Recently I had a Monday where nothing was terribly wrong, but then suddenly it felt like everything was wrong. Ever had a day like that?
The previous week had been full of long workdays, including Saturday, which I normally don’t do. The morning started early and ended up being busier than expected.
After lunch, I noticed I was staring at my laptop screen, I’m not sure for how long. It was definitely time to turn off my computer and do something different. But, what?
Monday’s are days where I set aside time to work on my business. That Monday, I had planned to tackle a couple of projects, but it wasn’t happening.
I closed my laptop, turned and looked at the dogs and told them, “I’m supposed to be doing something but I do not know what it is.”
After a short board meeting with the furry kids, the idea of a mini-retreat came to mind.
The Problem with a Big Deal Retreat
The problem I’ve encountered is that I’ve idealized the concept of a retreat in my head and made them a big deal.
A “Big Deal Retreat” includes booking a hotel or an Airbnb, organizing food, taking books, journals, planners, markers, pens, and more.
For a business retreat it may mean scheduling time to think, dream, and plan out the next quarter or phase of my business.
For a personal retreat it may be time to pray, walk, read, rest and review the goals I’m working on.
Since I’ve made the idea of a retreat too big, they end up being expensive and time-consuming to organize, and I give up on the idea.
Keep it Simple with a Mini Retreat
That day, I knew I needed a retreat, but a “Big Deal Retreat” was not possible. Keeping it simple meant I could start that afternoon.
Simple Retreat Idea #1: Take a Nap
Since I was already falling asleep at the table as I “worked”, taking a nap was first on the agenda. This may not sound like a big deal to you, but I don’t nap and haven’t since I was about 2. You should ask my Mom how fun that was!
Turns out just laying down for a short time was my right next step. It didn’t instantly energize me, but it cleared out some cobwebs, and help me think clearer.
Naps actually make me feel sick, I wake up feeling nauseous. Not fun. But I was so tired I needed to at least try a power nap.
A power nap with my two little dogs curled up at my feet was kinda nice :).
Simple Retreat Idea #2: Get Outside
We had beautiful weather that day. It wasn’t too chilly as long as I sat in sun. It was a perfect time to sit out on my little back deck with the dogs. Oliver especially loves to lie down and relax in a warm patch of sun.
I had no agenda other than to just be. Normally I have a list of things to work on, but not that day. I spent some time catching up with friends on Instagram and then pulled out my journal to write.
Simple Retreat Idea #3: Write
Journaling can be therapeutic, healing, and help you figure things out. So I started to writing to explore where my meltdown came from.
Words and ideas flowed out as I started writing. All the half-formed ideas floating around in my head took shape and gave me some clarity.
Simple Retreat Idea #4: Go Out to Dinner or Get Takeout
The thought of cooking and then cleaning up after felt overwhelming. And, since the restaurants in our county are not yet open for dine-in eating, takeout was the way to go.
I came home with some of my favorite hot and yummy enchiladas and watched one of my favorite shows, “The Lost Kitchen” on the Magnolia Network. Stories featuring the outdoors, creativity, entrepreneurship, and inspiration, are my cup o’ tea.
Lesson Learned: Keep Mini-Retreats Simple
This experience taught me a lesson I needed to learn. Retreats do not have to be complicated or ultra productive.
Short mini-retreats, only a few hours long, can still be effective. The gift of a few hours is often time enough to clear the cobwebs, gain some perspective, and take time to rest.
A Retreat is a Strategic Withdrawal
I just finished a great audiobook called, “An Invitation to Retreat”. In it the author called a retreat a “strategic withdrawal”. That idea stuck with me.
A strategic withdrawal is a stepping back on purpose. It’s stepping away from the frontline of life to rest and recharge.
The positive results I experienced from my mini-retreat showed me that these belong in my anxiety toolkit.
There is still a time and place for some version of a “Big Deal Retreat”. But, since mini-retreats can have such amazing benefits, they should be on your calendar too.
Have you ever considered, or taken, a mini-retreat? Here is my challenge for you. Go look at your calendar and schedule a mini-retreat in the next 30-days or less.
If you do, let me know how it goes, I would love to hear what you think.
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer, and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her dogs. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books, and now with the Selah Journal: A reflective journal and mini-retreat.