One of my husband’s very favorite things to do is lie on a beach with no schedule to have to conform to (isn’t that everyone’s?). This isn’t always feasible, since we have busy schedules and live in the desert of southern Utah. So last week I took him to Jamaica for his birthday, and for six days, that’s what we did- enjoyed the beautiful Caribbean water and weather with no phones, computers, or agendas to stick to. Ahh…it was heaven!
It got me thinking…why don’t I add little mini-retreats like this into my life on a more regular basis? Well, I mean without the amazingly clean smell of the ocean air, the sand between my toes, and meal prep all taken care of for me.
But I can still derive some of the benefit of big get-aways like this by finding ways in my everyday life to retreat and renew. Here is my list I came up with of things I can do to replenish my soul when my cup is nearing empty-or hopefully before! As you read through it notice ways that you can create a retreat yourself, without spending a ton of time or money, and without even leaving your own home if you don’t want to.
1. Visit a local art museum. Are you familiar with all the local talent in your area? I know I’m not, and would like to be. I’ve definitely calendared this for next month.
2. Take your camera and a notebook and go explore a part of your city that you have never really explored (as long as it’s safe). Take pictures, and journal about what you’ve discovered. Doesn’t this sound fun? I’m SO doing this!
3. Go to an afternoon matinee –all by yourself!
4. Spend a day in the garden, or the container pots, or community garden, or any other way to get your hands in the earth
5. Re-connect with an old friend over lunch –Who is the first person that came to your mind? Call him or her.
6. Go for a hike. Even an hour or two of one-on-one time with Mother Nature can reap huge relaxation rewards.
7. Plan a day off just to read! I tend to have several books partially read in different rooms throughout my house. Hmm..imagine taking a day to finish all those up and start new ones!
8. Do a media fast for a few days or even a week. Turn off all input—TV, radio, stereo, newspaper, internet, and see what amazing insights are there in the peacefulness for you.
9. Get a massage –it’s especially great if you know a massage therapist who does house calls. Be sure to follow that with down-time.
10. Take a long bath – add some candlelight, bath salts or essential oils, and relaxing music.
11. Spend a day doing what you love, not what you feel obligated to do. Give yourself permission to put your to-do list away for a day and enjoy yourself with no pressure to get something done! Don’t worry, you’ll probably get twice as much done the following day.
12. Take a class: self-defense, cooking, dance, zumba, yoga, tai chi. Try something new you’ve always wanted to do.
I hope these suggestions spurred some ideas for you, and that you will follow through on giving yourself a mini-retreat often. Remember that when you take ‘retreat time’ it is a gift to yourself and to those around you. We bring our best selves to the world when we are replenished, refreshed and relaxed! After all, it’s the pauses between the notes that make the melody beautiful.