Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How to Take an At-Home Retreat

Would you like to unplug and get away this winter? You don’t have to fly to Florida. Try some ideas for a rejuvenating at-home retreat from contributing editor Lucy Pritchett.

What exactly is a retreat?
Going on a retreat means you give yourself a chance to experience a period of uninterrupted time to consider, ponder, muse, and catch up with yourself. It is a time away from the distractions and discontents of life. I am not thinking of just a few quiet unplanned hours, but a day or two intentionally put aside to withdraw from technology, errands, household chores, and other people.

  • Plan ahead. Go ahead and cross off one or two days on your calendar. Before your retreat begins, bring in healthy foods for simple meals, catch up on laundry, straighten up the house (it doesn’t have to be perfect), and take care of any errands that you might need to attend to so those chores are not tempting you away from your quiet time. You might notify your family and friends that you will be off the grid for a little while.
  • Unplug from technology. You do not want your quiet time to be disturbed by bings, bells, and beeps.
  • Set up a routine that allows for soothing activities interspersed with plenty of unstructured free time. I plan on getting up early and easing into the day with coffee, a few gentle yoga stretches, and time for meditation. Other ideas: reading, starting a journal, sketching or painting, woodworking, knitting, napping, daydreaming, or taking a short walk.
  • If you live with others, you might need a different approach. You and your spouse or roommate may just agree to disconnect from technology (that includes Saturday televised football or basketball games) and spend quiet time in different areas of the house pursuing your own thoughts and quiet activities. At meals, you could have thoughtful conversations about what you have been reading or writing about. (Nothing that would lead to an argument — this is not the time to talk about current events or politics.)
  • Remind yourself when you begin to feel anxious (and you will because we have been programmed to feel guilty if we aren’t doing something the world judges to be productive) that you have chosen this time to experience silence and go inward. This time of uninterrupted silence and retreating from activities and people for this short time is not selfishness. It is self-nourishment.

Enjoy your retreat!

Read the full article in our winter issue.

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