If you’re used to being busy, or having your daily schedule dictated by external factors, such as work or family, you may be struggling with what to do with yourself in these current lockdown conditions. If you’re like me, you may also find that you are much better at taking care of other people than you are at taking care of yourself. If so, this may be a good opportunity to hire yourself as your own personal time manager!
This might sound quite strange, so let’s try and reframe things a little. Think of someone in your life who you really value, someone you really look forward to seeing when they’re not around, the sort of person who has repeatedly been there for you, helped you out and just generally been a great person to be around. Now, imagine that person has approached you because they need help. They’re struggling with some kind of issue and they want to go on a retreat to help but they can’t afford it. You boldly say that you’ll plan a retreat for them, after all, it’s the least you can do after all they’ve done for you!
So, what sort of things would you plan for them to do during this retreat? Go ahead and ask them. Because this wonderful person you’re planning for is yourself! If you were going on a retreat that to help you overcome the challenges you’re facing, what would you want to have happen on this retreat? Here’s a few questions you can ask yourself to get a better idea of what to do:
- Why is it that you want this retreat? Are you struggling to get things done at work? Are you trying to develop a craft but lacking motivation or focus? Are you having trouble with energy or even happiness? When you have an answer – you will have discovered the goal for this retreat.
- What activity/activities might help achieve your goal? For example, could it be you just need a break? In which case, a day of fun and games could help, or perhaps a culinary retreat with some learn to cook YouTube videos and/or a good wine, or maybe a relaxing spa day or even a yoga retreat? Perhaps you just need to get some work done – you could turn this day into a productive work retreat, complete with welcome distractions at key parts of the day to avoid burnout, and even rewards for when you achieve goals and reach thresholds!
- Are you going to want to do the same sort of thing all day, or would you prefer a more varied day? Even something you enjoy doing can get tiresome if you do it for too long. Then again, if it’s something you rarely get to do, that might be ok in this instance.
- How long will activities last and much ‘free time’ are you going to want between activities? You don’t want to stress yourself out by making a completely filled timetable and finding that you’re having to play catch-up after an activity overruns by 10 minutes!
- If nothing else works out, what one activity would you like to do?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you will be in the position where you can plan a loose timetable for your wonderful friend’s retreat. The important thing to remember that this is all for your benefit, and so it’s worth being open and flexible to other eventualities. You wouldn’t force your friend to do something they don’t want to do, so why should you force yourself?
To make this even more impactful and really feel like you’re being treated, you could even write out this retreat planner the day before, put it an envelope with a letter to yourself, and then the next day, open it to see what your intuitive friend has planned for you today!
And there you have it. It sounds quite simple, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves to take that care and attention that usually goes to helping and pleasing others, and use it to look after yourself.
Let me know whether you manage to have a successful personal retreat, and, as ever, if you need any future takeaways for any other challenges you might be facing, just drop your ideas in the comments!