘on purpose’ is difficult and takes courage, to not just do what you have always done. Allowing yourself the permission to stumble and not get it ‘right’ is crucial when we try to lead a more meaningful life, with gentle returns back to what matters. This is also where we notice how our inner critic is showering us with criticisms and cautions – try to acknowledge that it is doing that out of fear and a wish to protect you from failure, but to no longer let it hold you back from what you truly desire in your life.

The labyrinth

Tofte Manor has a beautiful grass labyrinth, where we can follow an ancient ritual of letting go of things which no longer serve us. On the way in, we reflect on the journey we have had, the life we have lived in the past. In the middle, we pause and reconnect with our purpose. On the way out, we move forwards in a more meaningful way, letting go of the pressure of perfection. Once you have walked the labyrinth, there is time and space to wander the beautiful grounds, reconnecting with nature, or to find a nook in the coach house for a hot drink and some reflective journaling. The permission to pause returns here.


Having slowed down and found direction, we press the play button to move forward with intention. Acting with purpose, we can build time for rest and play into everyday life, then also making space for fun and vitality. Without that pressure to do it all, all of the time, you can find more peace with living imperfectly and connecting more deeply with your family and friends whilst also getting to follow your ambition of wanting to achieve excellence. This is where we have some fun and connect with creativity, laughing together and learning to find pleasure in the everyday life through a delicious chocolate meditation. We can try to dance like nobody is watching to lift your spirits and help you let go of inhibitions, or doing some creative art, giving ourselves permission to have fun and not get caught up in the compare and despair traps our minds will give us. We end the day with reflections on what you have learned and what you take away into your own life.


Who will guide you on the day?

Michaela Thomas, Senior Clinical Psychologist and Founder of The Thomas Connection

“I help ambitious people let go of the pressure of perfection, to find their purpose and the permission to create richer, more meaningful lives.”  

With the help of Helen Coleman, massage therapist and yoga teacher in training.


          Rest, relaxation and restoration of your energy levels

          Space to reflect on your life and how you live it

         Learning how to let go of the pressure of perfection

          Learning to refill your cup through self-compassion

          Connection with like minded people on the same journey

          Nourishing lunch and snacks to savour mindfully

          Goodie bag with nourishing gifts for self-care


We often struggle to take the time out for ourselves, to invest in our own wellbeing. But self-care isn’t selfish, it isn’t about being self-indulgent and pampering yourself. Self-care is health care, so that you can feel able to continue being the person you want to be in life.

Early bird rate: £149 (before the 30th of September 2019)

Regular rate: £179

“I know the process of overcoming and managing perfectionism is the work of a lifetime but I am so thankful that I met Michaela as I am not sure I could have taken the first steps without her.” – Alex K.