Ambition and hard work definitely have their place in building a career…but so do contemplation and rest. If you’ve been pushing, pushing, pushing, it may be time for you to plan a little time for reflection. And, at the very least, time to ensure you don’t burnout.
Burnout comes from burning through all of your available mental (and, sometimes physical and emotional resources). You’ve pushed as hard and as far as you can push.
One of the best recommendations I have for avoiding burnout in both career and in life, in general, is to take a weekend solo retreat. You go off by yourself for a weekend, Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, and just spend some time alone by yourself reflecting and relaxing.
You don’t need a schedule or a plan–and, in fact, you might even have a better experience without one. What you do need to is to stick to the following:
- Go somewhere you’ve never been before; unfamiliar surroundings encourage a fresh mind
- Stay for two nights; one isn’t enough
- Read whatever you want (in print) but don’t watch any television or go online
- Treat yourself to a dinner out one night (by yourself), but stay in the other night
- Bring notepads for taking notes of revelations or ideas you happen to have—but don’t pressure yourself to have any
- Spend a little time thinking about a few questions like, “What’s going well in my life?” “What’s not going well?” and “How could I change that?” (among other deep-thinking prompts)
- Interact with other people as little as possible (in person, via text, and via phone—in fact, if possible, leave your phone off all weekend)
You could stay in a hotel or a bed and breakfast; either one is fine as long as you can spend time by yourself without being disturbed.
The first night, it’s very likely that you’ll think this whole thing is stupid and regret spending money to go away somewhere on your own when you have plenty of other ways to spend that money and plenty of things you could have gotten done that weekend.
But by the second night, all of that noise in your head starts to calm down and you start to reconnect with yourself in a deep and important way. You get insight into yourself, your choices, and your life and, by Sunday, you leave with a fresh perspective and a renewed vigor—along with (maybe) some ideas or plans for what you do and don’t want to do moving forward.
For some people, getting a weekend away will be tricky: there are kids, there are commitments, there are expenses. For others, the idea of spending an entire weekend alone is awful.
But the benefits of a solo retreat are completely worth making the effort to make it happen—and playing by the rules. You won’t get the same benefits if you go with someone else, if you cut it short, if you try to do it at your own home or another place you’re familiar with, or if you want some TV. The rules can be a little tough, but that’s part of the point.
Getting some time with the quiet, deeper voice inside of you takes a little bit of effort, but it’s well worth it. You’ll leave feeling reinvigorated, inspired, and ready dive into your next project.
Your turn! Have you ever taken a solo retreat? Or are you inspired to take one now? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on November 15, 2022