This season, faced with shelter-in-place mandates, we are spending more time in our homes than ever before. This new reality has presented challenges—especially for those who are living in cramped quarters, juggling caretaking duties, or lacking access to open space. Yet folks are finding ways to treasure this unexpected hearthside time, embracing the opportunity to delve deep within and shift their life’s perspective.
None of us signed up for this home retreat—but perhaps it’s ours for the taking. How might we turn the confines of quarantine into a nourishing home environment?
We at iRest Institute encourage you to experiment with making your time at home as nurturing as possible, whatever your circumstances might be. Maybe your “retreat” can only happen for half an hour each day before the kids wake up. That’s plenty! iRest Institute founder Richard Miller is often quoted as saying that it’s the practices we implement “little and often” that most profoundly transform our lives.
Ready for your home retreat? Here’s how to get started:
Set a heartfelt intention.
What would you like to gain from your home retreat? Write an intention in your journal or on a sticky note on the fridge. Examples might include:
- Reconnect with your authentic self.
- Ease anxiety about your finances.
- Speak more lovingly to your partner or children.
- Eat more mindfully.
- Cultivate steady presence during a transitional time.
Make a schedule and stick to it.
How much time can you realistically expect to devote to your retreat? Whether you try for an hour, a day, or a week, set an achievable goal—then honor it. This is your time.
Clear a sacred space.
Whether a cushion on the floor or an entire room, designate a space where you can feel comfortable during your retreat. Gather items that help create a supportive environment—favorite books of devotion, a cozy shawl, and a few candles.
Now that you have set aside time and space for your retreat, take measures to prevent interruptions. For some folks, this will be easier than for others--but give it your best shot!
- Tell family members or housemates that you are occupied.
- Put an “away” response on your email
- Consider using earplugs or a white noise machine.
- Plan and prepare meals in advance.
Structure your experience.
Consider beginning with a theme, such as trust, forgiveness, or uncertainty. With that theme as a starting point, include any of the following components in your schedule:
- iRest meditation
- Walking meditation
- Devotional readings
- Creative play
- Recorded talks and teachings
Retreat with friends.
Whether solo or in good company, a retreat is a worthwhile experience. The value of sharing the experience cannot be underestimated, though. Other people can help you process your experience, enhance your insight, and hold you accountable. Consider getting a buddy to retreat with you (even virtually), then compare notes.
Want an instant retreat community? Join us at iRest for one of the following opportunities:
- iRest Weekly Sangha Sessions (Free)