Dreaming of Alone Time? 5 Tips to Plan A Solo Retreat

Welcome readers! Happy Wednesday. Last week, I had one of those dreams I never want to wake up from. You know those alluring dreams that take you to a favorite time in your life, and for a moment you travel back to a younger self?

In my dream, I wandered through the Campo di Fiori market in Trastevere Rome, and I was twenty again. In front of me was a delicate carton of raspberries glistening with dew, and I was trying to remember how to ask for them in Italian—it was just on the tip of my tongue—and then, POW! My three year old came bounding in and pounced on my stomach. “Good morning, Mama! Can I have waffles and sausage and orange juice, and can you get up NOW?”

And all at once it hit me: I have children. I’m married! I don’t live in Rome, and I’m not twenty anymore. And then I had the craziest realization of all: it’s been 17 years since that time in my life! Have you ever had one of those moments?

One thing getting older has taught me, is that I never really feel any older. Some days I even feel goofier, and younger than ever. But I don’t always take time to tap into that youthful, inner self.

I have a lovely life, and sometimes, I need a break from it so I can find that creative, lively girl I have in my heart. The one who doesn’t just clean up after a dozen daily messes, and drive my kids to tee-ball. Are you with me?

So, earlier this year, I did something that I’ve never done before, I took a solo retreat. And I have to tell you, it was life changing. If you’re reading this and thinking that you’d love to do the same thing, but have no idea how you’d make it happen, read on. I have some ideas and encouragement!

Step 1: Ask for want you want.

Sometimes it’s really that simple, isn’t it? What do you need to make you feel like you? Tell your husband, or your best friend, or your journal. Tell God, she’s listening, and she loves you. (P.S. It works the opposite way, too. If you keep saying you don’t have time, that’s what you’ll get– no time!)

Step 2: Plan it out.

Look at the calendar and check your budget. When could it happen? How much can you spend? Who could help you make it a reality?

Step 3: Scale it to fit.

Maybe it’s just an afternoon to get a pedicure, or take a walk, visit an art gallery, or go to a matinee (the kind that have wine)? Maybe it’s a whole week on your own at home? Or maybe it’s a Hawaiian getaway? No cleaning or errands allowed!

Step 4: Let go of the guilt.

My husband had offered to take the kids so I could have some time alone many, many times before I actually took him up on it. When I was a stay at home mom in charge of our family finances, I didn’t feel right about spending the money on myself. I wish I’d had someone to tell me to get over that! If that’s where you’re at, then I’m here to tell you that time working in the home does have a monetary value, and you should reward yourself. Being a full-time caregiver is also draining, and you need a retreat more than ever!

Step 5: Let go of the fear.

What I didn’t expect was that even after I started working again, I still felt fearful about going away. Ugly thoughts reared their heads: why do I need a break from my life when I have the life I always wanted? What if something bad happens because I left? Am I being selfish? What if I don’t know what to do with myself? What if miss my family and want to come home? What if I like it so much I never want to come home? This is just the guilt and fear talking. Go!

What I did:

For my retreat earlier this year, I rented a room at Suncadia Lodge, located just outside of the adorable and teensy town of Roslyn, WA. At first, I had no idea what to do with myself. It was weird not to ask anyone what they wanted to do, or what they needed. It was strangely quiet. I could hear crickets in winter.

But then I took a long walk in the sun and drank up the snow capped mountains.

I wrote a few blogs, and sat by the fire.

I took myself out to an amazing dinner, and watched whatever movie I felt like!

The next day I spent five whole hours at the spa! I just took my time reading the latest Elin Hilderbrand winter novel and steaming, and reading, and steaming. It was bliss. I got a massage and enjoyed every. second.

When I came back home, I felt so fulfilled that I was ready for whatever was ahead. (It just so happens that included many, many snow days for the kids.) Most importantly, I came back feeling like me, and I realized that I have a pretty dreamy life just as it is.

This week, as you go about your busy, lovely life, I hope you can plan some time just for you.


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