Create Your Own Mini-Retreat

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You don’t have to go to Bali, Costa Rica, or Italy to find solace, stillness, and sanctuary. Although a week-long yoga retreat or meditation immersion can be just what the doctor ordered (and doctors are prescribing de-stressing activities), perhaps your pocketbook will be more pleased if you stay home. With a little bit of planning and ingenuity, you can create a day or weekend-long mini-retreat for yourself.  

Often, spending time considering what you feel you need to retreat from is a step in the right direction: Is your job overwhelming? Do you feel alone in your home-life responsibilities? Are you simply exhausted? Considering what you dream of retreating to will aid in guiding you towards that sandy beach or untrodden trail: Do you need a whole day alone? Do you want to spend time with inspiring people? Do you need some vitamin N or would a leisurely morning between those new bamboo sheets do you good? The essential elements that will allow you to feel rejuvenated and alive are up to you.

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Customize Your Down Time

Begin by thinking of your ideal day. (Note: if you can make your ideal day a reality, GO! Stop reading and get going!) For some fun ideas, consider the elements of an organized retreat: solo time, nature immersion, nourishing food, physical activity, body and mind cleansing, visual inspiration, adventure, and time for reflection. The following suggestions for a one-day mini-retreat include a little of each of these. Pick and choose as you like!

  • Most organized retreats are intentionally off-the-grid or at least encourage disconnecting from technology. Try it! Set an away message for your email, turn your phone off, or try the Bored and Brilliant Challenge from Note to Self.
  • Create an intention for your retreat time. This will be your purpose, dedication, or desire for your day. This is just for you. Then ritualize it to encourage it to stick and go deep.
  • Check out these books for journaling and intention-setting inspiration:
    • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
    • The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte
    • Your Heart’s Desire by Sonia Choquette
  • Draw affirmation or tarot cards for encouragement:
    • Crazy Sexy Love Notes by Kris Carr
    • Art of Attention: Yoga Healing Cards by Elena Brower
    • The Wild Unknown: Animal Spirit Cards or Tarot by Kim Krans
  • Make yourself some special tea or your favorite morning drink (sipping chocolate for breakfast anyone?). Start with a morning routine to get your day off on the right foot.
  • Sit in meditation. Grab a cushion, set a timer, be still. Just do it.
  • Take a yoga class or make time for practicing yoga on your own. Schedule a private session with your favorite teacher. Get yourself to that class you love. Roll out your mat and roll around. Whether it’s 20 minutes or an hour and 20 minutes, harmonizing your chakras and stretching your muscles will prepare your body for receiving the benefits of your day away.
  • Get pampered. Massage, scrub, pedicure—whatever makes you feel soft and beautiful!
  • Get into a body of water. Bath, pool, lake, river, ocean, hot tub—cleanse and purify, and let your worries wash away.
  • Surround yourself with inspiring people. Listen/watch some TED Talks. Take a class on something you’ve been curious about (painting? bookmaking? French?). Take time to write handwritten letters or postcards to family and friends who live far away, as you would if you were traveling on retreat.
  • Plan some hammock or lounge time. Bring a blanket to the park or set yourself up on the couch. Pack your favorite novel or that magazine you’ve been waiting to dive into. 
  • Plan your meals ahead of time so the day of your retreat you won’t have to worry about having the ingredients you need for nourishment. Some retreats offer Ayurvedic-inspired meals, some offer juice cleanses, some are gourmet and decadent. Simply make sure the foods you choose are pleasing for all your senses and beneficial for your body, mind, and spirit.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time so the day of your retreat you won’t have to worry about having the ingredients you need for nourishment. Some retreats offer Ayurvedic-inspired meals, some offer juice cleanses, some are gourmet and decadent. Simply make sure the foods you choose are pleasing for all your senses and beneficial for your body, mind, and spirit.
    • Breakfast: try overnight oats with almond butter or two eggs over greens.
    • Lunch: try a quinoa bowl with avocado, sesame seeds, fresh squeezed lemon, and tahini.
    • Dinner: order take-out from your favorite restaurant or make reservations for that hot new spot you’ve been dying to try. Treat yourself, as they say.
  • Get outside. Take a walk. Check out your local botanical gardens. Play in your yard or stand on your balcony.
  • Write yourself a letter. Write out your hopes and dreams and how you feel after your day of retreat from the world. Tuck this letter away and open it in six months from the day you wrote it.
  • Try out an evening routine to ensure you sleep well. Clean your room. Change your sheets and put on fresh pajamas.

As you move forward into your life post-retreat, consider what you’d like to take with you. Did you get inspired to create a sustaining journaling practice? Would you like to incorporate clean eating into your daily routine? Maybe something sparked you and there’s a new idea brewing—run with it! Let the spirit of your mini-retreat seep into your life each day and integrate the pieces that will truly keep you balanced.


Deepak Chopra will teach you how to find instant relaxation and lasting peace through meditation—right in the comfort of your own home—with our Primordial Sound Meditation Online Course. Learn More.


 

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About the Author
woman smiling in yoga pose

Lena Schmidt

Certified Yoga Instructor
Whether it’s exploring the local trails, playing pretzel on the yoga mat, or diving into a book on inner peace, Lena loves an adventure. You can find her teaching yoga in San Diego, leading retreats near and far, and empowering others to be the change they wish to see in the world. Learn more about Lena at www.yoginilena.com The spiritual aspects of yoga have aided Lena in the never-ending search for peace, calm, and positivity within, and she’s passionate about sharing these tools with others. She is intentional about taking yoga off the mat and loves finding the bridges between the heart and mind, the individual and community, and mindfulness and expression...Read more