I Need Your Suggestions! What Would You Do on a Personal Retreat?

I Need Your Suggestions! What Would You Do on a Personal Retreat?

Written by Emilie

Topics: Self-Care

Hey multipod friends!

I made a video for you today (with help from Gorse).

Sorry about the phone noises in the middle. I was going to re-record the video but then I thought, why edit reality? Those noises just help illustrate how badly I need to unplug…

Here are the blog posts I referenced:

Your Turn

How do you recover after a big project or rough season in your life? Got any self-care practices to recommend for my personal retreat? Thanks in advance! You guys are the best.

xo Emilie

Emilie Wapnick is the founder and creative director at Puttylike and The Puttytribe, where she helps multipotentialites build lives and careers around ALL their interests. Unable to settle on one path herself, Emilie studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University. She is the author of the award-winning book, How to Be Everything (HarperCollins), and her TED talk has been viewed 5 million times. Learn more about Emilie here.

75 Comments

  1. Jesse says:

    I try to take the time as often as possible to go for Forest walks, and little micro Adventures. They help me reset and focus again. That’s Forest medicine at its best.

    • Tom Franov says:

      I was just thinking the same thing. Small and frequent mini-adventures in nature or forests work wonders to reset and refresh. I love the Japanese forest bathing concept too.

  2. Shun says:

    Not sure have you read a book called “How to think like Leonardo Da Vinci”, there are so many exercises and fun things you could try that suggest in that book. If I am stressful, I would draw stuff or just write down things that bothers me.

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi Emilie!
    In one of my many multipotentialite facets, I’m what I call a Zen Art Instructor. What is that? Well, it’s sort of a relaxing, no pressure, meditative, art play class designed to help people relax, unwind, de-stress. I created this class because this is something I found that balanced me in the midst of my busy and extremely varied life. If you’d like to learn more contact me. I’d be happy to share a few super quick, easy exercises with you, that you can do any time, anywhere. All you need is an art journal (or just some paper) and a pencil… if you want really get into it, maybe some colored pencils.
    Good luck with your retreat!

  4. Jason Centers says:

    Hey Emilie!!

    I wanted to throw a few ideas out there to help you out possibly. As I was watching your cool video, I had several ideas come to mind that are both creative and allows for mental reflection and recharge:

    1. Painting – maybe watercolor or oil based. You could go realistic or abstract, depending on your talent/skill level. If you’ve never painted, even better…dive in!! 2. Write a song, record it and upload it to iTunes (this would be my choice). :-D 3. Build something out of wood (a bird House is a great go-to starting point) and paint it something crazy looking :)

    Are you seeing somewhat of a theme? For me, if I were in your shoes, I would be looking to do something that’s mentally recharging and medicinal to some degree. Anything creative, especially something new to me, would be a recharge for me. I guess that’s why I am a multi potential li are you seeing somewhat of a theme? For me, if I were in your shoes, I would be looking to do something that’s mentally recharging and medicinal to some degree. Anything creative, especially something I’ve never done before, would be a recharge for me. I guess that’s why I am a multipotentialite! :-D

  5. Do?a says:

    I humbly suggest not to fall into the “Okay, I have 3 days and I’m gonna relax instantly. So, calmness and peaces, come to me right now!” pit. According to my experience if you aim it as if it was a project, it won’t happen. That is why do not rush things. I’m a fan of silent retreats and if that’s your cup of coffee you might wanna give that a try. I attended a few silent retreats where we were a crowded bunch but no communication was allowed. That is, no internet, no phone, no books/magazines/newspapers, no talking (not even small talk or “thank you”s, “hello”s), no usage of sign language… Collective singing was allowed in the evenings. Oh and there was a lot of meditation and long walks out in nature.

    Anyway, the aim here is to free oneself from all the social “burdens” and responsibilities, so the mind can take a break and you can get a clear glimpse to your own mind. It can be difficult, though always very awarding in the end. You could arrange something similar maybe. Letting your relatives and loved ones know that you’ll be out of reach for a few days, turning of that phone, computer, tablet and enjoying nature -if possible-… It can be a massage for your brain :)

  6. Traci says:

    Hi Emilie, For me to truley ‘unplug’ I need to be in nature. If I can swim in a body of natural water, all the better. I love giving myself some forest therapy, long meandering walks, touching the dirt, talking to trees, letting my brain clear and start communing with the environment around me, seeing how many different sounds I can hear and just feeling my wildness bubble back up to the surface. Take care, enjoy some peace friend.

  7. Caroline says:

    On a personal retreat I would catch up on reading literature: I just don’t get round to it when in busy creative spells.
    I would spend more time preparing meals instead of cooking up quick-yet-healthy stuff.
    I’d spend more time in nature. I’d have lengthier yoga practices and longer daily walks.
    I’d spend more time socialising: when I’m in busy mode I don’t like my flow broken with chatting (I’m working on it!).

    xxx

    • Susan says:

      Great response, Caroline! Almost exactly what I had in mind as I was listening to Emilie’s video. The other thing I would add, and this is a subset of “socializing,” would be to reach out to friends you haven’t connected with in a long time. Friends from childhood or graduate school. People whose company you really enjoyed, but with whom you have lost touch. I find reconnecting in that way to be extremely satisfying.

      My own version of a personal retreat involves traveling to spend time with old friends–one is in California and the other is in Maine, and I try to see each of them for a week once a year. It’s the most relaxing thing I do for myself.

  8. Coralie R. says:

    Hello,

    Your video reminds me that I really and definitely needs some retreat myself!
    Anyway, you’ve already mentionned walking in (beautiful) nature and
    meditation…
    Maybe because you have already some music background, doing body percussions might be fun and relaxing because there is no producing or mastering just engaging your body and getting into the rythm of the moment…
    Of course, massaging is often mentionned because it is a great tension reliever. Yoga goes with it…
    And light and amazing tasting food is nourrishing your soul, your energy and your taste buds…

    But I have to say, Emilie, it is something that is so personal…
    Unplugging is actually plugging in deep on oneself for me : you unplug from the stuff that get you disconnected from yourself to get plugged in to what your mind body and soul need. And I really think it is something very personal.
    That is actually something I get excited about: loking at how people have their own way of re-connected to themselves…
    So that they can feel connected to their environment and others…

    I forgot one thing: maybe the important unplugging is for the negatives we keep on telling ourselves and reconnecting to the present time is a great way to do that (a lovely story “The present” by Spencer Johnson reminds me that when I lose track…)

    Anyway, enjoy your retreat Emilie…

    Take care.

    Coralie (from France)

  9. Kisha White says:

    Emilie, let me give you a word of advise. All too often the reason many of us push and drive ourselves into projects that are work-related/passion-fueled is to escape some harsh reality around us. We reach for the familiar because it’s easier for us to cope. No thoughts of hurt. No thoughts of regrets. Got to keep going. Got to step over and mask anything that doesn’t appear to be productive. Must propel forward. I personally lived like this for years until I hit the brick wall. I found that I hadn’t learned how to process pain, hurt or grief. I didn’t learn how to cope.
    Therapy has helped a lot. Slowing down and recognizing when I’m doing too much has been a deliberate goal. Signs that things are getting out of hand: brain fog, inability to sleep at night, starting new endeavors but not completing, lack of interest in social engagement.
    I applaude you for recognizing that you need a break. Whatever it takes for you to get out of your head and depart from your usual way of thinking if only for a little while is key. Focusing solely on yourself is monumental. What lessons have you learned? How have you changed or grown?
    Yes, Emilie, binge on Netflix, start a new journal, read, read, read, cry, meditate, workout, hike and say no to those who would demand your time or energy if only for a little while.

    • Aída Domínguez says:

      What a great piece of advice. I would also add reconnecting to your younger self and doing what sometimes as adults we consider silly but could be really fun.
      I follow your posts from Mexico and wish you the best in this recovery period.

  10. Marc says:

    There’s a lot to be said for doing nothing. Of course, we’re not actually doing nothing, but we’re doing a lot less. I think it helps to remove yourself from your environment, and take time to just be.

    If you don’t have time to get away, I’ve found meditation works for me, though you have to do it properly. Try an app called Calm. (I don’t work for them) or if meditation’s not your thing, just daydream for 20 minutes.

