What can you do if you want a retreat but can’t quite swing
getting away from your daily routines for three or four days?
I’ve often read about personal growth retreats. You know, those that offer a chance to reconnect with or discover one’s soul and life-purpose. Purposes of such mind-body retreats generally include strategies to empty the mind, detox the body, stimulate mindfulness, establish an exercise regimen, practice meditation, and/or to simply rest.
I have participated in professional retreats. These are the kinds that typically have a goal such as team building, creativity, strategic planning or problem solving.
As I write this week’s blog post, I am sitting in Cedar Key, Florida conducting my own personal/solo retreat. This trip developed not so much for me to find myself as it was to devote uninterrupted time to a special and long-delayed project.
Short back story: Fourteen years ago I completed a draft for what would have been my first novel. I had sent it to a professional critique service. And then I got distracted by other professional obligations. The draft has been on the shelf since then. Until this week.
My wife and I mapped out a time when I could steal away by myself and dig back into the manuscript. The result was four days in this sleeping little fishing village on the Gulf of Mexico. A quiet room hanging out over the water was the perfect place to create my retreat.
It turned out to be a wonderfully exciting, energizing and productive experience. If you ever consider such an investment in yourself, consider these thoughts/strategies/lessons. A retreat can allow you to:
- Detox from the daily distractions of social media, email and household chores/routine. It can be really easy to let something around the house (the lawn, a project in the garage, a household chore, other people, a walk to the beach) to distract attention. While I worked on the manuscript, I turned off the email, phone, and news. I took control of my environment.
- Empty your mind and move to a single-minded focus on whatever project (in this case, my writing) you choose to embrace.
- Stay mindful about what you want to accomplish with your days away.
- Establish a new routine of working. Prior to the retreat (in a few books) I had been reading about “ultradian rhythms” and playing with the concept at home. The retreat allowed me to further experiment with it. Think of a 90-minute work sprint followed by anywhere from a 30 to 60-minute break. Followed by another work session sprint; and another break; followed by one or two more (at most) sessions. I accomplished a great deal in about 4.5 to 6 hours per day of work. It was not a grind of 24/7 exhaustion.
Video recommendation for the week:
I am fully aware that not everyone has this opportunity to go away for a few days. So what can you do if you want a retreat but can’t quite swing getting away from your daily routines for three or four days?
Well, I’m reminded of people who take “stay-cations”. My wife and I have done these. Even though you are not “officially” away from home, you still create the atmosphere of being away.
Instead of RE-treat, why not think “STAY-Treat”? How might you be able to restructure a retreat within your home environment? Start small and build. For instance:
- Clearly establish a goal. Whether away or at home you can still do this. What do you want to accomplish by the end of your Stay-Treat? Write it down.
- Adjust your usual routine. Consider the ultradian rhythm mentioned above. If you can’t do four “sprints” in one day, start with one.
- Turn off the phone, TV and emails. Focus on your one task. The Facebook posts will still be there waiting for you.
- Do something different when it comes to meals. Nothing big; nothing expensive. But consider something out of your usual routine.
- Where will you conduct the Stay-Treat? Your home office? The back patio? Choose an area and make it your “office.”
It will take planning. You and your project/goal deserve it.
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
Check out my website (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).
Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.
(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.
You are too much!! As always love your thoughts! Thanks for sharing!😊
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Great theory and practice. Ultradian rhythms – who knew?
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I do find the routine works for me. 🙂
What an awesome post! Thank you so much.
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Thanks for the feedback, Katherine. We can let life get “crazy busy.” We need and deserve time to slow down and focus on the important “stuff.” Make it a great day.
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