Another New Year has arrived, and with it those promises to self of this year being the year you tackle unwanted habits, health issues, your job, your relationship… An article published in Thrive Global recently suggested that the key to making resolutions that stick is self-awareness and being aligned with what you really want. Makes sense, who doesn’t want to feel aligned? However, the lasting change we seek can be incredibly hard as our culture and lifestyles make it virtually impossible to separate our “wants” from the “shoulds”.
Every day our minds are assaulted with marketing messages from social media, TV, radio, posters. The promise of that better you, achievable if you only buy that new outfit, get a new car, join the gym, get plastic surgery… we’re constantly plugged in to a digital world of judgement and choice. It’s no wonder we struggle to connect with ourselves and our own wants and needs when the media machine just wants us to feel bad so we can buy more and instantly feel happy. It doesn’t work, at least not in the long term.
So, what does it mean to ‘retreat’ and why is it important to our health and wellbeing?
There are many dictionary definitions, but these struck a chord with me:
“To go away from a place or person in order to escape from fighting or danger”
“To go to a quiet safe place in order to avoid a difficult situation”
“To save yourself, you sometimes need to retreat from the world”
“A retreat is a quiet, isolated place that you go to in order to rest or to do things in private”
As I was reading these I related to how we live in today’s world, many of us in a constant state of fight or flight, fighting imaginary battles in our minds, looking for refuge in distractions such as work, social media, shopping, eating. Struggling with the overwhelming array of choices and decisions. And it’s having a profound effect on our ability to think and act in ways which align with our inner wants and needs.
So, am I suggesting that retreating is all about escaping and not facing up to your challenges? Not at all, in fact it depends how you frame it. Let’s look at it another way….
“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction”.
Douglas McArthur, American General.
So how do you know when you are disconnected from yourself and need to ‘retreat’ from your life and find your new direction? Here are 5 signs.
1. You’re tired and overwhelmed
You feel constantly anxious and exhausted. Your health is getting you down, and you’re suffering with unexplained headaches or a lack of sleep. Maybe you feel over emotional and tearful, frustrated you can’t seem to make decisions or quiet that inner critic.
2. You’ve lost your way
We all need a sense of purpose to feel fulfilled, and sometimes it can feel as if you are going in the wrong direction. Maybe your life looks OK on the outside, but on the inside you feel lost or confused. Everything just feels a little off, like only part of you is showing up on auto pilot and the other part is confused and wandering around aimlessly.
3. You’re stuck in a rut
Life is just, well, dull. Our minds love routine and habit – it means we can sail through each day without too much thought and effort. But some of those routines and habits are stopping us achieving what we really want and keeping us stuck in the past. But you don’t want that for you anymore. You want more for yourself.
4. You’ve had a major transition in your life
A change in circumstance has forced you to re-evaluate your life and make some decisions and changes that you never imagined you’d be faced with. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one, a job, or a relationship. You don’t know how to re-build your life or which direction to go in.
5. You can’t switch off
It doesn’t matter how much you try to relax, you just can’t stop thinking about what you didn’t do, what you should do. You analyse everything questioning the rights and wrongs of your choices and actions. There’s always something to do, usually something more important, or more urgent. You just don’t have time to switch off.
I’ve personally experienced all these 5 signs and learned the true value of taking time out to listen to my body and mind and re-connect with myself. I discovered why I was unhappy. I addressed some deeply held beliefs that were holding me back. I made some difficult decisions during a very challenging time in my life which meant I could let go and move forward in a new direction. And I now get to live my dream by running a business that helps people transform their lives for the better. Now I’m not saying my journey is an easy one. It’s not. But it’s much easier to go inward and emerge with clarity with the right space, guidance and support.
My ambition has always been to run a retreat for women who are walking a similar path so I can share my experiences and use my skills as a coach and therapist to help them move their life forward in the direction they want. So, if you can relate to these 5 signs and want to make permanent and lasting change, a retreat could be just what you need.
In a 2017 study on the benefits of wellness retreats published in the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, researchers found after a one-week holistic, residential retreat, participants showed substantial improvement in their psychological and physical health. These benefits were shown to continue weeks after they returned home. Having some time away from your usual routines and commitments without any distractions, can be transformational. Understandably wellbeing retreats are becoming increasingly popular.
So why not make a commitment to yourself that 2020 will be your year for change and personal growth. Join me, my team and 6 like-minded women for a transformational retreat in Spain.
In just 7 days you'll make a shift in how you think and feel that will last a lifetime. As well as experiencing precious downtime, you’ll work with your subconscious mind to create positive change at your very core. Return home feeling more connected to yourself and your purpose, with clarity on your goals for 2020 and the tools and confidence to achieve them. Feeling refreshed, re-energised and with a renewed sense of focus and self-belief.