Making conscious space for retreat is essential to rejuvenate. Call it energy, mojo, juice, passion or productivity: We aren’t bottomless wells, we need to replenish our energy to survive.
A Small Retreat Has a Big Impact
When we hear “retreat,” we often respond “not me–I don’t have the time” (or the money, or the freedom).
I challenge you to re-think what a retreat can be. Maybe you’re thinking of a cabin in the woods for a few days–what a wonderful option! However, you can savor the benefits of retreat on a much smaller scale: Even a minute or two devoted to breathing deeply and clearing your mind can be a nourishing, potent retreat.
Every effective, successful leader I know has learned to dedicate time for renewal and restoration. I encourage my clients to cultivate a regular practice of retreat. These are some of the ways they rejuvenate themselves:
- A daily walk in nature, a run, a bike ride
- Turning off all technology at 8 PM
- Visiting a retreat center for several days or a week
- Turning off radio and technology for the commute to or from work
- Daily quiet time: Meditation or faith practice
Retreat as a Means of Focus
You can even cultivate the practice of retreat to support your work life: Perhaps set aside a power hour (or even a half day) of uninterrupted work time each week, with closed door, phone and internet off, no meetings, no calls. You could schedule a quarterly check-in with yourself or a trusted accountability partner, to eclipse the day-to-day to-do list and evaluate the bigger picture.
Engaging in Retreat Will Make More of the Time You Have
It’s easy to resist the idea when your schedule is already complicated and demanding. However, that’s precisely why it’s essential to claim time for peace, quiet and solitude: in order to refuel and find balance in the face of urgency.
Retreats are essential to living a full life. We need to rest and revitalize ourselves physically and mentally: like sleep, it’s a physical necessity. Experiment with the different scales of retreat: I know you can commit to a ten-minute retreat daily, or even consider a whole day of personal retreat time each year. One way or another, you’ve got to refill your tank to keep the fires burning.
How will you claim time for restoration, refueling and rejuvenating this week?