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How to Plan a Personal Retreat

on 12.28.2021 at 10:58am

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure here.

Y’all, a shower or getting to clean the house isn’t really self care. That is just basic life maintenance. If you feel overwhelmed… or want to avoid feeling overwhelmed, a personal retreat may be just what you need.

Whether you’re new to the idea of a personal retreat or just want to know how to plan a personal retreat, keep reading!

How to Plan a Personal Retreat  

What is a Personal Retreat?

A personal retreat is pretty much just what is sounds like! It’s a way for you to get away alone, away from your normal obligations and responsibilities. For some, it could mean a day at the spa or laying on the beach, but since personal retreats only come a few times a year for me, I like to make the most of it, combining rest and relaxation with planning and reflecting.

Why Should I Plan a Personal Retreat?

You should feel the freedom to plan one no matter what, but I think especially if your primary role involves you wearing many hats, then a personal retreat is a great idea. For me, it’s hard to get any kind of break from my normal responsibilities without getting out of the house for big blocks of time (at least a full day). Maybe you work full-time but also have kids and spend a lot of your time driving them around, cooking, and supervising the management of your household. A personal retreat will be a break from all those things, and it will also hopefully give you the opportunity to look ahead to the future and see where you might want to make some changes. 

How Do I Plan My Personal Retreat?

There is one big question and two secondary questions you’ll need to ask yourself when you begin to plan. The first question is: What kind of day would help me most feel like myself? There are a thousand answers to this question, and you don’t have to have it all planned out right away, but thinking about this will lead you to one of the secondary questions: Where should I go for my personal retreat? How you answer will depend a lot on how you answered the first question! For me, I need at least a full day (I like 12 hours at least) or, once a year, an overnight retreat. If you are going to go overnight, you’ll need to make sure you have a plan for where you’ll stay. You might choose to get an inexpensive AirBnB in town or in a town nearby. You could also stay in a hotel, or you might be able to stay at a friend’s house. Just try to pick somewhere where you know you’ll sleep well! If you just plan to be gone for the day, think about places where you can think and preferably have free WiFi!

The other question you need to answer is When should I go on my personal retreat? I try to plan three a year: One at the end of the spring, one at the end of the summer, and one at the end of the calendar year. The summer one is usually my overnight personal retreat, while the other two are just a full day. You might just choose to go once a year, or you might choose to try to go every quarter.

What Should I Do on My Personal Retreat?

In order for a personal retreat to be everything you want it to be, you have to plan what you’ll do before you go, to a degree. You don’t want to find yourself at a cozy coffee shop with a warm latte and then realize you don’t really know what you want or need to be thinking about.

Here are some things you could inclue in your personal retreat.

Reflect on the past year or period of time

Think about what’s been frustrating or stressful recently. Are there changes you would like to make? Are you seeing a pattern of something that needs to change? If things come to mind, for now, just write them down. You can use these 100 questions to bring in the new year at any point during the year! Another helpful resource are these 10 questions to ask yourself on your birthday.

Catch up on things you’ve gotten behind on

It’s great to feel like you’re going into a new season with a clean slate. Maybe you haven’t been keeping up with your budget, or maybe you have been meaning to write handwritten letters to a few friends. Is there a book you want to finish but just haven’t had time to? Use the time you have to take those things off your plate.

Plan for the upcoming season

Depending on when you’re doing your personal retreat, there might be a lot of things coming up. Maybe you want to go ahead and make plans for your spring garden. If you homeschool, you might want to use a portion of this time to plan out curriculum and other educational goals for your kids. When I go on my personal retreat in May, I make a summer bucket list (I also do one with the kids later, but I like having my own list!). If you’re looking ahead to the new year, maybe you want to go ahead and make some financial plans or goals.

Some other ideas include working on a family emergency binder, planning out a month’s worth of meals that you can then repeat for the next few months, or making a list of books you’d like to read.

Set goals

You might want to set goals for yourself, or for your family or individual kids. See my post on How to Set Yearly Goals for more tips. The Art of Simple also has a list of questions to help you make some goals.

Do something that makes you feel like yourself

In addition to thinking to the future and reflecting on the past, you should also make time during your personal retreat to enjoy yourself! Maybe you get a new haircut or a manicure. Maybe you love exercise or just walking down by the river. If you’re staying local, you might try to eat lunch with a friend, or maybe you just want to take a 2 hour block of time and read a book with no interruptions. Some other ideas are to see a movie or window shop.

Other tips

Make sure you have everything you need to spend time reflecting and planning: chargers, paper or a journal, writing utensils, any electronics (computer, phone, tablet), and any helpful resources printed out. Also, think about what you’ll eat! I like to treat myself at some point but also try to stick to food that won’t make me feel yucky, because I want my brain and body to be at their best and to come home feeling refreshed.

I’ve been doing personal retreats for the past few years, and it’s something I look forward to as the time approaches. Not only is it a small break from the family I love and my primary responsibilities, but it also gives me a boost into the future by giving me space to set goals and make plans. If this is something you’ve never considered before, I hope you’ll try it at least once!

What does your perfect personal retreat look like? Let us know in the comments!

Sharpen the saw by making time to get away from your normal responsibilities and look to the future with these tips on how to plan a personal retreat.