Taking a month off from your work for meditation at a tranquil place is preferred. However, you can ensure a fulfilling retreat without leaving your house. Try these suggestions for an enriching and restful experience.
Preparing your home for the setup
Get rid of clutter
Distractions hamper your experience. So, try to remove anything that can keep you from a restful experience. Get rid of the television, computer, and phone from the room. You may even plan on discarding items you no longer use. Note that physical clutter causes mental clutter. So, remove most of the unwanted items out of sight.
Set suitable objects
Choose a few items that will put you in a good mood. Arranging a small vase filled with flowers create ambience. Serving tea in a beautiful tray is another worthwhile idea.
Get ready to eat something light
Choose easy-to-digest foods to direct your energy to meditation activities. Green salads and yogurt should be your priority. You can also try high quality, organic, protein shakes. All these items streamline the digestive process and keep you calm and focused.
Have dim lighting
Soft lights relax your mind. Use table (shaded) lamps or light candles.
Have inspirational reading books ready
Check a local library or surf the net to find books you can read during your personal retreat. Choose something meaningful and inspirational.
Track your time
As with any other activity, you must not lose time during meditation. Use a device that will keep track of time. Don’t use a clock for the job. It’ll distract you with your daily reminders. You may set your alarm clock with a pleasing sound. Don’t look at the alarm clock. Just hear the sound as it strikes the hourly (or any other time that you set) reminder.
Get a cushion
Meditation sometimes requires you to sit for a long time. So, get something comfortable. A cushion should come in handy. A bed pillow can also serve the purpose. You may even sit on an ergonomic chair if you feel comfortable with that.
Preparing your mind for the retreat
Choose the right time
Set aside some free time within your schedule. Don’t have any pressing appointments or meetings on your meditation day. Also, if it’s possible, ensure that your spouse and children are away from home so that you can have some peace and quiet.
Slow down in advance
Most people choose their weekends for their personal meditation retreat. Still, they don’t get the desired results. Why? They fail to switch and decompress slowly before the meditation retreat. A quick slow down after a pressing week may not serve the desired purpose. Seek a couple of days off before the weekend retreat. Also, stay away from high-stress activities, if possible.
Don’t leave pressing issues unsolved
Resolve car repairs or other household chores before the day of. Also, ensure that no complicated issue remains unsolved before the retreat. Additionally, set aside future plans and concentrate on calming your mind, nothing else.
Inform people that you won’t be available on the given date
Tell people that you won’t respond until the retreat is over. Ask your loved ones not to contact you except in the case of an emergency. Let people know that you’ll reach out to them after the retreat.
Focus your attention on meditation goals
Decide what you wish to achieve during your retreat. Do you want to attain better control over your emotions? Do you want a new career? Be specific about what you want to attain. That should help you stay focused on your goals.
Take a bath, put on something light
Before you sit down for meditation, take a warm bath. Bathing in warm water soothes your body and mind. Also, wear light clothes made from cotton. Your body will feel light and relaxed.
During the meditation
Deep breathing essential
Meditation begins with a calm mind and deep breathing. First of all, get rid of all thoughts that hit your mind daily. Once your mind is empty, sit down slowly and take some deep breathes. Proper breathing enhances your mental function. Also, breathing calms your nerves. Take full, deep breathes down into your abdomen. Allow the air to travel in and out of the nostrils.
Keep a straight posture
A poor posture impacts your meditation. Your entire process of deep breathing will be in vain due to bad posture. Such a position keeps you alert and improves your concentration. Not just that, it allows easy passage of air during the breathing process. Sit straight with your head slightly forward and keep your shoulders relaxed.
Observe your thoughts
Pay attention to your thoughts. Don’t make any conclusions or judgments. Identify goals or concerns that you’d like to address. Dedicate time for those concerns during the retreat process.
Devote yourself to the Almighty God
According to studies, concentrating on the Creator generates better results. So, set aside some hours for spiritual thinking about God. Clear your thoughts before you move on to this step. Also, make sure that other goals and concerns are addressed. Spiritual meditation strengthens your mentality and prepares you better for upcoming life challenges.
After the retreat
The success of any retreat rests in the aftermath. Draft an action plan for your goals. Go through the plan; discover your challenges, and make appropriate changes. Put the plan in action and monitor your progress daily or periodically. Make sure you don’t deter from the set plan. Get rid of distractions, if any, to stay focused.
Meditation retreats are all about improving your mindset. Everything takes place within your mind. So, have a peaceful setting and generate a positive attitude towards your daily routine. If done properly, meditation can reduce stress levels, resolve sleep disorders, create better concentration, and help you develop better problem-solving skills.
I would love to give you a free resource sheet to support your quest for a healthy mindset. Click the button below to receive your gift.
I really wanted to talk about this topic today because I wanted to share some lifestyle-based strategies to improve your overall mindset and mental health, which in turn improves your life. You must do the internal work to improve your overall health. You can do this by learning what motivates you and working each day on improving your mindset. Your thoughts control your feelings, which controls your behavior. You can cultivate certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
If you are familiar with my approach, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle modifications, such as stress reduction and mindfulness exercises, can help you feel better about yourself and your life. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Tools For Motivation And Mindset
Although you don’t need a cushion to meditate, you may want to consider using one at some point. You could meditate in a chair, or simply sit on the floor if you want. You can also use pillows or cushions from your furnishings to try out. Cushion, chair, bench, floor – it’s all good. Eventually, though, if you’re not sitting upright on a chair, you’ll probably do well to buy a dedicated meditation cushion. The cushion will support your sitting posture and help you create an appealing mindfulness corner that will encourage you to practice every day. I recommend this meditation cushion and mat bundle.
If you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. Even if you don’t have these conditions, journaling can enhance your life in many ways. Having difficulty processing your thoughts and emotions? Journaling can help clear that mental clutter and move towards a positive mindset. Research suggests that keeping a journal can have positive impacts on both mental and physical health. So, to start you on your journey, I recommend this self care journal.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, meditation and mindfulness, as well as healthy and supportive relationships are the best ways to support mental health. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
PPS. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe stress, anxiety, depression and/or other mental health issues, please contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. This is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
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