When is the last time you stepped away from the hustle-hustle of everyday life to seek solitude? If you are having difficulty concentrating, taking time to yourself can help you clear your mind. If you are making big decisions, a retreat can help you bring awareness to your intentions and motivations so you can see the entirety of your situation with a fresh perspective. If you are burned out, solitude can help you rest, reconnect with your bigger why, and recalibrate.
The world is moving faster than ever before. But in spite of the frenetic pace around us, we can still prioritize time to look within ourselves. If you have never taken time away for self-reflection, then you may be at a loss for where to start. Good news! Taking time away to rest and reflect may be easier than you think. Here are 3 ways to take a meaningful retreat for self-reflection.
- The Stay-cation
Ahhhh! Home! For many people, there’s no place like home. It is your castle, your fortress, and the place to let your hair down. Just staying home with nothing to do sounds like a dream. But for others, staying home isn’t the most relaxing idea because of all the distractions. Once you unplug from electronics and begin staring at unfinished projects, it can be difficult to resist the temptation to start tackling your to-do list. Whether you’re taking a single hour of solitude or an entire weekend to get some peace and quiet, the first thing you have to consider is freeing your mind from distractions.
Other helpful things to consider include:
> shopping for groceries so you don’t have to leave home
> setting your email to an automatic reply
> creating a peaceful atmosphere in your home with lighting or sound
> placing “Please Do Not Disturb” signs on your door(s)
> letting loved ones know you are safe and practicing solitude (so they are not concerned)
- Escape to the Great Outdoors
Going outside is often a great way to get away from common hindrances to peace. You may choose a local park, a favorite hiking trail, or other outdoor space. But you don’t have to go far away to find sunlight and fresh air. Outdoor spaces that are close to home like your back yard or patio can also be relaxing. Many people tune out noisy distractions by using ear buds to listen to a book, singing bowls, chanting, guided meditation, or (ironically) sounds from nature. Other people prefer the sound of silence. If you are going outside: be safe. Make an informed plan, and let others know your plans. This helpful list is a great place to start.
- Find a Yoga or Spa Resort
Travelling can be relaxing. There is an opportunity to feel truly alone. There is beautiful scenery. There is a rewarding destination at the end. The anticipation of visiting a new place or a familiar hangout can bring a thrill of excitement. “Research shows that the brain releases dopamine in anticipation of a reward.” Planning your time of solitude and anticipating your retreat could be as beneficial as the retreat itself.
Resort spas that center around yoga and solitude can be a great fit for people who feel stressed by (or don’t have time to) plan a trip. All inclusive spas shoulder all or most of the decision making. They often have access to amazing foods that are in season, or they host renown yoga teachers. Some resorts offer other therapeutic amenities like horseback riding, wraps and facials, or massage.
Here are a few things to consider when planning a trip:
> Do some research. Make sure the place you visit has a reputation for safety and ethical practices.
> Resist the urge to over-pack.
> Having a clean, organized space can contribute to a peaceful mood.
> Whether riding in your personal car or opting for mass transit, your travel time to a resort can also be a great time to notice your natural breathing.