    Also, since you’re a musician, pick up your instrument, and just play! Write a song if you want, but don’t have any set goals to accomplish.

    There’s a lot to be accomplished in doing nothing.

  11. Sarah Keast says:

    Hi Emilie, I love my yoga. I like the discipline of the practice (even though I am totes hopeless). I like to experiment with a new recipe, watch a favourite movie (Amelie is my go to) and take a really long walk with Zed my dog and his favourite ball.
    Pretty simple stuff. :-)

  12. Rafa says:

    Well… If you can afford to do this, go camping for a week! Nothing more energizing than spending time in nature! :) This usually beats any 5-star hotel.

  13. Livia says:

    This is a very personal question, as each one of us has very specific tastes and ideas of what relaxing means, but I’ll tell you what works for me and hope it can be useful for others.
    First of all I am totally obsessed with sunsets. When I feel like I need to reconnect with the world I just go in a place where I can have a clear view of the sunset, possibly with a glass of white wine. Even better if I can cycle or walk there whilst listening to my favourite music. Taking the time to observe the sun slowly following its pace makes me really reconsider the amount of stress that we put into having to rush through our tasks at top speed. If you live somewhere where the weather sucks this point could not be very useful, but you could put it on your wishlist for better days :)
    Second, during periods in which I work full time on a project I tend to lose touch with friends and relatives, so once I am free I like to spend some time doing something for or with them to thank them for their love and support. Inviting them for dinner and cooking for them, writing them a card, doing an activity with them, bying them a book, or even simply calling to check how they are doing, this depends from the person.
    Another thing that really helps me get ready for a new start is to get rid of objects clothes and documents that I don’t need any more. I kind of force myself to give away to charity objects and clothes that I haven’t used for a while, and to throw away or to archive documents that I no longer need. I find it really liberatory and feel so good once I’ve finished. I am a very messy person so this sense of tidiness usually doesn’t last long, but it’s very useful when I need a fresh start.

  14. Annie Sisson says:

    I really enjoy solo travel as a way to really reset. For me, that typically looks like a morning meditation, coffee, and a good book in a cafe to start. Most days will be spent just wandering through a new place, city or nature, being as present as possible in each moment. I find that simply being completely out of my typical routines and environment lets my mind clear and gives me new perspective. It usually provides some inspiration too and I come home feeling completely refreshed! I would recommend at least two weeks so you really have time to unplug.

    If you can’t get away, just let yourself have a few days with absolutely no agenda. Sleep, take a walk, etc.

    Good luck! :)

  15. Veda says:

    Essential oil and epsom salt baths. 40 minutes is about the time you need to let the bad toxins out and the calcium and magnesium soak in. 20 minutes for each. One a day for a week if you feel it’s beneficial. Peppermint is good for muscle aches, lavender for calming, eucalyptus also for muscles and sinuses.

  16. Kimberly Eagleson says:

    Great idea to take a retreat! If you weren’t in “puppy mode” right now, I’d suggest traveling somewhere that you haven’t visited yet. That is my preferred way of retreating. But the other thing I LOVE to do, and I realize this isn’t for everyone, but I LOVE to paint a room and situate the furniture into a different configuration. For me, it completely rejuvenates my mind emotionally and re-energizes me physically. I know, it might sound ridiculous, but for me it works! Also, it has the added benefit of long-term help because I can see my handiwork and remember the feelings of creativity and then the elation of completing the work. When I feel burnt out again, I sit in that “new” room and all those really good feelings return and I’m once again, rejuvenated. There’s my two cents’ worth! Enjoy!

  17. Matt says:

    I did this just recently… four days off near the beach, with limited phone reception. Reading. Writing. Listening to podcasts. Walking the beach, the rocks, and surrounding suburb. Great to unwind, but I left with more questions than answers…

  18. Anna says:

    Re-starting a new project is what really works for me.
    But knocking the door of selfish powerful people is the best way to make me feel part of this sick world.

  19. Julie says:

    My sister is doing a six day silent retreat (hosted, if that’s the right word, by the Ignatians). You do it alone but meet with a spiritual director every day and talk. That sounds like a great (and challenging) way to hit the reset button… worth looking into even if you’re not particularly theistic or spiritual… it might still be a good match because the Ignatians are a fairly pragmatic bunch.

