Have you ever gone on a holiday then wished you could go on another one? Perhaps you returned exhausted because you had organized too much to do on your holiday? Alternatively, you were too occupied accommodating the requests of those you travelled with, or with accompanying them? If so, how about going on a self-retreat, where you can focus on yourself?
A self-retreat, as opposed to a group retreat, is obviously one where you go by yourself. You take the time you need to re-group and reconnect with yourself, so as to re-discover what you do or do not need in order to feel fulfilled. When you take the time to engage in some self-caring and self-nurturing, more self-awareness of your life may emerge. Also, self-reflection may lead to some self-discovery, not to mention self-development, as well as increased self-confidence, self-esteem and ultimately self-love. Therefore, the good that can come from spending time with yourself can be self-renewal as well as self-transformation.
Just how do you run a self-retreat?
Make it a priority. Although it takes a few days to really calm the mind, set an amount of time that feels right for you and which you can manage. It may be a few hours, while the kids are at school, or it may be between 1 to 10 days. Alternate between short and long retreats and see what works best for you. Remember you are worth it and when you feel good, good things will happen to you and those around you.
Schedule your dates. Let people know you are going to be unavailable whether by phone, email or in person. Give it the same priority as if you were going away on a retreat and had paid a lot of money towards it. You may decide to be unreachable except for emergencies, and will only check your messages on a certain day or every day at a certain time. Let people know by recording this information on your voicemail or set up an email auto-responder.
Set your Intention. The clearer you are of why you are doing the retreat, the closer you will reach your desired outcome. It might be to cleanse or detox; to rest and relax for mental relaxation, or for spiritual growth, vision building, emotional healing, physical wellbeing, or even for personal development.
Prepare your space. You have to consider where to do the retreat. If you do it at home, you may wish to put away anything that you do not be need and would, therefore, clutter up your space. You might turn off, unplug and even cover up or put away the TV, phone and computer. The point is to free yourself from distractions, interruptions, obligations and expectations.
Get yourself ready. Prepare what you need. For instance, buy groceries, so you do not need to make a run for the supermarket or any other unnecessary trips. Stock up on easy-to-prepare meals or cook some the evening before starting the retreat. This way you are not spending time cooking. Also try eating smaller servings than usual and eat more regularly if you need to, so that you are not digesting a big meal, which is more likely to make you tired and sleepy.
Be in the now. When you are all alone, you have to motivate yourself to keep to the original intentions, which you set for your retreat. By pre-arranging a schedule, there is less room for distractions. Without any people around there's no talking and your mind will become calmer. Every action such as eating, washing up and showering should be done mindfully.
Your self-retreat is supposed to be one where you give relaxed attention to your every movement, feeling and thought. Maintain a nice and easy pace and avoid all distractions and annoyances. When you are relaxed, everything will flow more naturally. The time you spend on creating a transformative environment for yourself will be worth it in the end. You will be better nurtured, supported, inspired and will come away feeling rejuvenated in body, mind and spirit.
Dr Martha Tara Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching in Singapore. She is a certified sexuality educator with AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists), as well as certified sexologist with ACS (American College of Sexologists). She holds a Doctorate in Human Sexuality from Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality as well as certificates in practical counselling, life coaching and sex therapy. She is available to provide sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conduct sexual education workshops and speak at public events in Asia and beyond. For more, visit www.ErosCoaching.com.
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