We all know what it feels like to finish a retreat on a high, charged with a buzz for life and feeling a sense of overall improvement in our state of being. Similarly many of us also know what it feels like to return home to our everyday lives and feel that buzz slowly drifting further and further away. So how do we harness the momentum that is activated during a retreat and take that energy and awareness into the choices we are living?
Firstly, it is important to take a moment to give ourselves a pat on the back for doing a retreat! Making a commitment to be with ourselves wholeheartedly is big gift and honors to the most valuable relationship we have in this life – the one we have with ourselves.
Just the thought of doing a retreat is a catalyst for self love, it is an acknowledgement that our intention to self care and growth can take precedence over the many commitments we have in our day to day lives. The momentum begins by making choice – by choosing with openness and willingness to explore new ways, to be with what is and to get to know ourselves better.
By stepping outside of our day-to-day routine and doing a retreat we can immerse ourselves in a new environment and reset our program to include the wholesome activities that help us to come home to ourselves. For many getting the ball in motion is the key and what we are looking at here is how to keep that ball rolling when we get home.
Easing Your Transition
To make the most out of your energy and momentum when you return home from a retreat it is good to consider a ‘re-entry’ approach. It takes time to adjust to an environment and it is often something that is overlooked when returning to a familiar space. You assume to know what to expect and you meet that.
Why not make a few adjustments to help your space meet you?
Perhaps you could dedicate a small area of your home as a ‘silent space’ or meditation area, or buy a new yoga mat to inspire daily practice. One easy thing to adjust could be your food shopping: consider adding a few more wholesome ingredients to the trolley, or if you are not already vegetarian, plan for a couple of vegetarian meals each week.
We are all returning home to different spaces. Some of us live alone, others live with a partner, children, parents, dogs, cats, neighbours – whatever your environment consider allowing time and space on your return for new, health enhancing behaviours to find their place.
Resist the urge to turn the TV on when you walk into the lounge room, or to pick up your phone to text your friends or to Facebook the world that you are home. Ease into your day to day living by allowing spaciousness and silence for at least the first 24 hours.
It may be worth considering when you book your retreat scheduling an extra couple of days off, if you can, so that you can transition and integrate gently at your own pace.
Weave in Community
Sharing with like minds is a key element to the retreat process. It can be really hard to return home to an empty house or a house filled with people whose goals do not align with your own. After having been in a space with so much support and understanding, it can feel lonely.
This kind of abrupt shift can instantaneously derail your momentum. It is important to find a community who share an interest in the things that are important to you.
This doesn’t have to mean forgetting about the friends you have to make new ones – the people we have around us support us in many ways, seen and unseen. What is important is that for the first couple of weeks after a retreat you are aware of how the people in your life are helping (or hindering) you to stay true to yourself. Where support is lacking, seek to make new connections.
Perhaps try looking for a local yoga studio, meditation centre or healthy eating group. Spend time in the places that wholesomely nourish you and trust that like attracts like – that you can draw the people you need most into your life. But that won’t happen if you are sitting on the couch waiting for them.
You may also feel inspired to enliven your current relationships. Consider meeting a friend for a walk in the park instead of a rant over coffee or plan a meal in silence with your family. There are many ways to meet our familiars in new ways and perhaps your inspired routine will allow them to explore something new for themselves.
Put YOU Time on the Calendar
As with any new routine it is common to experience lulls in motivation. Every three months or so energies shift. Not for lack of wanting, it can be a time where your practice is compromised. Where you once did yoga 5 times a week you now only do it twice, or perhaps your meditation practice has gone from 30 minutes to 5.
It’s OK, this is the case for the majority!
Even with the support of a local meditation group or yoga class your commitment to practice can waver and this can be a great time to consider planning some ‘you’ time.
You don’t have to do a week long retreat to immerse yourself in inspired wholesome practice. Just the simple act of planning time on the calendar just for you, can be the spark of momentum that you need.
Planning ahead can help steer energy towards yourself at the times when you need it the most. Consider researching or booking time off once a year or possibly once every six months. It could be local or involve travel, and it may be something you choose to do alone or with a partner or friend. Most importantly is that you schedule this time to unplug from the day to day and remember how important your practices are to you.
Be Perfectly Imperfect...
So you missed a practice and hit yourself with a couple of harsh criticisms, but what is worse, missing a practice or stopping your practice all together?
It is easy to see a decision as black and white, either going forwards or backwards, right or wrong, good or bad… the trouble with guilt is that once you feel bad for missing a class you fall into the thinking that when you do a practice you are ‘good’ and when you miss a practice, you are ‘bad’. It can shift your focus from being motivated to wanting to do the right thing.
Your desire to do things perfectly can often stand in the way of doing something at all. Practice isn’t about doing it perfectly, or being perfect. Practice is about honouring your intention and commitment to self.
Take 5 minutes right now to just breathe… and shift the energy from ‘I should do…’ & ‘I need to…’ to ‘I am…’
Check out some of our online resources – quick and easy ways to raise your vibration, great ways to start your day, or take 10 minutes to enjoy a guided meditation to bring you happily into the present moment.