I started taking personal retreats after my youngest son was 3 years old. I’ve gone on plenty of retreats as a single person, married couple, and then family with young children with various Christian groups and churches. However, I only started planning an annual personal retreat after I started having children.
As an introverted mom, I found that I was craving longer times of silence and reflection that I wasn’t able to get on a daily basis. Kids make so much noise! It was overwhelming.
I began planning solo personal retreats as a birthday present to myself. Instead of asking for any gifts or parties, I asked my husband for the gift of solitude. It was a way for me to take care of myself and listen to my needs.
My retreats have looked different every year based on how organized I was in planning, and what was in the budget. The first year I planned my retreat, it was for a full weekend away at a nearby Franciscan hermitage. They had tiny individual cottages with a small kitchenette, bathroom, and porch overlooking a wooded area. It was the perfect place to retreat.
Other years I’ve planned one day getaways or overnights for my solo retreat. This past year I stayed overnight at a friend’s house in their “guest retreat” area. I was happy to be their first “retreatant.”13 ideas for a personal retreat. Plus free printable to start planning yours today!… Click To Tweet
My Favorite Activities During a Personal Retreat
After doing this for so many years, I’ve come to know what makes a good retreat for myself – even if it’s only for 8 hours. I personally try to incorporate some, if not all of these things:
- silence, no technology
- yoga at a studio I haven’t gone to before
- a run
- walking out in nature
- reading fiction and non-fiction
- reading through my journal entries from the previous year
- reflecting on the previous year
- long stretches of time for writing, usually by hand
- prayer, particularly practicing listening prayer
- simple meals
- a massage
- a craft project (mostly knitting)
- green juice
Who Should Go on a Personal Retreat?
I would recommend an annual personal retreat for anyone, but particularly for moms and dads. As a parent, you’re always “on.” When you’re children are young, the cries for help are constant as they are learning how to do things independently and how to be independent. It’s a precious time, but an exhausting time as well.
By the time the children are all in bed, you’re usually too exhausted to do any productive thinking or writing. A personal retreat gives you a whole day or weekend to plan activities around your preferred or most productive times.
I would encourage anyone who is in transition or at a crossroads to take a personal retreat. Going someplace new gives you fresh perspective, especially if you give yourself the time and silence to hear your thoughts.
What Should Happen During a Personal Retreat?
That’s completely up to you. Everyone’s needs and objectives for a retreat will be different.10 questions to ask yourself while planning your personal retreat. Free retreat planner… Click To Tweet
Here are questions that can help you brainstorm how to structure your retreat:
- Why am I planning this retreat?
- How long will it be?
- Will it be tech-free? silent? (you could plan specific days or times, if not the whole time of the retreat)
- Where will I go?
- What is my budget?
- What is going on in my personal life/work life/spiritual life?
- What questions do I have about my personal life/work life/spiritual life?
- What do I want to learn about given the questions that I have?
- What are things that I get pleasure from that I don’t normally schedule into my day/week/month?
- What do you want to experience during your retreat? Think of your five senses as you think about this question.
- What do you want to taste? see? feel? smell? hear?
- Do you want to see woods or the ocean?
- Do you want to be around a lot of activity or would you rather be in a remote area?
The Benefits of a Personal Retreat
There are numerous benefits for taking the time to retreat alone:
- greater sense of vision and purpose
- renewed energy
- connecting with oneself again
- modeling self care for your children
Whether you are single or have children, young or old, personal retreats are great ways to practice intentional living. Intentionally stepping away from your everyday routine to reflect, rest, and grow is essential, especially for the introverted or overwhelmed mom or dad.
Do you plan regular personal retreats within your year? If yes, what do you like to do on them? If no, what is stopping you?
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
Get the motivation and resources to live a simple, purposeful life.
For exclusive access to our FREE VIP Resource Library, subscribe today! You'll find the tools you need to simplify your daily tasks and create a vision for your life.