5 years ago, I wouldn’t have pictured myself going on a retreat, let alone with friends I met on Instagram. As an immigrant with Indian upbringing, going on a wellness retreat seemed self-indulgent. Time out for YOURself? Geez!
That mindset has evolved considerably over 2020. Especially, after I went on a retreat with members of the Creative Collective, a support group for women in healthcare. This group was founded last year by good friend, Dr. Shivani Kamodia Barto.
Here are a few reasons why retreats are necessary for the soul and why YOU should consider going to one:
You disassociate with your phone
I realized in those 3-4 days that the less available I am to the rest of the world, the more creative I become and am able to fill my own cup. On my way home from the retreat, instead of listening to a podcast, I was concentrating on the sounds of my own breath and making notes in my journal on the lessons learned from others. This simple practice helps inculcate mindfulness. I have since started doing that almost every day.
You meet incredible human beings
Many of us come to retreats nervous and confused. We are unsure of why we came and anxious about interacting with a group of strangers. That starts to melt away quickly when you listen to others’ stories and realize you have more in common that you thought. Fellow women at the retreat taught me more about integrity and kindness than I might have learned alone.
You get to take care of yourself
The retreat I went on, consisted of professionally prepared plant-based meals, spontaneous dives into cold water, yoga practice twice a day, a deep tissue massage and lots of free time to nap and play. It was a reminder to take care of ourselves. As healthcare providers, we often forget this crucial aspect. However, we need to remember that we can’t give from a place of wanting.
You reconnect with what makes you happy
A few key exercises at retreats can help you get very clear on what you want to offer to the world and what you want from life. I realized a long-held dream of adventure, frequent travel, writing more books and pursuing my love for painting and figure skating. I now have a vision board with all of these aspects drawn and painted. Looking at it every day gives me a sense of hope and excitement!
You are filled with gratitude
On our first full day at the retreat, all of us were given examples of, and then asked to paint a gratitude tree. Each of the branches and leaves can represent any number of things, people or experiences you have been grateful to have in your life.
I loved this exercise so much, I brought the painting home and stuck it to my soft board. Looking at it fills me with joy!
Counting your blessings will leave you motivated for the next step in your life. It’ll feel like, ‘hey I got this far, I’ll get THERE too.’