Tanya Younce, M.Ed., LPCC

513.795.2562

HOW TO HAVE A PERSONAL RETREAT

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Twice a year, I go away for the weekend to a nice hotel and have what I like to call my own little Personal Retreat. Last weekend, I stayed at La Quinta Hotel in Mason and had two a half days all to myself, which ended up being a very restful and insightful experience. So I thought I’d share some elements of it with you, in case you’d like to replicate something similar for yourself.

Know What You Need
This might come easily to you — I need alone-time. I need sleep. I need fun. I need time to think. But sometimes the needs aren’t clear because we’ve been so busy caring for everyone else that we’ve stopped being able to tune into what we need. Just spend some time journaling or talking to a good friend ahead of time. What are you craving? What sounds amazing? What would you love? When you can start the weekend with some kind of goal(s) in mind, you won’t waste time trying to figure out what you want to do once you start.

Choose Your Place
For me, it was a nice local hotel with a big bed and white, fluffy towels. For you, it might be a cabin in the woods, a place at the beach, or an Airbnb in the city. Go wherever your heart would feel most at home. Seriously, it doesn’t have to be fancy or cost a lot of money. Just getting away somewhere that your soul feels comfortable will be therapeutic in and of itself.

Pack Your Favorite Things
This means your favorite clothes, blanket, books, food, beverages, magazines, art supplies, and whatever else you’re drawn to. Remember, this weekend is supposed to reinvigorate the Real You. You may play many roles in life, but what qualities, things and/or activities have been shoved to the back burner? Let these things come along to nurture and enliven your true spirit!

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Expect Some Withdrawal
When you start your weekend, your system will still be running on full steam, so you’ll have to allow it time to acclimate to the new setting and slower pace. You might start by simply taking a nap or doing some yoga, walking, or meditation. I used a great app called Insight Timer that has a lot of meditation formats to choose from — I’d highly recommend it! I did a LOT of meditating over my weekend because it helped to calm down my racing thoughts and put me in a more peaceful mindset to take good care of myself.

Take Yourself Out
One thing that was important to me was to eat well in a great atmosphere. So yes — I went to restaurants alone!!! A trick I used was to eat up at the bar, so it wasn’t so obvious that no one was sitting with me. But however you feel comfortable, go somewhere to be served. You do a lot of serving throughout the year, so allow someone else to do the cooking, serving, and clearing. And order what you want. There’s no worry about calories or money here. Get the more expensive glass of wine and the amazing dessert at the end of the meal. Again, this is YOU time!

Rest and Indulge
If you’re going on this retreat to get stuff done (paperwork, a new budget, catching up on emails, etc), then YOU’RE NOT ON A RETREAT! So do not bring any work and don’t expect to accomplish any big projects. This is a time to rest and recharge. So sleep in, stay in your PJ’s, go get a mani/pedi, read or write to your heart’s content, or just sit by the ocean, next to a fire, or on a rock. Do whatever your body feels called to do.Your body’s voice is what’s been ignored for far too long. Let it now speak to you.

Return Anew
Hopefully you will have gained some new awareness or insight on your retreat. Ask yourself, “How has this time alone helped? How will I show up differently to my life?” Before you return home, I recommend making a couple new vows to yourself. They could range from I will make more effort to rest on a regular basis to I will stop apologizing and feeling guilty for taking care of myself to I will only keep my tasklist to 5 things a day. Write them down in a format that can be put up somewhere at home to remind you of them.

Personal retreats give us an opportunity to lift ourselves up, out of our selfless and frantic lives, and put us back down in a different and more conscious state-of-mind. They can decrease or eliminate underlying anxiety and tension. They can also affirm and strengthen our relationship with our true nature. It doesn’t need to cost a lot of money, and it can take place over just one weekend. So pick a date, make the reservation, follow these guidelines and you’ll be better able to tune in, rather than stay tuned out.

Be well,
Tanya

TY-Blog-3p.s. I wanted to give a shout out to a book called “A Life of Being, Having and Doing Enough,” by Wayne Muller. It ended up being the focal point for my weekend, shedding light on how to find fulfillment without the need for constant achievement and endless task lists.

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