Thursday, January 11, 2018

Creating your own in-home retreat

Are you feeling drained from the holidays and looking for a way to refresh without the heavy cost of going away? Have you fallen out of the habit of good self-care? Is your day-to-day routine getting in the way of doing the things you are passionate about?

As a society we go to great lengths to stay connected. We put our head phones on when we go for a walk, pull out our phone or lap top when we go to the coffee shop, check our phones constantly to stay instantly connected and informed. Seeking and being comfortable with yourself can have incredible benefits on your health and well-being.

Quiet time allows us the opportunity to check-in with ourselves, to revisit the things that light a fire in our belly, and to see how our daily lives are stacking up to our passions.

Creating a space in your home where you can retreat from the responsibilities that surround you, where you can unplug and tap into your quiet self is key to creating an opportunity for self-exploration, self-care and essential happiness.

The benefits of spending some time alone are huge -
- it’s an opportunity to recharge mentally and physically. Constantly being 'on' doesn’t give your brain a chance to rest and replenish itself
- it eliminates distractions, giving you time to think and reflect
- it provides you with the precious time to do what really makes you happy
- helps to make engaging with others even more valued and enjoyable
- helps you discover yourself and find your own voice

Decide on things you want to do during your retreat - which can be daily, weekly or monthly -
- write and reflect in your journal
- paint, draw and embrace your creative side
- sip tea free from any texts, books, journals, anything
- listen to an inspirational podcast
- meditate
- practice yoga
- read

Create Boundaries -
While in your space, create a set of boundaries to help you tune into you and tune out the rest of the world. Try some of these ideas -
 - no social media for any reason
 - create an auto-responder for your email inbox so you won't check it
 - don't access any app on your phone except Alarm, Weather, Maps, Podcast
 - no streaming TV shows

Choose a space
Choose a room that feels comfortable and is away from the center of the activity in your home. Choose a space that lends itself to being quiet and more private. An extra bedroom, sun room, converted garage space or she shed are all good choices for a home retreat. As you take a look around, notice where you would have enough room to create a space that isn’t cramped or limiting in how you would use it. Is there room for a chair, ottoman, small table and yoga mat?

Edit and de-clutter your space
Before using your space, take some time to really de-clutter. Edit your belongings, keeping only the bare basics you will need to feel physically comfortable and move out the rest. It is hard to be calm when you’re surrounded by clutter and excess stuff.

Set up the space
What you need in your personal space will depend on how you will use the space. Everyone's needs will be different, just make sure it is somewhere you will always be happy in. Here are some ideas to keep in mind -
- meditation pillow
- art supplies, like an easel and paint brushes
- variety of journals and pens
- yoga mat
- music source - cd player, spotify, etc.
- comfy chair, ottoman and cozy throw

Make it visually appealing
While you want your room edited, your retreat space must feel inviting. Think about the things that inspire you. It might be -
- fresh flowers
- plants
- calming or lively colors (depending on your aesthetics)
- thoughtful or inspiring art (depending on your aesthetics)
- photographs

Create Ambiance
Adding background music of white noise can be calming and can help drown out the outside world. Some prefer sounds of nature to bring the spirit of nature closer to them. Of course meditative music can be very relaxing. My preference is pure silence - it allows me to listen to myself more closely. If you're not sure what helps you, try different types until you find what's right for you!

Next, consider adding in soothing ambiance with fragrance. Research shows that aromatherapy may help with depression, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and fatigue.

Light it up - the right way
Make sure the lighting fits the space. The lighting will depend on how you’re using the space. Natural light can help create your feeling of serenity. Bright light is more conducive to writing and reading. You want to go with dim, soft lighting if you’re practicing yoga or meditating.

- Choose a space that is quiet and allows you to relax. Don't worry if you can't dedicate an entire room to your cause. A corner or alcove can work if you use screens or some other way to define the area as your retreat
- Make sure everyone in your home knows this is your quiet space. Place a note on the door to let your family know this is your time
- Be ok with taking time to be by yourself

Eventually, you will find that your mind will automatically start to relax as soon as you enter your personal retreat.

Until next time,

la chasse au bonheur
{the hunt for happiness}

1 comment: