Last week, we talked about how to plan a personal retreat. The first step is to find the time. This week, we’re throwing around ideas about location! Use your creativity to find the place that takes your breath away. No matter your budget or conditions, you can find just the right spot to take a much-needed break.
We’re blessed in West Virginia to have an abundance of diverse, accessible state parks. You can use the state park website to browse for accommodations to suit your needs, and filter results, too. Your state probably has a similar resource. Don’t rule out state parks; they often have fabulous travel packages available, especially if you go mid-week or off-season.
Do I find it particularly relaxing to hike out to “The Boonies”, set up a tent, and listen for bears? Not really. But some people do, especially if they want to literally get back to basics. If you travel to the backcountry, make sure you leave an itinerary and stick to it. Let someone know when you plan to return home. Hey, I read the Aron Ralston story, so I’d even leave a scent article in my vehicle just to be hyper-safe.
Mmm, now pastries and coffees are more my style! If you can only swing a one-day retreat, consider the cafe hop. Every two hours or so, move to a different cafe. Take your planning materials or creative project with you. If you decide to spend your whole day at one fantastic location, make sure you buy a little something every couple of hours. That wil keep the staff from resenting you for parking at the best table all day long.
I used to live on Chincoteague Island, and was amazed at how many locals never went to the beach. For real?! You live on Virginia’s only resort island, and you never drive across to the edge of it? What?! I’d gladly drive nine hours from western West Virginia to see it, and those guys could take it or leave it.
But we’re all that way. We become blind to the wonders of our own backyard. Do you have a local attraction that draws tourists from afar? Go see it with a tourist’s eyes. If it’s outside your budget during peak season, go visit in the off-season.
Staycation (With Conditions)
This is the most dangerous retreat. You know what will happen. You’ll see things that need done, and you’ll get distracted, and you’ll do “just a little” here and there until your whole day is frittered. You won’t accomplish enough of those little side tasks to feel satisfied, and you won’t relax, either. Instead it will feel like you didn’t do a darn thing except waste the whole day.
Unless you can set up your home like a bed and breakfast, get out of the house. (And really, doing prep work for a staycation can certainly defeat the purpose if you’re not intentional.) But if this is your only option, make it count, darlin’. Set out fresh flowers (even if you picked them), roll out the good linens, prepare or pickup your favorite foods, then switch into maximum relaximum mode. Don’t answer the phone, read emails–nada! Just chill.
Whatever your budget, you can have a day at the spa. Spas will often have discounts and specials for new clients. Call them up, tell them what you have to spend, and see what they have to offer.
If you’re on a shoestring, follow the staycation rules but bring the spa to you. Pinterest has a bajillion (at last count) recipes for DIY beauty and health treatments. Go on a delicious smoothie detox, smear on some homemade face mask, wrap up your hair in a hot oil treatment and bask in pampering.
Keep a little notepad handy. Wherever you decide to go for your well-deserved retreat, the very act of easing into relaxation will likely release a few ideas or solutions. Write them down and let them go. You can analyze them later; for now, just soak in the solitude.
Whether you’ve got a stash of cash set aside for self-care, or are on a tight no-nonsense budget, everyone can get away for a personal retreat. And everyone should! Resolve to take at least one full day every season to reorganize and rest your busy mind and body. You’ve earned it 🙂
Once you find the place, the next step is to plan the details. Next week we’ll talk about how.
NOW YOU: Do you make a conscious effort to get away regularly? Why? What are the biggest benefits?