  20. Anna says:

    Any suggestions/advice is welcome.
    My private email is
    ana9@libero.it

    Thank you ever so much.

    Regards, Anna Lo Iacono

  21. Jari says:

    One of the most rejuvenating things I’ve done in the past was a special personal receiving day when you are not sick, you are well. (This was an assignment several times in an emotional recovery group I belonged to for a year.) Assignment: to spend an entire 24 hours in bed. More difficult than it sounds. Select friends to bring and serve each meal to you in bed — exactly what you want to eat and visit for a short time, maybe read a short story or children’s book to you (you or they select based on your wishes), then he or she cleans up the dishes, fills your water glass, tends your puppy, then leaves. Only individual friends for a meal — no groups. It is not to be a distraction party. Don’t lift a finger except to go to the bathroom, stay in jammies all day. No bingeing on electronics, tv, food, etc. An electronics abstinence day. Maybe a bit of journaling in a notebook to record your thoughts. Soak up the love and mutual admiration of friends who tend you for the day. Also appreciate yourself for giving yourself this open and still mindspace for amazing things to enter.

  22. Natalie says:

    Emilie! Try drawing! :) ESPECIALLY if you didn’t try it or think you can’t, you may create amazing things on such a retreat!

  23. Jess says:

    Hi Emilie,

    I very much relate to Kisha’s response about how the go-go-go mindset can often be a way to avoid grappling with other, more challenging personal aspects of life. This is definitely true for me as it seems the more productive I can be, the less I have to face the big, terrifying questions like “what’s my purpose?” and “what makes me truly happy?”

    I just finished one enourmous phase of life and have something new lined up for the fall, which has left me with a big empty summer. Relaxing is not something I find easy and the idea of wasted, unproductive weeks felt miserable at first. However I keep reminding myself that I deserve a break and that this rare opportunity for time off will be a valuable chance to reconnect with myself. So, I’ve “marketed” this summer to myself as an “artist’s retreat staycation.” As simple or silly as it sounds, it helps me think of it through a positive light rather than as me sitting at home unemployed and bummed. So far I’ve been getting back in touch with friends I haven’t seen in a while, exploring museums and gardens, getting back into fitness, and making time for creative play. I’ve been experimenting with fiber arts and a wee bit of woodworking, both of which are new for me, and am hoping to do more cooking and baking. These feel like perfect activities because I’m still constantly learning and being challenged but these projects are purely for myself.

    Wishing you all the best for your upcoming retreat. And thanks for all you do – I can’t tell you how much it’s meaned to me over the past few years!!

    xx

  24. Jeff says:

    I just did a week-long personal retreat last month. Not only to unplug from work, but specifically to take up some creative projects which I wasn’t able to make long stretches of dedicated time. In the meantime, I enjoyed meeting up with some friends in that area, got up when I wanted, went to bed when I wanted, and enjoyed the complete freedom of time.

  25. Vicki says:

    If I’m having a staycation I like to go on a virtual restaurant tour of the world…pick a location, if for example I choose Venice, Italy, I check out the restaurants online in that city..maybe I choose ‘Harry’s Bar’ then go to their website, read the menu, choose what I would eat if I were there and then recreate the dish at home. It’s relaxing but keeps my mind inspired. Xx

  26. Sandrine says:

    Hi Emilie,

    How about building something with your hands, out of wood? Like a beautiful box to put the nicest emails/letters you receive from your fans/multipods?

    The idea is to start with something relatively easy that doesn’t require any fancy detail work (unless you are already really good at that). I figure something physical is a good idea for you since you’re always doing work with your mind.

    Also, working with wood is always relaxing to me… and I’m not especially gifted at it. But, I find that it requires that I focus which in turn takes my mind off things.

    Since you can’t work fast with wood if you want to do a good job and there’s always sanding involved (which is very time-consuming), it allows you to spend several days on one small project.

    The other added benefit is that you rapidly see your results.

    You can either buy a woodworking magazine to get inspired or turn to Youtube to watch how-to videos to help you along.

    There! That’s my idea.

    Take care,
    Sandrine.

