Retreats are an important part of your self care routine, and they definitely deepen your mindfulness practices. I usually offer at least one, three day retreat each year. That is, of course, until 2020 came along. I love the planning process and the gathering of like-minded people, so my hope is to bring them back this fall.
Until that time, I suggest planning your own home retreat, just a one day “re-set” either by yourself or with someone you feel comfortable sharing the day with. It will calm your mind and lift your spirits, helping you to shrug off the stress of this past year.
Once I’ve set a date for my retreat, I find that preparation is most important, and a home retreat should be no different. This is where I can help by giving you some ideas and suggestions.
A few days in advance
Set a theme
For each of my retreats, I set a theme. Examples of some of the past themes I’ve used are “Unplugged,” “Create Your Happy” and “Becoming Still.” A theme helps me when selecting everything from the meditations I will use to the food offered. In other words, it helps me to keep my focus.
Set an intention
At the beginning of your planning, set an intention of what you want it to be. This will also help you to narrow your options and guide your efforts. Pick one that is important to you. Here are some ideas:
- “For this day, I will give myself some time to rest, relax and refresh.”
- “I will deepen my meditation and other mindfulness practices, because they are important to me.”
- “I look forward to a deeper connection with spirit during this time of retreat.”
Start a file
This is where you’ll start putting your ideas, recipes, meditations, etc. I find some great ideas on Pinterest.
Create a program
I know it sounds like a lot, but creating a program will help you to get the most from your retreat and make the day even more special. Your program will include activities, meditations and meals. Here is an example:
- 8-8:30am: Yoga (Yoga with Adrienne is my favorite YouTuber)
- 8:30-9:30am: Breakfast
- 9:30-10:30am: Morning Meditation (Check out my audio meditations here)
- 10:30-11:30am: Walk in the Woods
- 11:30am-1pm: Lunch in the garden
- 1-3pm: Vision/happiness board or mandala
- 3-4pm: Afternoon Meditation
- 4-5pm: Journaling, art project, lounging, reading, etc.
- 5-6pm: Dinner
Of course this schedule will not work for everyone. For example, you may want to shorten it if you’re not used to long meditations. I also know that not everyone has the luxury of 10 hours of alone time, but this is important. Take what time you can even if it means taking a day off work. And keep in mind all these activities should be something you do at home, so you don’t have to travel anywhere. The idea here is that you don’t over-schedule, leaving you plenty of time for rest and relaxation.
Select a menu
I have to admit, one of my favorite things about retreat is the food! Keep it super healthy and simple with lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Make it lite fare and keep the sugar to a minimum. Here are some ideas:
- Fruit infused water – a must in my opinion. It just gives it that spa vibe.
- Breakfast: fruit and a healthy muffin
- Lunch: A salad with a wide variety of veggies and a protein source
- Dinner: A heaping portion of veggies, some brown rice, a protein source
- Keep healthy snacks like fruit, nuts and peanut butter power bites on hand for between meals.
Gather any supplies and resources
Now that you have your schedule in place, you know what supplies and other resources you’ll need. Be sure to have your meditation audios lined up. Purchase any art supplies you may need. Find the perfect yoga video. Purchase the food for your meals.
A day in advance
Arrange your space
Prepare your home by arranging a special place just for meditation. You can set up your guest room or just a corner of your living room, and add some beauty to it. Include items that inspire you.
Prepare your meals
As much as you can, prepare everything in advance. That leaves less work on the day of your retreat.
The day of Retreat
Dress for the weather in clothing you will be comfortable in for all your activities so you don’t have to change. Have a wrap handy if you think it may get too cool (not a danger right now).
Turn off technology
It’s easy to get distracted by technology, especially if you’re at home. Turn off your phone and don’t look at email. Use a computer only when necessary for yoga and meditation.
State your intention
This is the intention you set at the beginning of your planning process. Say it out loud and you can add a candle lighting to set the mood.
Follow your schedule but stay flexible
Your schedule is there so that you don’t have to think too much come retreat, but be sure to stay flexible too. If it’s too hot during walking time, just take time to relax under the shade of a tree while reading a sweet book that doesn’t require too much brain power.
Don’t rush back into life by binge-watching reality shows. Enjoy a closing ritual – I like one that includes a candle – and end the day with a nice relaxing bath with your favorite scented bath oil or salt.
A home retreat will do wonders for your outlook and I wholeheartedly recommend it! There is, of course, no substitute for a weekend retreat where all you have to do is just show up, but for right now, it ain’t bad.