I so enjoyed going to “The Garden” this summer, a restorative retreat in New York that offers organic vegetarian cooking, massage sessions, meditation periods, and meaningful interactions with others. I was feeling burned out before I went, and I returned feeling refreshed, restored, and ready to tackle my life again.
More and more women are choosing to take retreats rather than regular vacations these days. According to Pamela Madsen, author of Shameless and founder of The American Fertility Association, women are seeking more from their time off, particularly if they’re somewhere near 40 years old.
“These women are on a mission to find something bigger in their own lives,” Madsen says. “And though retreats can be pricy, for many women, taking a retreat is not considered a luxury item. Instead, retreat taking has become a part of their ritual self-care; carefully scheduled into their yearly calendar.”
Might you be in need of a retreat?
Women Taking More Retreats
As women, we’re still trying to do it all. We’re focused on getting an education, being successful in our chosen occupations, and staying healthy while doing it. We want to be good moms and good wives, and we want to continue helping take care of our parents. All of this can leave us feeling spent and drained, to the point where we need more than just a few days off-we need a way to recharge.
Many of us at midlife are also looking for answers. We’re not sure we want to continue in the same way as we have for the last twenty years. We may want to make some changes, but we’re not sure exactly what to change.
“A woman’s spiritual retreat is a type of pilgrimage,” says blogger Jane Rosalea Booth, “a sacred journey that you take when you need to get away from daily stresses, and at the same time, have a deep yearning of self discovery and desire for greater awareness and connection to our Source.”
Reasons to Take a Retreat
Here are a few reasons why you may need a retreat, and soon.
- Self Care: We’re slowly getting the message that when we’re spent and burned out, we’re no good to anyone. A retreat can be very restorative, and leave you ready to be your old self again-which may be a great blessing to those around you!
- Healing: Many people had a rough year in 2012. Natural disasters, economical difficulties, crime, illnesses, and more were part of our lives, and most of us didn’t have time to step back and process it all. A retreat can help you do this. Particularly if you’ve come through a difficult personal experience like a death or divorce, a retreat may be just what you need to process those difficult feelings.
- Spiritual Renewal: Women, particularly, like feeling connected to something beyond themselves. Exploring and deepening your relationship to nature and God (or your chosen spiritual source) can bring you some much-needed peace.
- Finding Purpose: There may be times in your life when you feel like you’re out of step with your purpose. Maybe you thought you were fulfilling it for the last decade, but now you’re feeling the nagging intuition that it’s time for something to change. A retreat gives you the peace and quiet you need to really explore your feelings and get to the core of the changes you need to make.
- Female Connections: Even if you regularly spend time with your girlfriends, a retreat offers a unique opportunity to connect with other like-minded women. The activities are different from the norm, which I find encourages deeper conversations and faster bonding. The connections you make at retreats can sustain you in a unique way.
- Experience Something New: A retreat gives you the excuse to try something different, to step out of your comfort zone and experience yourself in a new way. You see new things, experience new ways of living, and give yourself options for how you may want to make changes when you get back home. Maybe you want to incorporate more medication into your daily life, for example, or schedule a regular massage a couple times a month? In other words, a retreat can get you out of a rut.
- Connect to What We Love: When was the last time you really felt an inner sense of joy? When did you delight to wake up just because you loved being alive? A retreat where you spend time in a beautiful outdoor setting, use your body in new and refreshing ways, and please your senses in ways you usually don’t have time for, can open your heart up to the joy in your life once again.
Some of my favorite retreats:
- The Garden: Read my post about this New York gem.
- Canyon Ranch: This getaway on Miami beach offers health packages, medical services, life management, food and nutrition classes, massage and body work, and much more. The 70,000 square foot Wellness Spa is the largest in Florida!
- The Kripalu Center: If you’re looking for a good stress-relieving yoga program, Kripalu is the place to go. You can enjoy daily yoga classes, world-class natural foods cuisine, massage, and healing arts, and more.
- Or you can always go abroad like I did last September to places like Morocco with Yoga Traveler, Bali or South America.
Have you gone on a retreat recently? Please share your experience.
Picture courtesy adamr via freedigitalphotos.net.