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At Home Retreat

Retreat is making time to abide with faith in ourselves

Retreat experiences are growing all over the country. You don’t have to leave your home to withdraw and experience solitude. At-home retreats are becoming more common as it involves no commute time and it is more economically friendly. You can create a time where you can disengage from the outside world and nurture yourself to reconnect intimately, including a ‘get-away’ from family and friends.

Can a retreat be helpful?

Research shows that we spend a lot of time being highly stressed and overscheduled taking a toll on our physical health, making us more susceptible to anxiety or depression or both. So it is important to dedicate some time to consciously uphold the present moment. When we acknowledge the present we are better equipped to make conscious and healthier choices as well as our sense of happiness and self-motivation increase. In a nutshell, we become better at everything we do.

This alone time with yourself can be used for different reasons. Find the purpose of your solitude and then determine the type of activities you would like to include in your retreat. For example, a retreat can be helpful to regain your physical, mental and spiritual cleansing balance.

Is it possible to have at-home retreats?

Absolutely! Your home is where your sanctuary is. It is where you should feel secure. For a sound, positive retreat, select a private, quiet room/area in your home. Make the surrounding comfortable and safe.

When is a good time for a retreat?

There are no rules about timing for an at-home retreat. Find a convenient time and set it aside. Schedule time away from work where you can be home alone; if you have children, make sure they are in school or away for that period of time. If you are a religious person, you can program your special retreat day around a specific celebration, such as Christian faith, Lent is a good time to hold a day for reflection and contemplation of one's life. The timing is totally up to you.

Planning your at-home retreat day

The following are steps to ease your mood and surroundings for a wonderful at-home retreat:

  1. Set your boundaries: Communicate to everyone in your household, including relatives and friends, letting them know what you are intending for the upcoming day. You will be off-duty to spend some time in silence. Do not feel the need to explain or give specific details about your retreat, if you don't feel comfortable. Most likely, your friends and family will understand and support your idea.

  2. Plan your meals: Make sure you have healthy, ready-to-eat foods, including scheduling appropriate break times. Fasting on soup, salads, fruits or juices are all welcoming choices for a light digestion.

  3. Be clear with your expectations: Plan your activities, such as reading self-help books, attend a lecture, listen to podcasts, watch respective movies. Plan to include a meditation and/or ritual to add to your retreat experience. With the right planning, make sure you know exactly what you would like to gain from this time.

  4. Disconnect: Prepare to mentally to disconnect from news, social media, apps and surrounding noise. Allow this transition to happen smoothly. A good idea is to shut your phone and computer the evening before so that you wake up fresh and ready for your retreat.

  5. Pamper yourself: Include in your retreat, materials that you are intending to read and digest in advance as well as self-care items for cleansing and pampering yourself.

A sample at-home retreat day:

Make sure all your tools, food and materials are ready, in its appropriate location before your retreat commences. You don’t want to fuss around trying to locate anything, including have your meals prepared and ready to eat.

  • Start your day and get dressed as if you are going to the spa. Wear comfortable lounging clothes.

  • Set up your intentions by listening to a guided meditation. Write down what you would like to take away from your retreat.

  • Eat breakfast, something light and easy to digest.

  • Next, practice a physical activity, like a gentle yoga or tai chi; they are both effective for centering the mind and body.

  • Select a few breathing exercises to help draw your attention inwardly.

  • Next, read a chapter of a self-growth book.

  • Journal your feelings and thoughts that naturally pop into your mind. No need to focus, just download any memories and ideas.

  • Lunch time. Eat a light, easy to digest meal.

  • Before resuming to your next activity, walk silently.

  • Next, schedule an activity of your choice, such as a meditation or a reading.

  • Have a healthy snack, nuts, smoothie or fruit salad.

  • Perform a nurturing ritual such as a facial, self-massage or bath.

  • Dinner time. Eat something nourishing and satisfying.

  • End your day with a seated meditation or a Shavasana.

  • Last, journal the reflections of your successful at-home retreat.

Benefits of a successful at-home retreat

By including a one-day retreat part of your life, you will naturally make time to be present to take control of your well-being and empower yourself towards total health. This should not be an experience that you purchase; develop it and create it yourself.

Regular at-home retreat is an optimal way to proactively gain control of your health. You can start with once or twice a month for half a day. Then gradually build to full days every Sunday, for example. Like the saying goes, “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away” at-home retreat keeps your body nurtured and fulfilled. How will you plan your next retreat?

"Learning to give permission to love yourself is the best gift one can offer." - Monica Stephan



Reviewed by Jessica Caceres


Connect with Monica and share your insights or new learnings. Stay tuned for next month’s topic!

Monica, enjoys sharing her passion to empower women in creating a wholesome approach to mindfulness, self-care and healing by integrating the science of Ayurveda together with the therapy of yoga to achieve your fullest potential.

Her credentials include: Akhanda classical yoga instructor, Ayurveda and Yoga therapist, Yoga for limited mobility, Restorative Yoga, Yoga for emotional balance, Healing meditation, Mantra and Mindfulness meditation. Monica is a strong advocate and a volunteer with the community-based, youth-led charitable non-profit organization, Youth Mental Health Canada.

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