We all need an occasional recharge to be at our best. For those social bees among us, socializing or simply being around people in the workplace can drain us. To be the most productive and content, we need to find the balance between time we spend with others and time we create for ourselves. How do you create space in your life? It is in some ways very much like finding your personal retreat.
Here are some of the benefits that we realize when consciously taking time for ourselves, your own personal retreat:
So now that we know some of the benefits, lets explore how to get there. Here is a surefire way to get back your focus and energy through a personal retreat.
#1. Define your retreat place
This is the most important because it’s what starts and shapes the process of finding time for yourself. If there’s a place that is designated as a place of peace and quite reflection, then when you go there, that’s what will happen. This can be in the realm of the mind as well as the physical.
With regards to the mind, many people find their personal retreat place through meditation. It can be a very convenient way to a fulfilling personal retreat because you can do it anywhere as long as you have solitude and maybe a bit of quite. However, meditation takes practice for this to be efficient as a personal retreat space.
With physical spaces as well, it is important to repeat this practice for it to be most effective. Like a coffee addiction, if your retreat place becomes deeply associated with feelings of peace, quite, and rejuvenation, you’ll only need a slight whiff of it to get a recharge benefit! But to have this you need to develop the practice, a routine which can reinforce the re-energizing feeling through the process alone. A yoga practice can be great for this, and has many more benefits if done regularly!
My personal favorite for a retreat place is anywhere in nature, specifically walks in nature. It’s a moving meditation where I have time to organize my thoughts without interruption and communing with nature also gives me a lot of energy!
Limiting distractions is crucial for a personal retreat whether it’s for an hour or a week.
Some steps to help limit interruptions:
Unplug literally: turn off email notifications, or any notifications for that matter. And make sure you’re alone and only in an emergency can people get a hold of you. This also includes getting to a quite place. Take a break into nature, or just put on some headphones with some soothing music. Make sure that sirens, loud talkers, thumpy cars, or ringing phones don’t cut the calm!
Plan ahead: take care of business before the break so it doesn’t need to be addressed during. Tell loved ones where your are and that you are taking a break, so that they are sure to respect it and give you the time your need.
Learn to say no: the most important! This gives you the power to limit responsibilities and divert tasks to others who are just as capable to complete them. We all take on too much sometimes, you especially don’t want to worry about all this extra work when you are trying to relax.
#3. Associate activities with your personal retreat time
Just as setting personal goals is crucial for a successful group retreat, giving yourself activities or tasks to complete can be just as important for a beneficial personal retreat.
That said, it is ok to have flexible or broad goals that allow for further exploration of your feelings. When I go for walks for example, my main goal is time away from my current task, and a bit of activity to clear my head. And while I’m doing that my mind can wonder and settle on new goals that I’ve only realized with the added perspective that the time off gave me!
Here are a few common activities that people associate with taking personal retreats.
Walking /running or any exercise really: this gives you time to think while getting the blood moving, providing tons of benefits. Again, yoga is a great practice that provides these benefits, and many group retreats have co-opted yoga along with other exercise types to provide compounded benefits and interest to practitioners, these are known as hybrid yoga retreats.
Writing/journaling: jotting down your thoughts does something that can’t be explained. It gives them so much more weight somehow, and makes you able so see them so much more clearly. This perspective can be invaluable if you’re struggling with tough decisions.
Meditation: as mentioned above, meditation provides a great way to clear the mind and calm the body. Plus many more benefits.
Art: whether painting, drawing, sculpting, or whatever media you choose, art gives you time to think and really be in the moment. Art is a form of self-exploration and self-expression that can lead a person to discover wonderful things about themselves. Art is great for personal therapy.
So whether you need five minutes or five days, create the space your deserve. You’ll be that much more productive and more joyful!