Fri, November 2nd, 2012 - By

Tips for Planning a Personal Retreat


Today, with our hectic schedules, long work days, endless requests for our attention (ahem – “social media” – ahem), it almost feels like work to go on a holiday, especially when a true break sounds more like a day where you stay in bed all day and just sleep.

A retreat can be a restorative, rejuvenating opportunity to enjoy a holiday break and feel better at the end of it.  I try to take a couple a year, and I’m always thankful afterwards that I did.

How to get away?  Here are my tips for planning a personal retreat.

First, the location: it has to be a direct connection.

Retreats need to be easy to get to.  One direct flight, less than 1 day’s drive, a train ride, a bus ride… anything that can get you there easily or at least if there are any mishaps, recovery is easy.  I call it retreat insurance – the less things that can go wrong, the better.

Also, please don’t plan a staycation for a retreat.  Your temptation to polish pots and check emails will be too great.  Just.  Don’t.  Even an hour away will be retreat-worthy.

Second, the hotel.  Very, very important.

A retreat requires a place to, er, retreat to.  So your hotel choice is very important.  Perhaps a quiet inn, or a hotel with a spa, or a lodge in a rural spot where you can do lots of walking. Maybe a huge bath is important for you, or steam shower, or just a balcony with a view perfectly paired with a case of beer.

I can’t reiterate how important the choice of accommodation is, because you want a place that you’ll want to spend a lot of time.  In this case, it might even be worth spending a little extra part of your budget on the accommodation, since you’ll really want to enjoy time there.

Now, make your NOT to do list.

I think it’s great to prepare your list of boundaries for the retreat.  Will you bring your laptop?  How often will you check your email, if at all?  Will you use Facebook? (What if you want to upload a photo?)   You should decide how much you want to close down, and just leave an option for people to reach you in an emergency.

Then, plan on a few things to do.

I know, I know, you’re thinking that a retreat should be relatively, er, to-do-list free.  That is true.  and we just made a not-do list.  Yes.  But you’re going to get bored.  The films on the TV aren’t going to be all that memorable.  So, make a list of things that you’d love to do. Maybe that’s a certain number of walks.  Or maybe you knit.  Or you want to paint.  Or read.  Or write.  It doesn’t matter – what feels right?

Make a list.  Keep it short.  Prepare for some open time – which might feel a bit “itchy” at first, trust me, at the end of the week, you’ll be ready to book your next treat!

Photo by author.

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Friday, November 2nd, 2012 at 10:00
Category : Holiday Tips
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