Carer Retreat Creswick - November 2022

Tessa and Deb ran a very successful Carer Retreat at the beautiful RACV Goldfields in Creswick on 5th and 6th November, 2022 with 26 foster and kinship carers in attendance funded by Carer KaFÉ.

The two-day retreat was designed to support carers own Self-Care as many through our CISS and CAP line had previously reported that they felt guilty taking time out for themselves. We know that this is vital for carers to avoid compassion fatigue or burnout. Selfcare and self-compassion reduces negative states, improves life satisfaction, connection to others, self-confidence, improves health and there is much less burnout. Mindfulness in itself has been shown to be highly effective in reducing stress and stress related medical problems.

We started the training with a Welcome to Country by Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional owner, Troy Firebrace:


Troy also talked about the importance of culture and carers stated they found his session to be incredibly interesting and explained Aboriginal Culture in a way no one ever had before.

Troy asked the group to think about what they knew about Australia’s first nations people and how important it was to understand the impact the stolen generation had on their community and that our goal should be true empathy!

He also spoke about the Value of Aboriginal Culture including:

  • Australian indigenous food      - Fire safety – burn offs
  • Healthy waterways, rain, and land health - Aboriginal art and symbol


Over the weekend, Tessa provided current research and training titled: The 3 P’s – Pacing, Pivoting and Pausing from Caroline Welch and how this can support us during challenging times. She also spoke of the importance of Mindfulness & Self-Compassion by Kristen Neff.  self-compassion has many benefits, ranging from:

  • fewer depressive and more optimistic thoughts,
  • overall greater happiness and life satisfaction,
  • greater social and emotional skills and improvements in physical health.


Specifically, some positive effects noted by studies are:

 - increases motivation -  boosts happiness -  improves body image - enhances self-worth

-  fosters resilience - reduces mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and stress.


Whilst Deb focused on the importance of self-care, got carers to create their own Safe, happy place using clay, flowers, leaves, and lentils of which they created some beautiful little scenes and then taught them Lotion time which they all loved and would take home to the children in their care.

Carers joined in with several meditations including a Walking Meditation around the lovely grounds of the RACV. At the end of the retreat carers wrote themselves a letter outlining three things they would incorporate into their daily lives around their own self care which will be mailed out to them as a reminder of this commitment.



Feedback from carers included:


“Thanks for offering the retreat to us. We had the best time. It was so well organised and a really lovely group. I’m sure we will try to put in practice some of the wonderful things we learnt”


“You couldn’t have changed a thing to improve it in any way as it was of such a high standard”


“Hi, I wanted to take the time to thank you for organising the amazing retreat that I had the pleasure of attending this weekend in Creswick. It was fabulous!!!! Meeting with other carers and the presentations were fabulous- thank you thank you thank you. Meeting Loretta, Deb and Tessa was wonderful the food the accommodation OMG it was all just amazing. The chance to unwind and breathe learn the importance of self-care and small ways to implement it into my life was priceless. Thank you for the travel voucher and just the most fabulous opportunity to meet with others and partake in such a fabulous experience. 

I will be recommending this to everyone I have the pleasure to meet on this journey. Again, from the bottom of my heart Thank you.”