It’s been three days since my HIIT & Flow workout at the Empower Vancouver Retreat and I can still feel my hips 😂

I was so excited to be able to attend this weekend-long event, because I was experiencing some SERIOUS FOMO while looking at everyone’s BlogFest pictures this past summer.

The Empower Retreat was hosted by my friends at Fit Approach and Lorna Jane Canada. Between Friday night and Sunday evening, we did hundreds of downward dogs, got our butts kicked by Nicci during the HIIT & Flow boot camp, ran around Gastown and did push-ups and russian twists on the ground, and we got to have some super fun photoshoots with the gorgeous Lorna Jane apparel.

empower vancouver retreat

empower vancouver retreat

empower vancouver retreatIn true Fit Approach fashion, the event was geared towards bloggers and social media influencers. But the event was SO fun and there was such a wide variety of activities that my friend and rockstar client Tania, who’s not a blogger or influencer, still had an amazing time.

empower vancouver retreatI was able to pick up some super helpful Instagram tips for IG Expert Kusum over at Sveeteskapes, and Amanda Vogel inspired me to sit down yesterday and get my content calendar in order for the final quarter of 2017. And I’ve gotta say – with a secret project I’ve got launching in a few weeks, there’s A LOT of content on that calendar!

And if alllllll of that wasn’t enough, we got some AMAZING swag from kickass companies, both local and international. I was so excited to see some products from my friends at Whisk Matcha and The Granola Girl in there!

empower vancouver retreatBut as much as I love playing dress-up, taking oodles of pictures, and snacking on yummy things after an awesome sweat, the thing I love most about events like this is the connection and inspiration.

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Despite always being connected in the digital world, we live in a society that’s very disconnected when it comes to human interaction. Watching TV through dinner, working ourselves to the ground to the point that we have no time or energy left for loved ones, scrolling through Instagram while we should be paying attention to what’s going on around us – these are things I know I’m not alone in being guilty of.

And, at least for me, re-building that human connection is made all the more challenging when you’re an introvert, you live in a big city, and you don’t have a circle of friends you’ve known since highschool. I go to a lot of networking events, not so much with the intention of getting clients, but more with the intention of building genuine human connections.

But workshops, retreats, and events built upon common interests are special. You get the opportunity to talk to people who get excited about the same things you do (hello, Instagram analytics), and who share your frustrations (we’re looking at you, social algorithms).

Plus, it’s like totally normal to set your brunch table up in a way that’s optimal for photographing 😉

empower vancouver retreatWhen I started blogging, I did it purely for fun. I didn’t care about monetization, page views, or any of that stuff. In fact, I didn’t even tell people about my blog for months. I wrote for the simple fact that I love to write.

As my blog started to shift into an extension of my business, a lot of that changed. I’ve often felt pressure to make sure my post is SEO-optimized and to not bother writing a post if I know it won’t rank on Google.

I’ve second-guessed topics and I have countless posts that never made it out of “Drafts” because they weren’t educational enough. I’ve agonized over niches and page views and alt tags and so many other things to the point that blogging kinda sorta isn’t fun anymore.

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Thankfully, this weekend was a reality check 😉

It was a good reminder that it’s okay for things to be fun, light, and easy. Not every single post needs to have the potential to throw me onto the first page of Google, or to follow all the standard content marketing rules.

empower vancouver retreatIt’s okay for me to talk about things simply because I’m passionate about them. It’s okay for me to write simply because I love to write. It’s okay for me to do something simply because it makes me happy.

It’s a lesson that can be applied to your own life, as well. How often do you find yourself doing things just because that’s what you’ve been told you’re supposed to do? Eating a high-fat, low-carb diet because that’s what the latest guru is talking about. Doing HIIT training because that’s what all the fitness experts say. Meditating because that’s what all the wellness coaches say.

It’s not to say that these things are bad. Neither is making sure your posts are SEO-optimized or providing value to your audience.

But when you become so consumed by those “shoulds”, “needs”, and “musts”, you lose sight of what really matters – enjoying life and being happy.

We have to do a lot of things in life we don’t necessarily want to do (hey there, laundry). Let’s try to balance it out with more things that we DO want to do.

Life lessons from a fitness + blogging retreat via @arianafotinakis #sweatpink #empowervancouver @fitapproach Click To Tweet

When it comes to your health, your fitness, your career, or your business – how can you infuse a little more joy and fun into those activities?

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