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Women’s Wellness and Education Retreat

Date: Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023
Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (optional social time in the evening)
Cost: $99, $10 discount for UWO alumni and UWO Learning in Retirement members
Location: UW Oshkosh Campus (Oshkosh, Wisconsin)

Enjoy a day where we explore letting go and not getting caught up in our expectations and perfectionism. We will find joy in nature, travel and everyday life. The day includes facilitation by experts in their fields, yoga, healthy lunch, snacks and time outside along Oshkosh’s beautiful Riverwalk.

Fall 2023 Schedule 

8:30 - 9 a.m.Registration
9 - 9:30 a.m.YogaBring your yoga mat.
9:30 - 9:45 a.m.Break and morning snack
9:45 - 10:45 a.m.Session 1Both sessions offered twice so you may attend both.
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.Session 2Attend the alternative session from Session 1.
12 - 1:30 p.m.Lunch and Walk along the Oshkosh Riverwalk
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.Session 3
2:30 - 2:45 p.m.Break and afternoon snack
2:45 - 3:45 p.m.Session 4Attend the alternative session from Session 3.
4 - 6 p.m.SocialOptional activities for those who want to extend the day.
6:15 p.m.Evening reservation for dinner.

Session Descriptions

Session 1 or 2: Harnessing Joy

I can still hear my Nanny reminding me “Shelly, don’t let it steal your joy!” But what is joy exactly? And what gets in the way of experiencing joy?  Our culture has tied joy to happiness. But what if joy is deeper than superficial happiness? What if it goes beyond short spurts of dopamine releases in our brain. What if we could harness joy to be longer lasting and a state of being?

Wisdom traditions have long explored the concept of Joy. More recently, theologians and psychologists are diving into the realms of Joy. Dr. Pamela Ebstyne- King, from the Thrive Center at Fuller Theological Seminary, notes that joy is more complex than an emotion or feeling. She states that joy is a practice to be cultivated and also a virtue; an experience that can motivate and direct us and yet calm and sustain us. Together we’ll be exploring the underpinnings of joy and the states of being that bring us to a place of joy. Ultimately, developing a deeper understanding of how joy can be authentic, realistic and attainable in our daily lives.

Presented by: Shelly Maxwell, MSW, LCSW, RYT

Session 1 or 2: Nature and Well-Being

For decades, environmentalists have been proposing that humans gain health benefits from interacting with the natural environment (Leopold, 1949). For example, exposure to the natural world increases positive states (e.g., mood, cognition) and decreases negative ones (e.g., stress, depression, cognitive fatigue). With research showing the positive outcomes from spending time in nature, one might expect that more people would spend time outside and build a stronger connection with nature. However, recent cohorts are spending less time outdoors and more time indoors (Grinde and Patil, 2009), which has renewed interest in studying how less time spent outside may be related to health and well-being. Concomitantly, there is an increased research and intervention focus on ways to improve emotional and subjective physical well-being, with the general approach having people spend more time with the natural world and encouraging them to connect with that environment. In this talk, I will discuss our understanding of how the emotional connection with the natural environment relates to health and well-being.

Presented by: Amy Knepple, Ph.D., UW Oshkosh Psychology


Session 3 or 4: Nature and Well-Being

Drawing on recent research and wisdom teachings we will learn ways to cultivate a sense of joy apart from happiness and individual pursuits.  Knowing the concepts of joy will inform the development and maintenance of your own personal practice.  Your daily practice of joy can help create deeper connections; access your potential for growth; help to experience joy and sorrow at the same time; and endure in the face of loss and suffering. This interactive session will help increase your awareness of joy’s presence and to receive the joy that already exists in your life.

Presented by: Shelly Maxwell, MSW, LCSW, RYT

Session 3 or 4: Go Away, Find Your SELF

Discover the JOY of Solo Travel!  When is the last time you got to focus solely on what you wanted and needed? When was the last time you shed some of the day-to-day responsibilities and caring for others just to focus on you? Have you ever just gone alone to do the thing you wanted to do (even if no one else could join you?)? That’s a great step towards discovering how you can find your own joy by traveling solo. Solo travel is so much more than just going on a trip. It’s about taking care of ourselves and finding peace, adventure, and fulfillment through the experience. Don’t worry – I’m not the person who will tell you to sell everything, leave your family, and travel the world (unless that’s what you want!).   Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • We will create a list of ALL the things that you could do that would truly bring you joy.
  • Get inspired as you consider taking that time for yourself can help you rediscover yourself – parts that have been put away as you’ve gone through life and now need to grow again.
  • Come up with creative ways to “travel” to spark your joy.
  • Get inspired by seeing what brings others joy!

Presented by: Jennifer Bucholz