Going on a retreat can be a rewarding and magical experience. You get a chance to meet new people, explore a new destination, eat delicious and nutritious food, and you might even leave feeling inspired to make some improved changes to your life. Unfortunately, this feeling doesn’t always last once we return home. Despite honest intentions to ‘be better’, many of us find ourselves slipping back into a familiar routine – juggling work, family, social or professional obligations, and before we know it, it’s as though we never went away. Once again, we’re tired, stressed, and counting down to the next holiday.
But applying that ‘retreat’ vibe to everyday life and sustaining it for the long-term can happen. All it requires is a little effort. These 4 simple steps will show you how:
Step 1: Start small changes the night before.
Implementing new lifestyle changes doesn’t have to be major. Often the simplest change can be the most effective. For example, wish you had time for a healthy green smoothie every morning? Just because someone isn’t there to make it for you doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Most people believe starting a new routine should happen on Day 1, first thing in the morning. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s actually easier to get into the mindset if you prepare and organize everything the night before. If you want to start a new breakfast routine, prepare the ingredients the night before or at least have everything organized in the fridge. If you’re planning to attend a 6:00 am yoga class the next day, pick out your clothes and pack your bag the night before so you’re ready to go and don’t have to rush in the morning.
Step 2: Try a new breakfast routine.
Start your day right by looking forward to a new breakfast routine. If you learned how to make a green smoothie on your retreat, now is the best time to try it out. And if you prepared everything in advance, just like in Step 1, you’ll have your nutritious breakfast in seconds! Try making homemade granola, porridge, or just add some fruit and vegetables to your regular routine. Simple additions will not only improve your health and wellness, it will also set you up for a great day ahead!
Step 3: Steal back time for yourself.
When we’re back in our normal routine it’s easy to let time slip away from us. Steal back a little time by making a date with yourself. Mark it in your calendar and commit. Have a lunch date in the park or head out for a 30-minute coffee break. It doesn’t matter where you go, just as long as it’s quality time with yourself. This means no distractions such as phones, or reading devices. Instead, take this as an opportunity to reflect on that retreat you just came back from, and what changes you want to make for yourself. Then write it down. It’s easier for things to become concrete and actionable when it’s in writing.
Step 4: Practice a visualization meditation.
If you know what you would like to change in your life but don’t know how to start, try a visualization meditation. Start by finding a quiet spot and sitting up nice and tall. Close your eyes and begin to pay attention to your breath. Notice your chest rise as you inhale, and fall as you exhale. Do this for a couple of breaths. When you start to feel yourself relax, visualize one thing you want to change in your life. Imagine what it is, what it looks like to have achieved it, and how it makes you feel. Then come back to your breath, and open your eyes. Set a reminder on your phone to do this the same time everyday. Try this for a week and you’ll be surprised by what comes up!
These 4 simple steps will not only invite that ‘retreat’ vibe back into your life, it will also bring some ease and positivity into your everyday routine. Take the time to care for yourself and the rest will fall into place.
Written by: Leona Tan