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Good Housekeeping
Aileen Santos, CPC MAC, Contributor
March 24, 2010

How to Go on Your Own Personal Retreat

Go on a personal retreat and get the clarity you need with these tips from Female Network. By Aileen Santos, CPC MAC
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personal_retreat_yoga_hands.jpgA retreat is a time for you to regroup, recharge, and become clear about what you need to do next in order to live a more satisfying life.

Sometimes you’ll find small and big group retreats that are an exact fit for your needs. At other times—even though you know you badly need one—there doesn’t seem to be anything available.

Our recommendation? Design your own personal retreat! Read on for some tips on how to plan and carry out an introspection getaway for one.


You’ll want to plan ahead for your retreat. We highly suggest that you set aside at least one whole day for yourself, with your entire schedule and environment cleared up of anything related to the things you normally have to think about on a regular day.

Spend the first part of your retreat day clearing your mind using your method of choice: you can meditate, go to a chapel to pray, swim a few laps by yourself, or practice yoga.

When you know your mind is relatively clear of normal “chatter,” sit down with your pen and journal at your favorite “Being Place,” a place that’s not connected to your home or work “identities,” a place where you can just “be.”

This place can be anywhere: a café where no one knows you, a small garden or private patch of beach you’ve discovered, a playground that reminds you of your fearless younger self, or even a hotel room you’ve rented out just for this day.

Add some headphones and your own personal soothing music—preferably something without any distracting or influencing lyrics—and you’re all set!


Tailor your upcoming personal retreat to really fit your needs!

Here are two kinds of retreats you can go on by yourself, to nourish the two different parts of who you are:

The Crossroads Retreat

Perfect For:

Those points of transition in your life or your career, when you feel like you need to choose between two (or more!) different opportunities for growth.

Questions to Consider in Your Journal:

- If you had all the money you would ever need and you knew that there was no chance in the world that you would fail… which choice would you make?

- When you look at your choices and you look ahead five years from now, which version of your life has the power to inspire you more?

You Know Your Retreat Is Going Well When:

You are able to distinguish between “warning signs” and “normal fear.” Whenever we encounter an opportunity to step out of our comfort zone and really grow, we all experience a moment of fear. Many people interpret this fear as an inner warning not to continue. Learn to recognize the difference by digging underneath that fear: if you find “excitement” and “future strength” underneath it, then you’re on the right track. But if you find a persistent sense of “something not being right,” then simply review your choices, clear your mind, and start again.

Suggested Retreat Companions:

- Shift It Mini Retreat by Christina Merkley (Downloadable) 

- How To Know If Your Dreams Are God’s Dreams by Bo Sanchez (Downloadable) 

- The Path by Laurie Beth Jones (Book)


The Heart-Healing Retreat

Perfect For:

Times of longing and loneliness—whether you’re in a relationship, are considering ending one, are currently recovering from the loss of one, or have been single for some time.

Questions to Consider on Your Journal:

- If there were no other people in your life right now—no family, no significant other, no friends—what are the ways in which you can bring love and nurturing into your own life? How often do you do these things now? How can you start doing more of them, and when will you start?

- Looking at all the people present in your life now—your family, your significant other, your friends—what are the ways in which you are currently receiving love from them, whether directly or indirectly? How can you show them more appreciation for their own unique way of loving you?

- What are the different “love and relationship beliefs” that you are holding onto now? Ask yourself if these beliefs are serving you—i.e., they bring growth & satisfaction to your life—or if they are no longer working for you. List down the beliefs that are keeping you from enjoying more satisfying relationships with the people around you, and turn them around so that they become more useful and empowering beliefs for you.

For example, you might believe that “A good partner should know what to do when I’m sad without me having to say anything.” You might recognize that this belief is frustrating not just for you, but for your partner as well. You can then decide to change it to: “As a good partner, I will communicate my needs clearly and honestly to my loved ones, without putting the responsibility for making me happy on their shoulders.”

