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Embarking on a Retreat: A Journey Within

Updated: Feb 6

I was chatting with a lady that I’d met many times at a networking event the other day, and asked her if she had ever been on a retreat.


She replied that she hadn’t and she didn’t really even understand what a retreat was. I was a little taken aback. I had presumed that everyone knew and understood why people attended retreats but I realised that this is possibly not the case. 


Some might have formed a pre-existing notion about retreats from books/shows they might have seen like ‘9 Perfect Strangers’ and others might presume that retreats are too ‘woo woo’ for them or don’t like the idea of sharing time away with people they don’t know or having to open themselves up and be vulnerable.


But the fact of the matter is that each retreat is a unique journey. A journey that is a moment in time that is experienced simultaneously by the guests who come together for a whole host of different reasons. A retreat has a particular flow to it and always leads to some kind of growth, learning or transformation. Most people leave a retreat feeling like a better or upgraded version of themselves. 


But the journey is just as important as the outcome - from the minute you make up your mind that something in your life needs to change, to finding the perfect retreat for you, to attending the retreat and discovering more about yourself, to incorporating what you have learned into your life beyond the retreat.


A retreat goes beyond just a physical journey. It is a journey of mind, body and spirit!



THE CALL TO RETREAT


There are many reasons why people feel the need to retreat. It could be to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, to find clarity, or to reconnect with oneself. We’ve had an array of women attending our retreats for a variety of different personal reasons.


But what they often have in common is that they are exhausted and finding it hard to balance all the varying demands in their lives. Women are generally juggling so many balls and the mental load can be vast which can lead to physical symptoms and deteriorating mental health. Others have reached a point in their lives where they just know that something has to change - that they can’t keep up with the relentless demands that others make on them. Some have forgotten who they truly are, and where their passions lie. Some are lonely and longing for connection with like-minded women. Many just want to relax, let their hair down, have a few laughs, and reconnect with their inner child and free spirit. 


PLANNING YOUR JOURNEY


If you identify with the women above and feel that getting away on a retreat would be helpful,  you need to find the right one for you! You might be looking for a specific retreat to suit your interests eg a meditation retreat, yoga retreat or nature retreat. Or you might be looking for a general wellness or health retreat. Some retreats are just for women or men and some are mixed. You would need to decide whether you want to attend the retreat domestically or internationally and whether you want to go on your own or with a friend/partner.


Once you have a basic idea of what you are looking for, a good place to start your search would be on Google! Alternatively you might want to pop onto a website like Retreat Me Happy which lists both Australian and international retreats. There are also a number of Facebook groups which list retreats both domestically and overseas. 


At the end of the day, It’s important to choose a retreat that aligns with your personal goals and values and that you feel excited about attending! 


THE ARRIVAL


You will have most likely booked into your retreat well ahead of time but wish that you were heading there tomorrow! As the clock ticks down to the retreat start date, you might find yourself feeling both excited and nervous. Aside from the practical logistics of what to pack and how to get to your destination, there is the anticipation of all the unknowns including being in a new environment, meeting new people, stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning new things about yourself. 


Professional retreat facilitators should make you feel welcome and at ease from the moment you arrive at your retreat - making sure you know all the practicalities as well as what to expect on the retreat and how to get the most out of it.


IMMERSION INTO THE EXPERIENCE


Every retreat is different. Some have a very rigid timetable where you are expected to participate in all activities scheduled. Others are more relaxed and give you the option of exploring the various activities and experiences offered during the retreat. Some retreats focus on physical exercise and diet whilst others focus on spirituality and emotional healing. There are some retreats that specialise in a particular problem or issue eg Divorce or Menopause and others that are more business related or creative in their focus. Some retreats are all about being social, connected and exploring new friendships and others are about silence, meditation and turning inwards. Some retreats offer wine and coffee whilst other retreats offer a detox experience with no alcohol and a special diet. 


The most important thing to remember is that you chose this retreat for a reason. Something about what was being offered called to you and although there may be some initial discomfort, it is best to open yourself up wholeheartedly to the experience and fully immerse yourself in the program. 


CHALLENGES & REFLECTIONS


Any journey, even a retreat, comes with its own set of challenges. You might be so exhausted that you think you will just collapse on the retreat, but then have problems getting to sleep or getting a good nights’ sleep. This is often a result of being in a different environment, finally switching off from your normal life and letting emotions and feelings that you may have been suppressing finally rise to the surface. There might be times on the retreat when you feel tearful or emotional. Again, this is a good thing. It means that issues that may be bothering you are coming to light and you have an opportunity to face them head on and finally heal. A talented retreat facilitator should be there for you to hold space and help you navigate any challenging feelings or emotions that come up for you during the retreat.


THE TRANSFORMATION


An excellent retreat should be designed to take you on a journey that ultimately leaves you changed or transformed in some way. You should leave the retreat feeling like an upgraded version of yourself! This outcome is a perfect blend of both the design of the retreat and your participation in it.


The biggest transformations happen as a result of fully immersing yourself in the retreat program, becoming authentic and vulnerable with the other guests, taking on board new information, tools, tips and strategies  and therefore experiencing a shift in your mindset, behaviour and perspective. 



RETURNING HOME


Retreat participants are often worried about returning home at the end of the retreat. Sometimes they are so relaxed and refreshed that they wish they could stay forever! However, the idea is to carry what you have experienced and the strategies you have learnt back into your everyday life - so that you can be less stressed, more adaptive, more resilient and more capable at dealing with the challenges that life throws at you. Some guests suffer from ‘post retreat’ blues but this tends not to last too long and you should feel the positive effects of your retreat for some time to come. 


CONCLUSION


Going on a retreat isn’t just a ‘set and forget’ situation. It's just one journey of many that we will go through during our lives. The benefits are felt both on the retreat and after the retreat as we discover more about ourselves and what we need for our personal growth and wellbeing and how to live our best lives. 


People who regularly attend retreats often describe feeling absolutely amazing for weeks or even months after the retreat. However, it is possible to fall back into old ways and habits as the stresses and challenges of ‘real’ life take hold again. 


The important thing is to be aware and to take action if you feel yourself slipping at all. Seek support, recommit to healthy habits and routines and start planning your next retreat!


Many people who attend their first retreat can’t believe what they have been missing out on and make a commitment to attending retreats as regularly as they can! It's not a question of if - but what, where and when!


METREAT RETREATS



MeTreat Retreats offer award winning women’s wellness retreats in Victoria, Australia and internationally. Designed especially for the modern woman, our retreats offer a perfect blend of relaxation, fun and self-discovery. We’ve crafted a sanctuary where you can reset, recharge and rekindle your spark.


With expert-led activities and a focus on genuine self-care, think of it as your personal pit stop in the fast lane of life. Dive into a cocktail of laughter, fun, and oh-so-deserving pampering. Our team is here to ensure your journey is both enriching and enjoyable. This isn’t just another retreat; it’s a rejuvenating journey where genuine self-care meets exhilarating fun!


We can't wait for the opportunity to nurture and pamper you, uplift you, re-energise you and immerse you in lots of opportunities to laugh and have fun in 2024!


Inspire ME’ Retreat 

14-17 March 2024

4 Days, 3 Nights at Continental House, Hepburn




Enrich ME’ Bali Retreat  

20 - 26 May 2024

7 Days, 6 Nights at Being Sattvaa, Ubud, Bali




Nourish ME’ Retreat 

8 - 11 August 2024 (New dates)

4 Days, 3 Nights at Continental House, Hepburn





















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