Many of us seek out support from therapists when we’re navigating major life transitions or questions. In work with clients, I often spend time carefully delving into these questions – exploring the scenario in it’s current form as well as other variables, such as personal values or historical factors, that might influence the process of moving forward.
In addition, of the time spent delving into and sitting with these questions in session, I sometimes provide “homework” (in the form of journal prompts or mini retreat designs) to deepen the process of self-study and reflection. This process of carving out time, to quietly but deliberately reflect between sessions, can help people access a degree of inner clarity.
In the event you’re intrigued by this concept of a DIY, stay-at-home retreat, below is an outline of some journaling questions and activities (developed to work into a 1-2 hour time block). If you give it a try, free to adjust the questions/style to meet your needs..
Begin by carving out 2 hours of uninterrupted time to really dive in (proactively plan this with anyone you share your home/space with – so they know this is time set aside for your selfceare). Set up a space so that it feels inviting/calming (thinking of the senses – music, aromas, props, flowers, etc).
Pick a Quote or Intention:
I’m a big fan of having a focus you can return to throughout your retreat (as well as the days to follow); when you’re feeling distracted or unsettled. I often search quotes from Rilke, Marie Oliver, and Pema Chodron (to name just a few).
Begin by taking a moment of stillness – at least 5 deep inhales/exhales. Find a comfortable position (sitting, or even laying on your back), and kick off a 5-15 minute meditation (note: feel free to use a meditation app or timer on your phone).
- Following the meditation, move into a few slow, deliberate stretches or yoga poses for about 10-15 mins – keeping focus on the breath, slowing the the thoughts (if your thoughts feel more chattery, become a curious observer of what narrative/story line you’re playing).
- Find stillness and focus on the breath – 5mins
- Journaling theme: a vision for yourself ~
- Who are some of my mentors?
- How do I define success?
- Where do I want to grow my career/life/relationship (pick one) in 3-5 years?
- What about this growth aligns with me?
– Creating contentment/a sense of groundedness:
- Chose a couple restorative yoga poses or lay on your back with one hand on the belly, one hand on the heart (if you want to make this a heart opener, roll a towel or blanket up and place it so it rolls along the length of your spine)
- Focus on breath/coming back to the present
- End with a couple slower moving stretches or yoga poses
- Journal about visiting for the nurturing part of yourself:
- Who, in my life, invokes a sense of love/care when I am around them?
- What are the parts of me that are soft/nurturing?
- How do I want to grow in this way?
- If I think of my life in the next 3-5 years what are some of the softer elements of ease/sweetness/nurture I want to build into my life/career/relationship
- What does that look like? Who do these questions inform my current life question/transition?
– End the practice with some form of gratitude/self acceptance meditation (exp., a seated meditation hands on the heart – breath in thinking about acceptance, exhale beginning to soften around any self judgement).
PS – If you have time, end this practice with a quiet walk outside… (Enjoy:)