You Know Your Retreat Is Going Well When:

You recognize that love can come from different sources in your life—most especially from you! This knowledge can help you find ways to multiply the love you already have, whether by yourself or with others.

You also recognize that although you may be surrounded by people who love you, it is never their job to make you happy. Because in the end you know that happiness is a personal choice, not a feeling, a situation, or a state of life.

Suggested Retreat Companions:     

- Love Catcher: Inviting Love Into Your Life by Kathy and Amy Eldon (Journal)

- Captivating: Unveiling The Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John & Stasi Eldredge (Book)

- How To Find Your One True Love (Book 2) by Bo Sanchez (Workbook)

AILEEN SANTOS is a counselor, life Coach, and trainer who helps women create more love and happiness in their lives. Find out more about her workshops and coaching work at LifeAcademy.Multiply.com.


(Photo source: sxc.hu)

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  • Lourdes Espanol Mar 24 2010 @ 10:08am Report Abuse
    There are times when we want to be alone and evaluate our life. These are really nice tips to follow.
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 02:54pm
  • anggeh Mar 24 2010 @ 11:07am Report Abuse
    i need a retreat myself.. thanks for the advice!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • princess Mar 24 2010 @ 11:36am Report Abuse
    we really need to relax and unwind are minds and find some time alone for soul searching. thank you for the useful tips. :)
    Last modified A long time ago
  • claire Mar 24 2010 @ 12:57pm Report Abuse
    I'm planning to have one this summer. Thanks for these tips!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Mae Mar 24 2010 @ 01:56pm Report Abuse
    I often do this once in a while so that I can think things over, review my actions, learn from it and plan my next move on my life. A moment of reflection can do wonders and save you from mistakes in the future.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • mary Mar 24 2010 @ 04:25pm Report Abuse
    Nice! I need this!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Vivian Mar 24 2010 @ 09:30pm Report Abuse
    Oh I love this article! I really believe that all of us should go on a personal retreat once in a while. If I may add, a once a day retreat (even for just an hour) will also do the trick of making oneself feel rejuvenated and recharged. Hey, we owe it to ourselves!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • mizhelle Mar 24 2010 @ 10:16pm Report Abuse
    we all need this at least once a year!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • teresa flores-apura Mar 25 2010 @ 04:35am Report Abuse
    the tips are very much helpful for my much needed retreet..thanks!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • meeeow18 Apr 06 2010 @ 01:31pm Report Abuse
    I like the sound of a heart-healing retreat. I'm going to try that.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Teresa May 06 2010 @ 11:50pm Report Abuse
    i need this talaga.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • ube canopin May 07 2010 @ 05:40pm Report Abuse
    with the past consecutive long weekends,i had the chance to unbelievably felt relaxed during our ride to puerto galera. unbelievable because it was in the banca on our way to white beach that i was so calm while there we were floating with the waves. together with the sea and the calming mountains surrounding the place. and i really did follow these steps you'd shared. somehow with such a short time i found a peace of mind. thank you so much!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Aicelle May 19 2010 @ 10:50pm Report Abuse
    i badly need a personal retreat. just don't know where yet..i'm trying to look for a nice resort around metro manila or province nearby.. any suggestions? thank you!
    Last modified A long time ago
  • RochaAdrienne32 Jun 25 2010 @ 07:58am Report Abuse
    I think that to get the loan from creditors you should present a good reason. But, once I have received a short term loan, because I was willing to buy a bike.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • einjhel Sep 11 2010 @ 01:30am Report Abuse
    glad i've found this one, nice article. i believe this can help me. thanks for sharing...
    Last modified A long time ago
  • JR Bustamante Dec 31 2010 @ 11:28am Report Abuse
    a timely and inspiring article. Aileen knows how to nourish our spiritual as well as out creative side.
    Last modified A long time ago
  • Vanessa Dec 31 2010 @ 12:42pm Report Abuse
    Very timely. =) This will help me unload the suitcase of debris from 2010 and fly light into 2011! Great self-reflective questions Ate! =)
    Last modified A long time ago
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