- Need some space and well-deserved self care? Consider "going" on a mini-retreat at home!
- 3-4 hours is all you need to feel rested and refreshed
- Read on for free resources and creative ideas to curate your perfect at-home retreat experience
With the coronavirus pandemic, I’m sure many of you had to cancel or postpone all sorts of travel plans, big and small. For me, I had to cancel a spring break trip to Mexico, my mom’s visit from Seoul, a business trip to NYC, and the list goes on. In particular, I was disappointed to have to cancel plans to go on a 6-day silent meditation retreat to Big Bear that I had been very much looking forward to.
Considering everything else going on in the world, obviously, this wasn’t an issue. I realize how lucky I am to still have my health, safety and family around me. Due to the severity of the situation, it was easy to give up on these plans, without thinking twice. To be honest with you, this goes against my inherent tendencies. Normally, when things go array in my life, as a perpetual “fixer,” one of the first things I’ll try to do is to find alternate solutions or options (see how I created my own DIY at-home K-beauty facial!). But for travel plans during a pandemic, just giving up and hitting the "cancel" button on the retreat page seemed like the best solution at the time … until I discovered the at-home half day retreat!
It’s such a crafty solution when you think about it. "Going" on a well-deserved self-care retreat, from the comfort of your home without having to travel one-step outside your door! There are a few caveats to this. First, if you live with others, especially small children or pets who need your care, it might be best to schedule for no longer than a half day, so about 3-4 hours instead of multiple days. I know it might seem too short to be a retreat at first, but trust me, it will give you many of the same nourishing benefits. Second, inform the people you live with that you’ll be engaging in an at-home retreat and ask them to support you in creating the empty space and quiet you’ll need. Maybe everyone can take turns supporting each other? Third, make sure you have your phone tucked away and try to eliminate as many unnecessary distractions as possible from your retreat area.
The two types of at-home retreats I’ve been enjoying the most are a silent mediation retreat and a yoga-meditation retreat. Both take anywhere from 3-4 hours and will leave you feeling refreshed and recharged…while never leaving the house. Once you try out a few pre-formulated programs out there (check out the links above), you could even experiment with building a unique retreat to meet your specific needs. Below is one I built that includes some skincare too that you might want to experiment with (schedule in hours/minutes lapsed):
- 00:00 – 00:45: 45 minute power yoga vinyasa practice
- 00:45 – 01:15: change/clean up as necessary coupled with 20 minute maskitation session + body scan meditation
- 01:15 - 01:45: 10 minute break, followed by 20 minute walking meditation (see below for instructions on walking meditation)
- 01:45 – 02:35: listen to 50 minute wisdom talk
- 02:35 - 2:45: 10 minute gratitude meditation
- 2:45 - 03:30: 45 minute yin yoga practice to stretch our and wind down
In case you're new to walking meditation, it's really simple. You can do it either inside or outside. Just choose a walking strip about 10-20 paces long and basically repeat walking back and forth on that path. The point is to go slow enough that you can be aware of the sensations of your feet touching the ground and the weight of your body as you walk, turn and repeat. If the breath is often the anchor for sitting meditation to make sure your mind doesn't run away on a train of thought, for walking meditation it's helpful to focus on the sensations you feel in your feet, legs and body in general.
Recently, I’ve been trying to do these at-home retreats every other Friday afternoon. That gives me a full day’s worth of much needed retreat time per month. Especially if you’re someone who’s always wondered about silent retreats but have never been able to take the plunge, this would be a great way to get your toes wet and start on a transformational path.