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Health & Balance

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Retreats Revive Mind, Body, and Spirit

From taking a spiritual retreat to unplugging at home, escaping from everyday distractions can help restore balance to your life.

DIY Retreats: Strategies for Taking Time Out at Home

Many people seek out mind-body retreats to jump-start a “personal retreat” program they can incorporate into their everyday lives at home. Do-it-yourself retreats range from self-care and yoga, to meditation and aromatherapy, breathwork, journaling, and mindful living.

For the time-pressed, learning to "unitask" vs. multitask might represent a retreat. For the uber-connected, unplugging electrical devices can provide renewal. For the office-bound, spending time outside is replenishing. For those who usually eat on the run, a meal prepared with fresh ingredients, served on beautiful china and consumed at leisure, could provide a much-needed respite. For harried office workers who sit in front of a computer all day, a cooling eye mask and headphones to listen to a favorite aria is a sensory vacation.

“Many people use a retreat as a springboard to make permanent changes in terms of getting balance back into their lives,” Shamir tells WebMD. “Part of going somewhere is going somewhere without distractions, to think, to focus on a goal, whether it is to make a big decision -- many people are at a crossroads -- or get some rest.”

But how can you sustain the wisdom gained at a retreat -- even after the day-to-day craziness of life has crept back in?

“When we get ahead of ourselves, we burn out and can’t sustain,” Shamir says. “We rush to yoga to relax! You have to decipher what is practical for you.”

The secret, experts say, is having a sense of purpose. It’s about slowing down. Successful retreats, whether you fly off for a weekend or take 15 minutes out of your day, is about being, not doing. Retreat is all about intent and regularity.

“You can create a sense of retreat in your everyday space by having little rituals that work for you,” Shamir suggests. “Light a candle. If you are a mother, take an undisturbed bath. Go to a movie where you don’t have to do anything. Drink a cup of tea slowly and read a book. My expert advice is to find these stolen moments in your every day instead of trying to block out time on the weekend.”

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