For the past few weeks, I’ve been talking about holding a mini-retreat for myself the last two weeks of the year; I’ve been getting several questions coming in about this self-care practice: What is a mini-retreat? How long does it take? What do you do during a mini-retreat?
The answer to all of those: it depends!
To me, a mini-retreat is a period of time that you have devoted to you and your self-care that is longer than usual, but not as long as you’d like. A mini-retreat might be a week, a day, or 30 minutes. There is no hard and fast rule here. The key is: it should feel like a retreat, a break, a self-care time set aside just for you. But it’s a “mini” retreat because, as much as you might want to leave town and head to a spa for a week, that’s simply not feasible. You have work, kids, chores, and other obligations that require your time and attention.
I try work my “mini-retreats” in on daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. It works like this for me:
- Twice a year, I take a two-week mini-retreat: one in mid-June and one in the last two weeks of December. I usually hold these in conjunction with the Woman Unleashed on-line retreat and spend part of my retreat time attending the sessions that call to me and doing the inner work they suggest. The rest of the time, I spend journaling, working on my Leonie Dawson yearly planners, setting yearly, 6-month, and quarterly goals, drawing, painting, meditating, spending time in nature, etc. The “mini” retreat comes in because although I’d love to take two weeks off twice a year, I have a full-time job and a business to run on top of that. So during these two weeks, I work on what absolutely needs to get done that day during the morning hours and spend my afternoons in retreat. So half of each day is a “work day” and half of each day is a “retreat day.” Yes, this takes some planning to pull off, but it is completely worth it as I come back to “full time work” feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, with a better idea of where I’m going and what I need to do to get there.
- Each month, I schedule in a couple of hours to assess what worked and what didn’t during the previous month and set my goals for the coming month. Again, I usually pull out my Leonie Dawson yearly planners and daily diary for this activity as Leonie’s got great reflection prompts that help guide me in my monthly assessment and planning. But do whatever works for you – I am a bit of a planner and journaling addict, so that’s what works best for me. I also usually like to pick a theme/word of the month, and if I have extra time, I may paint something to remind me of that theme/word.
- Each week, I set aside half an hour to an hour to do a smaller version of my monthly and yearly planning. I assess how each week went, what I want to do differently the following week, plan out what needs to get done on each day to stay on target with my monthly goals, etc.
- Each day, I set aside time – usually first thing in the morning – to journal, plan out my day, etc. In today’s vlog, I explain what I do during my morning power hours.
The point of the mini retreat is to provide you with some built in, much-needed self-care time and to help you stay on track with your goals. If you are new to the idea of a mini-retreat, I would start with these questions:
- How much time do you reasonably have to do this?
- What do you want to accomplish during this time?
- How do you hope to feel at the end of your mini-retreat (e.g., have more clarity, feel more focused, feel relaxed and rejuvenated)?
- What activities will best help you achieve that feeling?
- Plan accordingly from there.
My mini-retreats are constantly evolving to better suit me and my needs in the moment, but I hope this gives you a good place to start planning your own!