How to Have the Best Retreat Experience

For the past several weeks, my life has revolved around an upcoming retreat, Sweet Retreat 2016! I've been working closely with the owner of Pineapple Studios in downtown Wilmington, Jess Reedy, as well as some of her sponsors (here's looking at you Spark Event Design, A Friend's Flowers, and Blossom Bay Botanicals) to bring some incredible amazingness to the weekend. There's a lot of stress that revolves around a retreat, but it isn't just the people working behind the scenes who can get overwhelmed. Sometimes attending an event with the sole purpose of enjoying can be hard to do as well!

So here are seven tried-and-true tips to not just surviving but thriving at your retreat!

1. Travel Well

A retreat is basically a vacation on steroids, so try to have the best travel experience you can before it all begins. This includes drinking lots of water; not waiting until last minute to pack; getting adequate zzz's; and leaving with enough time to comfortably make your flight, or drive to the location. Insider's tip: plan to have a day off from work the day after your retreat. A retreat is beyond lovely, but also very exhausting, and you'll appreciate the time to decompress and transition back to your daily life. For extra travel tips, check out this beautiful travel guide!

2. Respect Yo'self

Remember you are a human being with needs that must be met to be your full and happy self (this is true always but especially when you are going away). If you are an introvert going to a retreat where you only know a handful of people, make sure you are giving yourself time to ease into the day and regroup at its close. This way, you won't be totally drained at the end of the retreat (when you want to be most relaxed!). If you are more extroverted, still recognize your limits, we all have them, and adventure around that edge of your comfort zone.

Also, don't feel like you have to do every little thing. If you don't want to do yoga hour after hour, don't do it. If you'd rather get a massage than go to dinner, by all means indulge in that wonderful hour. Retreats are created with YOU in mind. The planners look to have a balance between adventure, challenge, and rejuvenation, but everyone is different, so it's up to you to be honest with yourself.

Ultimately, the idea of a retreat is to provide a space for you to check in, listen to your wants and needs, and act accordingly. You won't offend anyone if you "just do you". Promise. 

3. Pack Accordingly

This seems silly to write, but different retreats cater to different types of fun. If you are going to a yoga retreat, make sure you are packing stretchy clothes in breathable fabrics. If you are going to a writers retreat, same goes, but maybe you need more scarves and a couple sweaters for when you are sitting around writing for long periods of time. If you will be painting or crafting, don't wear your high-fashion, on-trend items. Pictures will naturally happen, so wear comfortable clothes that make you feel good, both inside and out! Another tip: don't wear brand new pieces no matter what the retreat. Stick to broken in ones you love. There's nothing like a too-tight waistline, pants awkwardly riding up, or a shirt you are constantly tugging away from your body.

As I gear up for the retreat this weekend, I packed yoga clothes I love to wear as well as some comfortable rompers. I know I can move and breathe in both, but I also know confidently from prior experience they will feel great and look awesome in the pictures I plan on taking.

4. Be Present

How many times do you prioritize yourself? Ever? You wanted to do this retreat so you could reset, rejuvenate, and have a great time with people sharing the same passions and interests as you. Don't waste that time thinking about to-do lists, long-term frustrations, or anything else causing you extra stress.

Before you go to your retreat, handle any pressing matters at work and home, and let the people in your life know you will be away from the desk, not in work-mode, and getting some R&R without any distractions. 

Free yourself from unnecessary guilt. You deserve to get away for a little bit. I promise. If you love this blog, you're probably a little over-extended, commit freely and easily to events before understanding their full weight, and often feel drained at the end of the week. Trust me, you are more than worthy of this time away from your crazy, busy schedule.

5. Smile & Get Contact Information of Everyone You Loved

You are bound to meet new people who are like-minded, energizing, and wonderful to be around. Speaking from experience, you will not remember their information or how to get in contact with them at the close of the weekend. There is so much going on. You will be here, there, and everywhere. Bring a little notebook and pen or have your phone easily accessible to jot down their name, number, and a few details about their personality or what you talked about. Trust me on this, that last step is the most important. This way when you see Josie scribbled on a piece of paper you won't think Josie and the Pussycats but rather Josie who shares your love of green smoothies and wants to learn more about Health Coaching.

6. Clear Your Head and Set an Intention

What are you looking to get out of this retreat? Peace? A little more self-love? New friends? Connection? Whatever you want, be honest with yourself and ask for it. Keep it at the forefront of your mind as you approach each day and all of it's activities. There is no shame (literally zero) in closing your eyes, coming back to your breath, and centering yourself before going on with the rest of your day. Let your mind be open to the awesome possibilities of your new adventure! 

7. Go With the Flow

This retreat is going to take you all over the place. You simply cannot plan every little thing, so try as best as you can to start each new day and activity with an open-mind. Go with what makes you say heck yes and leave what doesn't serve you. This trip is all about you, so enjoy enjoy enjoy.

Retreats are about digging deep and discovering more about yourself ... and having as much fun as you possibly can in a short span of time. Exhale and know you've made the right decision in celebrating yourself. With these seven tips you can have the best retreat of your life -- woot woot!

Cheers to Great Vibes! Xx.

+ I'm so excited to hear about all of your retreat experiences! Haven't been on one? What kind of retreat would you want to go on? Share in the comments below!

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