“Almost everything will work if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.” ~ Anne Lamott
The last few years have pushed a majority of Americans to record levels of stress, according to a recent report released by the American Psychological Association.
The Covid-19 pandemic, job uncertainty, political division, inflation, the war in Ukraine, parents’ concern for their children’s safety and futures – the list goes on.
Job-related stress is a leading source of stress for Americans that is continuing to increase and one that is ongoing. American workers are, in fact, among the most stressed employees in the world, according to a recent Gallup Workplace report. The pace of change increases with each passing year and people are often left struggling to keep up.
Many of us ended up reevaluating our lives and work during the pandemic which led some to the “Great Resignation,” and others to reconsider the lifestyle choices they had made for themselves
There are some who are in a position to make significant changes in how they live or work, but how to move forward if that’s not currently a possibility? Learning how to better manage stress through exercise, mindfulness or meditation practices, taking breaks from technology – all of these are important ways to create some relief. Another way is to take a Retreat day.
What is a Retreat day?
A retreat day is when one takes a break from daily work to enjoy and reflect on their life, spending time to understand themselves better, and revisiting their goals and direction.
Why Create a Retreat Day?
Gardeners and farmers are familiar with the term allowing the land to “lie fallow.” Fallow ground or soil is basically land or soil which has been left unplanted for a time. It’s been left alone to rest, regenerate, and gather nutrients. Allowing soil to rest for a time allows it to gather nutrients such as potassium and phosphorus, moisture and valuable microorganisms. A field or garden that has been left to lie fallow for a season can produce a more plentiful yield when it is planted.
The same can be said for us humans. Giving ourselves a day of renewal can help us identify what’s working well in our lives and what we might want to rethink. Is your schedule overwhelming you? Maybe you need to rethink some commitments. Maybe your day is tied up with meetings, and you need to reconsider the necessity of some of them. If you’re tired much of the time, you might want to look at your sleep patterns or examine how much time you spend on social media. It’s now known that exposure to blue light-emitting electronic devices in the hours before bed can contribute to sleep problems.
You don’t necessarily have to spend a retreat day on personal improvement, though. You can do anything that restores and regenerates you. Maybe you just want to take a day to be outdoors and spend time in nature. You might want to use the time to enjoy reading a page-turning novel or going to an art museum. A day trip to an interesting nearby location or attraction can provide a much-needed break from routine.
You could use a retreat day to completely disconnect from computer screens and social media. I recently read a story about someone who realized how much time she spent online, mindlessly scrolling. She decided to take her life offline and start living her life there. Spending a day or an afternoon unplugged might be just what you need to regenerate.
There are countless ways you could choose to spend your time. If you don’t feel you can take an entire day, try an afternoon. The main point is that it nourishes and promotes you and your well-being. And that’s all up to you.