  27. Becky says:

    Hey Emilie,

    Good on you for taking some time out to recharge.
    Don’t look for what time it is. Do what you want, when you want based purely on how you feel at any given moment.
    A hammock and a book you’re excited about reading.
    Defo get out in to nature.
    I love some self care, whether its a bath or a massage or both.
    Some mindfulness and meditation.
    Start a class-I love learning something new- if you can combine all of the above even better
    Do the things you love and that bring you joy. Things that perhaps don’t get your full attention when you’re in project mode.
    Indulge your inner child.
    I hear what you’re saying about Netflix but actually if its a really good film or series you’ve been looking forward to watching- treat yourself. A well written, well made film is one of my favourite things. I don’t think there’s any need to feel netflix shame, just don’t waste it on any old gibberish to pass the time (unless of course that’s what you want to do, then, go for it).
    Add self care and well being to your collection of skills, to integrate into your life daily, to learn about and improve upon like we multipods do with every other awesome skill we have in our repertoire.
    What ever you do, give yourself permission to relax, to not think about work etc. Also give yourself permission to have nothing planned, to not feel like you’ve got this window of time that you have to fill with meaningful things because you don’t want to waste it.
    Have a great time off. Look forward to hearing about it.

  28. Gabi says:

    I generally head for somewhere near nature, where I don’t have to cook, and someone else will take care of the day to day so I can sleep, rest and think or not think.

    Sitting on a rock in the woods and listening to the wind in the trees is amazingly therapeutic and healing.

  29. Emilie, I read with great interest the replies so far to your thoughtful post. I am afflicted with the same go-go-go that means every minute should be productive—-when I am not binge watching documentaries and films on NETFLIX or diving into a veritable mountain of books I have borrowed from the library.

    My first response was to get away like the train I am on to Boston. I am very inspired by the people and the sights along the way rushing past me as I stare out of the window. Canada has a over the top gorgeous, truly breathtaking train trips. Even a short jaunt may refresh your mind and open your eyes. Consider this next time. It sounds like you have something special lined up already. Do something different when you are at home on your staycation. I love working with clay. I think it is very primordial and so appeals to everyone; clay unleashes something deep and satisfying within.

    Reading is a wonderful escape to. I just discovered a classic, now in its 30th anniversary, WRITING DOWN THE BONES by Natalie Goldberg. Translated into over 14 languages it is as much about following one’s passion that releases self expression—-not necessarily writing——and uniquely connect this to a meditative practice. You might ask the tribe what are the most meangful, inspiring books they have ever read to get you off to a great start but this book is a personal favorite.

    I have also found making sure you do something new each and every day can be refreshing. It can be as simple as lolling in bed and feeling the crispness of the sheets, the song of a bird cooing outside your window and other acts of gratitude and acute awareness.

    I hope this helps!
    Elise

  30. Tiffany Y'vonne says:

    Hi Emilie- I suggest simply resting. Often in our busy society our culture is not to honor and harness rest. From my perspective, rest is productive, especially for creatives. What makes you feel rested? What helps your body to relax and loosen up? What settings allow your mind “off the treadmill” and to embrace more of that of a windy river? How do you feel nourished? Whatever emerges is a wonderful invitation to do.

  31. Kelly says:

    Forest bathing. Turn off your phone or silence it go into the forest feel all the textures reconnect with nature. Listen, see, smell, heck if you know what things are taste . . . .ONLY IF you are sure.

  32. Kelly says:

    Try something you never have food, activity, go to Michaels or Hobby Lobby find some fun craft.

  33. Rebecca says:

    Hi Emilie! First of all, thank you. I just discovered you. I am reading your How To Be Everything book as we speak. I am actually going through a weird time as well. Thankfully I too live close enough to the ocean where I can “retreat”. A few days off is not long enough to completely dissolve the weirdness. In fact, it’s possible things get even weirder after this vacation. And that’s ok. I would take the time off you have and plan nothing. Organize yourself up to that point so that your essentials are taken care of – just don’t make any plans. Wake up, express your gratitude to whoever or whatever, and ask what’s today gonna be? You’ll figure out your next move as you go.

  34. AC says:

    There are many necessary processes that our culture does not support well, and a personal retreat can be a time to focus on those. Two which interest me are dreaming and grieving.

