Taking the time for a personal retreat allows you the opportunity to re-energize, reflect and relax. A retreat is different from a holiday. It’s a semi-structured event that is designed for you to connect with yourself outside of your typical routines. Your personal retreat can be any length; if this is the first time you are planning a personal retreat, a day is a great way to start.
Here are five ways to help you plan a low cost retreat:
The first step in planning any retreat, regardless of cost, is making a commitment to doing it. There are lots of excuses that can get in the way of you taking some personal time. You first have to give yourself permission to be “all about me” for a day. That might require you to create a perspective that supports your self nurturing, for example:
o When I care for myself I am better able to care for others.
o Personal growth is a cornerstone of my life journey.
o I encourage others’ independence when I take time for myself.
The bottom line is when you nurture yourself, you have a richer contribution to give to the world. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Make arrangements to create a free day for yourself.
o Take a day off work and plan your retreat around school hours.
o Trade child care with a friend – she probably could use a retreat too!
o If taking a day off work is not an option, schedule your retreat for a Saturday or Sunday.
o Trade time with your partner. He or she would probably like to have a day to him/herself whether it’s for retreating or something else.
o Don’t think you have to take care of all the details. Nothing bad will happen if the kids eat cereal for dinner.
Choose where you would like to have your retreat. It might be in your own home if it’s possible to not have the distractions of other people or commitments. Turn off your cell phone and computer. Don’t answer the door. Leave the laundry and dishes to another day – or tidy up the space the night before.
You might consider locations outside your home such as a park or natural area. Many communities have retreat facilities that are connected to churches. Often you can rent a room for a private retreat for a day or weekend at a nominal cost even if you are not affiliated with the church. Many yoga studios also host one day retreats that are inexpensive.
Research some reflection activities using the internet, browsing a bookstore or the library. Choose a couple that appeal to you. Think of other activities that re-energize you – yoga, walking, meditation, art. Then write a schedule of activities that you want to include in your day. You’ll feel that there is a structure and purpose to your retreat. And allow yourself flexibility in adjusting the schedule as the day unfolds.
As you are feeding your soul, you also have to feed your body. Think about the food you want to eat. Consider lighter meals. Food preparation can be done ahead or as a part of your retreat activities.
Start a “retreat fund” and put some money away each week. Ten dollars per week into a jar will amount to $520 at the end of a year. This will give you some cash to attend retreat opportunities that might pop up. Sometimes when you see a great retreat advertised you don’t have the funds to attend. Planning ahead for a retreat in the future – even if you don’t know what it is yet – gives you lots of flexibility to respond when something appeals to you.