Love my family, but sometimes, I just feel completely overwhelmed and the only way to catch up and recharge is by taking a micro retreat. Running a business while parenting three boys is an immense amount of work, and I appreciate my supportive husband so much because he gets it, and he gets me.
So, when I reach the point of needing to get away just for one night, he’ll take charge of the house and the boys, and mama is off to a quiet place nearby. Now that I’ve done it a couple times, I know how effective they are for my mental and spiritual health.
What is my version of a micro work retreat? It’s one night away, at someone’s home (like an Airbnb) not far from home (to minimize driving time and maximize working time). I did it once with someone, and once alone.
Here are the top five benefits, with real examples from my last micro retreat in Port Hope, ON.
- Increased productivity: Being away from distractions and interruptions allows you to concentrate fully on your work tasks. I went on my micro retreat with one big work goal: to design the inner pages of the 2024 planner. I achieved that goal. Had I stayed at home, there was no way I could have done it, because kids, chores, and guilt would have gotten in the way.
- Enhanced creativity and problem-solving: Solitude and time allows you to think differently and be creative. When at home, it feels like I’m in constant reactive mode and focused on getting things on my to-do list done and checked off. When I was alone in my Airbnb coach house, I was able to free myself of that pressure and turn on my creativity to reevaluate my 2024 planner and come up with a new design that I think will make it a better product for my customers.
- Clarity and goal setting: A retreat provides an opportunity to step back, evaluate goals, and gain clarity on priorities. You know that feeling where you have so much going on, but you feel totally disorganized and fearful that you’re missing appointments and dropping the ball everywhere? That was me. The first evening of my retreat was my dedicated time to sit down and look at my work calendar, my family schedule and upcoming events that were still in my head, and consolidated them into one. Seeing it all in one place truly helped me to feel organized AND prepared for all of the upcoming deadlines and family activities. It was a huge mental weight lifted off, and I felt so relieved and in control after that.
- Self-care and well-being: A solo getaway is a chance to treat yourself, and that is GREAT for self-care and well-being. I explored the small town of Port Hope and found myself a cute coffee shop to do some work before checking in, went out for a nice dinner by myself the first evening, and had a delicious lunch before driving home on the second day. For me, self-love was also staying up to 3 am working, without feeling an ounce of guilt! Hey, I had to get that planner done – and accomplishing that was super rewarding.
- Personal and professional growth: The solitude of a solo micro retreat allows for self-reflection, self-discovery, and personal development. It provides an opportunity to learn new skills, explore interests, and set intentions for personal and professional growth. For me, I discovered that I had a very hard time deciding to go alone. I was so tempted to call a sister or my best friend to join me. I think in my mind, I feel that even though it’s for work, it’s also fun, and I love to have a companion when having fun. However, I knew I needed to be alone, and resisted all my temptations to call up a gal. In the end, I was on my own, and it was so refreshing and necessary. I have the awareness now of fearing to be alone, and it’s something I’ll continue to work on.
The coach house that I rented was perfect. It had everything a person could possibly need for a short stay, and it was beautifully decorated. I felt almost giddy choosing which room to sleep in and jumping into the plushy bed, knowing that I was going to sleep alone and sleep in.
Don’t get me wrong – getting away for a night is not my excuse to run away from my noisy family and parental responsibilities. It’s just my way to get things done and treat myself. If my cup is not full, it’s not sustainable to keeping filling the cup of others. This is also something I have learned along this mom-preneurial journey.
Can’t afford to do a night away? Try a work date with someone – that can also be effective if you stick to one or two smaller priorities for that day. It’s an inexpensive and refreshing thing to do, and also great for productivity and rejuvenation.
Have I convinced you? If so, take out your planner, and pencil in a day for your first (or next) micro retreat or work date.