Travel Tuesdays: Top 10 Reasons Why You (Yes, YOU!) Should Go on a Retreat

Today features children's book author and freelance writer, Julie Hedlund

For years I have taken at least a few days to myself – all by myself – to rest, rejuvenate, and rekindle my spirit. I started before my kids were born, and I continue the tradition to this day.

Why?

If I am always with others, I find it difficult to prevent myself from experiencing and interacting with the world solely through their eyes.  When I am alone, I can ask, "What do I see in this moment?  What is in my heart?  What am I meant to give to the world?  Where is my power?"

Second, I guarantee I am a much better mother as a result of the time away.  I am teaching my children that part of loving and respecting yourself requires being with yourself. Kids need to learn the importance of self-nurture before they reach adulthood.  Also, I think it's a good thing for kids (or spouses, partners, friends) to understand that we all have inner lives that, while connected to theirs, are also separate and deserving of respect.  

How?

I just pick the time, the place and make it happen. Simple as that. You don’t have to go to an ashram in India or hike the Appalachian Trail. Maybe a weekend in a cabin or a single night a local B & B will do the trick. Just get away from your routine, your environment, your responsibilities and yes, your family.

Here are my Top Ten reasons why:

  1. Time for yourself is not a luxury; it is a necessity. If we don't take care, respect and nurture ourselves, how do we expect to do so day and in day out for others?
  2. As I said, you will be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, or whatever other labels you go by, if you give yourself the gift of time.
  3. Life is short. What are the things you really want to do or the places you want to go just for yourself? Nobody is going to “give” you the time, so you’ll have to take it.
  4. You will get stronger. It is difficult to challenge yourself in your safe, tucked-away world at home. We are often plagued by self-doubt. Taking risks by traveling alone will quickly eradicate any conceptions you might have that you “cannot do it alone.”
  5. Discover what silence sounds like.
  6. In that silence, learn to listen to yourself.
  7. Be the star of your own life. This is your time to be a diva. Want chocolate for breakfast? Want to sleep in the afternoon and stay awake all night? Want to have your cards read and then go dancing? This is your adventure. You choose.
  8. Meet new people. Yes, you are alone, but that will not prevent you from meeting people – people you probably wouldn’t have met if you were traveling with others. Pretend each person you meet is carrying an important message for you, because s/he probably is.
  9. Expand your horizons. Always wanted to be a writer a painter, or a photographer? Want to take up yoga or explore meditation? Want to do a rim to rim hike in the Grand Canyon? Try a themed retreat – one aimed at making those dreams become reality.
  10. Return home refreshed, renewed, and ready to help others. How sweet your family, friends and home will be after you have spent some time away!

Julie Hedlund is a Picture Book author and Freelance Writer. She is so passionate about the need for women to take retreats, she’s fulfilling a lifelong dream by running one of her own – the first annual Writer’s Renaissance retreat in Florence, Italy in April, 2013.

Julie’s book, A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS, will be released as an interactive storybook app for the iPad in January, 2013 by Little Bahalia Publishing. Julie is the founder and host of the 12 x 12 in 2012 picture book writing challenge, and a monthly contributor on Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast on children’s literature. Her blog, website, and all social media coordinates can be found at http://www.juliehedlund.com.