Sunday, March 29, 2009

How to Retreat at Home

Can't get away for a retreat? Try these tips to enjoy a blissful respite at (or close to) home!

Step 1: Find a peaceful place where you can enjoy some time alone. Go ahead and stay right in bed (one of my favorite options) or maybe you have a lovely nook in your house/apartment (I so wish I had a window seat). Other options include the bathtub (I'm not kidding), your fav spot in the local park, or maybe even a quiet place in the library or local bookstore.

Step 2: Once you've picked your spot, gather your materials!

  • Grab your bevvie of choice, a big glass of water or maybe a nice herbal tea (I'm addicted to Stash Peppermint). As much as I love wine, we are aiming for some natural bliss and alcohol is not the best choice for right now.

  • Next, locate your journal (these are my favorites, they have lined and unlined pages) and something you can use to write/draw.

  • Now consider adding some aromatherapy (by which I mean anything that smells good to you). Maybe you have a fabulous candle to burn (my current favorite is Pacifica Sandalwood) to add to your retreat ambiance. Essential Oils also offer many options. You can easily create a room spray (directions here) or use a candle diffuser for a more continuous effect. You can play around with blending the oils, depending on your mood. Some of my favorites are Lavender & Eucalyptus for a nice balance of relaxation/exhilaration or Sweet Orange & Eucalyptus for an energizing/refreshing scent.

  • Next on the list is music (or not)! Decide if you'd like to simply enjoy some silence or if you'd like some calming music.

  • Finally, scoop up anything else you'd like to savor on your retreat. Maybe a magazine filled with inspiring images or a good book. Possibly your canvas and paint or paper and pencils. Another option is to gather materials to make a collage, such as photos and other images, magazines, scissors, and glue.

Step 3: Breathe! Settle into your retreat spot, close your eyes, and take 10 deep breaths. Concentrate on breathing in through your nose and bringing the breath deep into your belly. Exhale through the nose, releasing all of the air and feeling your belly gently come back toward your spine. As you breathe, let your mind clear (easier said than done, of course). After 10 breaths, open your eyes and notice how you feel.

Step 4: Set an intention. Why have you chosen to carve out this time for yourself? What are you hoping to gain? What are you hoping to leave behind? There is no right or wrong intention, just go with whatever feels right for you in the moment.

Step 5: Let the relaxation begin! Delve into your magazine, journal about your hopes and dreams, take brush to canvas or pencil to paper, start cutting out images for your collage, soak up your book. Do whatever feels refreshing for you! And most of all, enjoy yourself! Savor your retreat!

Step 6: When you are ready, bring your retreat to an end. Pack up your belongings, blow out your candle...consider ending your retreat with some sort of ritual. Options include 5 minutes of meditation, deep breathing, or Savasana, writing in your journal about your retreat experience, or spending a few quiet moments reflecting on all the things you are grateful for in your life at this moment.

Repeat Steps 1 - 6 as often as necessary! Consider carving out 15 minutes or even an hour to "retreat" every week.

PS If you are a local lady and are interested in joining with other lovely ladies for a mini-retreat, check out the Women's Wellness Circle I'll be offering at Barton Hill Hotel & Spa in Lewiston starting April 19th.


  1. Just found your blog through a google alert on retreat at home. Your information looks really great and hit me at at time I needed it. I had my first grand baby on Thrusday and was diagnosed with shingles on Friday. The only people who can get sick from me are people who are immune suppressed including new borns. So this new grandma is staying away from the baby and in bed. Thanks for the positive bent on being sick, missing a retreat and retreating at home.

  2. Hi~~I found your blog through Melita's. I love this post about retreating at home. It's going to guide me through my creativity retreat this morning. Merci!

  3. Thanks for your sweet comments ladies!!! I'm so glad this post resonated with you both. Happy (Home) Retreating :-)