You’ve just spent 7 days of bliss in a magical place, enjoying great food, the perfect structure, and balance between activity and reflection. You’ve nourished yourself with healthy local food. You’ve meditated, journaled or whatever it is that grounds you to your Big S self. You’ve re-prioritized your life and are ready to make some much-needed changes. You’ve retreated! And you feel amazing!
As you start to pack and get ready for the journey home, you may feel some waves of anxiety, nervousness. You may have already started to check your email and experience a crushing weight of your previous life. You may feel pulled to respond to the “same old same old” in the “same old same old.”
Over the years, I’ve learned that integration and preparation for re-entry is an important aspect of the Retreat Experience. Here are some quick tips to help you smooth that transition into your “normal” life, and support your “new, post-retreat” normal.
- Remember that your family and friends have had time away from you as well. Approach them from the present moment instead of expecting them to behave the same way they always do. And if you are returning to partners and/or children, know they probably missed you!
- Get real with your unspoken expectations about what you want when you get back. Are you expecting your partner to have cleaned the house and made a fantastic spa meal for you? Maybe they are expecting the same from you! Communicate with each other and maybe opt to go out to dinner or get take out so no one has to cook and you can spend the time enjoying each other.
- Ask your partner or family what they did while you were away. You may want to share all of your amazing experiences, but you might also want to keep them private for a while until you digest. Let the conversation be more about them.
- Dare to change. What one concept are you ready to incorporate into your life? Get honest with how much time you can give to this newness so you don’t feel overwhelmed. If it’s 5 minutes, then 5 minutes it is! You can stretch for 5 minutes, close your eyes and watch your breath for 5 minutes, journal, read, stare at the clouds. Let this be your new practice to connect yourself to your Self.
- What one thing can you do to remember how you felt? It might be “look at a flower” or “see the differences in others without judgment.” It might be to “drink more tea and less coffee” or “eat fruit.” Connect to that when you start to feel overwhelmed. Choose Retreat moments as part of your day!
- Take the “listening” challenge. Instead of having to fix, change, or judge something, just listen. Then walk away. Retreat. You can always share your pearls of wisdom at another time.
So keep your commitment to yourself! You went on a retreat for a reason. Give yourself a retreat each day by giving yourself the time and space to remember that you are worth the time and space of a retreat experience. Every day.