Too busy to take time for R and R? Too many meetings, projects, family demands, mind-numbing news cycles? Creating space in your scheduled life to retreat and reflect (as well as relax and rejuvenate) can be a true challenge but a fabulous gift to yourself. And you deserve it! Once you give yourself the space, 24 hours or a full week or more away, the benefits will build exponentially.
To create the opportunity to expand into a new decade from a place of awareness and choice is a powerful commitment to yourself. Try starting with just 24 hours, incorporating as many of the 8 principles outlined below as you desire. Then in another month or two, expand to a weekend. After 6 months, commit to a 4-7 day retreat for yourself. This is a good way to build momentum toward positive self-care and awareness.
1. Stillness. Use the 24 hours to not “do” much of anything related to the outside world, which includes family and all electronics. Try spending time with simple pleasures, cooking a healthy meal, meditation, suing a sauna or taking a long bath, and walking for at least an hour in nature.
2. Sleep. Adequate sleep is the foundation for all health and wellness. Prepare yourself and your surroundings for a full night’s rest.
3. Movement. Paradoxically, move during your stillness period. Move your body slower than normal- if you run, then walk instead, especially in nature. Move your body to increase your oxygen flowing to all your organs, including your brain.
4. Read. Instead of reading your email, news, or Facebook, read a novel, poetry, or a biography of someone you admire. Take a break and escape into a good book.
5. Nature. Being in nature is therapeutic for our minds, bodies and spirits. We are reminded of the wonder and beauty in the natural world and in our connection to the world around us.
6. Nurture. Practice self-care (think massage, yoga, warm bath) not self-indulgence. Simple mind/body awareness from breathing and centering practices found online at OM.org or Yoga Journal will inform your self-care.
7. Nourish. Eat clean. By eliminating hard to digest processed foods, filled with chemicals, your body will thank you. Try eliminating wheat, dairy, meat and sugar for a few days around your retreat and notice any differences in your body.
8. Gratitude. Use some of your 24 hours to give thanks to yourself, your family and friends, co-workers, spiritual leaders and influential mentors and guides in your past. Consider sending a card to one or two of these people to thank them for their impact on your life.
Through the use of one, many or all of the 8 essentials for a retreat experience, your will provide the environment for restoration of your mind/body/spirit. Before you dash off a dozen goals for 2020 or for the decade ahead, consider downshifting with the R and R practices here to inform your “being” before you think about “doing”. I promise you, the outcome will look and feel different for you and enhance your life moving forward.
Happy retreating, reflecting and rejuvenating!