Why Take a Retreat?

There's so much focus on stress these days, information aplenty on how stress-related issues cost UK businesses £40 billion last year, the fact that 90% adults say they don't get enough sleep and that 1/14 don't take their full holiday allocation. So it's no surprise to discover that many of us look to retreats as a way of ensuring we have some precious personal time in which to recover.

Some people find the thought of a retreat rather daunting. If you're already stressed, distressed or overwhelmed the thought of staying somewhere that might be spartan and regimented can be the last thing you'd want to do.

Retreat centres understand and appreciate those concerns. You may be interested in detoxing and addressing your personal issues but you're also in need of cosseting, healthy food and comfort in a supportive, nurturing environment. You may want some personal therapy or coaching, a little exercise and fresh air or an opportunity to go shopping or to the spa quietly on your own.

With that very much in mind they are often happy to oblige and provide tailor-made retreats designed to give you the space to do what you need to do, to ground yourself again, breathe and regain a healthy balance.

Let's reflect on the benefits of taking a retreat;

- Are you constantly busy, accessible and in demand? A retreat provides a positive way to switch off, forget your devices and become incommunicado for a while. You're setting aside important 'me time' to be unavailable to the outside world and dedicate time to yourself to reflect on what's going on in your life.

- A retreat is a time to detach, put yourself first, address where you're at and question what needs to change. Have you decisions to make about your relationship, career, which next steps to take? Do you need time to be quiet and heal? Taking time away can help prevent stressed-out, knee-jerk reactions to important situations and allow time to properly consider your realistic options and choices.

- When you're at a crossroads, perhaps exhausted, it can be a relief to have someone else take over for a time. Yes, you've taken an important first step by booking time away at your chosen retreat, but once there it can be a relief to know that your agreed schedule is in place; what to do, which sessions are next, what treatments you've arranged, what menu you've selected. All you have to do is follow the agreed timetable and turn up!

- A group retreat often provides opportunities to meet people similar to yourself and maybe share stories, advice and discuss solutions with each other. Sometimes a group of friends or work colleagues may choose to book together and have workshops and bonding sessions. Other times a specific theme for the retreat (like confidence, stress management, life after 40 or moving on after loss or an ending) may attract individuals to attend and work on their specific issues and concerns together.

- Giving yourself time to consider the big issues in your life is important. In normal, everyday life there's often little time for reflection. Racing from one thing to the next often becomes an automatic daily response. Giving yourself time to pause, cry, reflect on difficult areas or decisions is important as they are usually pushed to one side or quickly dismissed due to lack of time or concern at opening a 'can of worms'. Gradually little things can escalate and become more and more in need of attention.

- Healing, improved confidence and feeling more positive about your options can be valuable outcomes from group or individual counselling sessions on your retreat. Knowing there's no pressure to disclose or reveal more than you wish provides a comfortable atmosphere for discussions, as does the advance agreement that anything disclosed remains confidential between participants.

- Reconnecting spiritually can be a valued consequence of a retreat. Even if you don't 'do' religion many of us have a spiritual side which links to being grounded, empathic, centred and becoming more aware of our purpose. Taking time to reconnect with that often neglected part of ourselves can improve our mental health and wellbeing.

Detaching from the outside world, even for a weekend away, lets our stress-fuelled, adrenalin responses become calm, whilst giving time to reflect on what's going on in our lives. Taking a retreat can reacquaint you with what's really important and help you to feel more positive about the next steps to take.


Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.

She provides counselling, hypnotherapy & stress mangement at Retreat Centre www.ayuda-group.com/retreats   

She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.

To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net