Here’s the Introvert’s Dilemma. You need to escape the chatter of day-to-day life to be your best self. You also want to learn and connect. You love the idea of workshops and book discussions. Yet, you need the renewal and calm only being by yourself can bring. But you want to be a part of the discussion and hear the insights of others. However, you want to be the observer not leading the discussion. Here’s how to solve the riddle; plan an at-home retreat.
“A woman’s retreat springs from and is guided by a women’s inner knowing. A woman’s retreat is about stepping out of your ordinary existence to listen and to attune your truest most authentic self.” – Jennifer Louden, The Woman’s Retreat Book
I know my most authentic self loves transitioning into pajamas, swapping contacts for glasses and putting my iPhone away for the night. This is how I retreat from the world every day.
Yet there are times I need more alone time then I get on a daily basis. I’m able to find that time when Brian travels. Of course I still work, meet friends for lunch and brunch with my mom when Brian is gone. However, I always allocate several hours on a Saturday or Sunday to just be with me. I do yoga, read an inspirational book, review and revise my 100 Dreams List or spend extra time in meditation.
How To Plan An At-Home Retreat Step-By-Step
If you’re seeking solitude and inspiration to refill your cup I highly recommend setting aside three to four hours for your own at-home retreat. If you’ve never been on retreat, let me share what I’ve learned hosting retreats and doing my own at-home mini-retreats. Here is how to plan an at-home retreat.
Dedicate the time. It can be as short as 30 minutes but I do suggest blocking off three to four hours. (You can go big and set aside a whole day or weekend if you have the chance.) Just make sure that whatever amount of time you choose you COMMIT to it. I see too many people on retreat missing the point checking work emails and scrolling Facebook. Allow enough time for any guided meditations or online courses you wish to participate in as part of your retreat experience.
Find a quiet space. Your retreat space could be home (if everyone is gone), a park or nature trail, your office on the weekend when everyone else is at home or even a study room at your public library. It doesn’t matter where you retreat as long as you are comfortable and you will not be disturbed. Put your phone in airplane mode or DO NOT DISTURB if you need it for music or other listening options. Otherwise, put it away. If you can, download any videos you wish to watch ahead of time. This will help avoid the temptation of mindless browsing instead of tuning into the great yoga series you wish to try.
Set an intention. No, this isn’t a retreat “goal”. Instead this is a question for which you are seeking an answer. I ask everyone to set an open-ended intention to start the weekend when I host retreats. Examples are, “how can I have a more compassionate heart?”, “how can I bring more light and joy into my life?”, or “what can I do to make peace with my body?”. As you move through your retreat, keep this intention in your mind and listen to what your inner counselor is saying.
Create an outline. When I lead a weekend retreat we do have a schedule. However, every moment isn’t scheduled. We allocate 30-40 minutes for a session and then see how the time flows. I suggest you do the same. Create a list of the things you need or want to do to support your intention. Then listen to your soul and be okay with not doing a certain activity or extending your retreat time just a little longer if necessary. If you need more time to pause and reflect on what you’re learning do so!
Gather your materials. Have a little fun before the retreat gathering what you might need. Buy a new journal or coloring book. Find inspirational Ted Talks or an online course if you need some guidance or information. Download any books or workbooks ahead of time. You might also want colored pencils or pens, a blanket or Kleenex. You just don’t want to be stressed out rummaging the house for your favorite fuzzy socks or fighting with your printer when you’re trying to find your calm and connection with self.
Nourish your body. Depending on how long you will retreat you may need to make accommodations for food. If you are retreating for the recommended three or four hours you should be fine without a meal. Having a few snacks on hand is a good idea, however, in case hunger does hit. Retreating is a great time to practice eating slowly; your snack can even be turned into a mindfulness exercise if that supports your intention. I would also suggest having something prepared ahead of time if you anticipate a post retreat meal.
If all of this sounds like a great idea but you still need help with how to plan an at-home retreat let me help! I am hosting my first guided at-home retreat on May 24 from 9 am – 1 pm CT. You can join me from anywhere via a Zoom hangout, all you need is a stable connection to the internet. Click HERE for more details and to get your ticket. If reserve your space by May 9 you will get a special bonus box to help set the mood in addition to all the other great resources for renewing and recharging at home. I can’t wait to retreat with you or hear about your at-home experiences!