    Dreaming can be facilitated by naps and living in a way to maintain a relaxed, comfortable, non-adrenalized state. DEEPLY relaxing, and noticing the content of our dreams (writing them or drawing them), is invaluable resource for creative work and wellbeing.

    Grieving is necessary to accept that life is a process of change and loss as well as change and growth. It’s necessary throughout life to acknowledge the losses, the failures, the setbacks, the explosions, the decays, and the dissolves. These are all real processes on every level of reality. If we are not aligned with reality, well, that’s one definition of insanity. Journaling, meditating, quiet time and time in nature can help with grief.

  35. Scott says:

    I did this myself earlier in the year. I used MOVE GB (the fitness/yoga company that allows you to use pretty much any gym, yoga class, meditation class etc.) to construct my own retreat by going to yoga and meditation every day, turned off phone, shut my facebook, didn’t look at screens at all, and told everyone I knew that I would be unreachable for 2 weeks. And just in my own flat and cooked beautiful food, read books and wrote and meditated. Was cheap and wonderful.

  36. Greg says:

    My friends and I do enjoy camping a lot. Especially since it’s now the start of Summer. You really are forced to turn your durn phone off, disconnect from electronic distractions, and just enjoy being in nature. Somehow the simple act of sitting around a campfire and cooking food can take up the morning. You’re forced to SLOW DOWN and just be in the moment a lot more. Plus- you can bring your dog!

  37. TANYA M HENDERSON says:

    Emilie,

    I would highly recommend unplugging and painting abstract art. I love to paint abstract because no one can tell you it isn’t done right. I just put colors on a canvas that make me happy. It lets you be creative without any pressure and you feel accomplished when it’s all done.

  38. Tom Franov says:

    Massage, sunbathing, swimming, hiking, meditation, hugs, music, positive affirmations, Japanese forest bathing, beach time, biking, would mellow me out and refresh. But then I would also mix it up with a few exhilarating things, to reinvigorate, and get my blood circulating, such as yelling at the top of my lungs on a mountain top for echos (beats screaming into a pillow). I am not sure if you mean you are in a single location for the retreat. Since I am also a closet thrill seeker, to refresh, I might also go to an amusement park to ride the roller coaster. A day at the race track renting a super-car for laps. Or go to Las Vegas and rent a Boss 302 Mustang, to drive out to the Hover Dam and back (there is no speed limit on the long and straight areas). Not sure this story situation applies to you, but it’s a good one: There’s a TV documentary short from the 1980’s of a frustrated teenage Olympian gymnast who reached a plateau in her training. The coach, herself a former Olympian, explained that even with full training effort, her plateau situation was normal. Then the coach said, come with me, and the coach took the girl to see her dune buggy. The coach said, get in, we’re going to the beach. The young gymnast said, I don’t get it, I need to work harder, but the coach said, no, you need a break. They got in, and before they left, the coach said, sometimes, you just need to forget about everything, and have some fun. So they drove in the convertible dune buggy to the beach, in the sun, on a hot summer day, with fun music playing. They spent the afternoon at the beach having fun. The next day it was back to the stringent training regimen. The first time back at the gymnast routine, the young gymnast immediately broke though her performance barrier, and saw immediate improvements. After only a few hours of letting the stress, tension, worry, and frustration all go from her mind and body. It’s a true story.

  39. Carola Nix says:

    I would go to visually beautiful place, my choice would be the ocean, because I like to see, hear, smell, and feel the water, and the wide open views calm my soul.
    Meditate!
    I would bring a book to read, strictly entertaining content. I would bring something to write in, and a sketchbook, I am an artist after all! I would sleep when I felt like it, eat when I felt like it and totally live in the moment!

  40. Laura says:

    Enjoy it! Last time I: took naps, slept in, ate slowly and enjoyed the view from my window, cafe, mountain. Wrote and listened to Joni Mitchell. All my best wishes – have a beautiful time.

  41. Ken Corum says:

    Hi Emilie–My usual go to when I feel that way is to read, listen to audiobooks/podcasts, or watch TED talks. It’s passive, but it doesn’t involve having to leave town to go on a retreat for several days, because it sounds like you might not be able to do that as easily. What I like about it is that I don’t have to use energy to engage with it. I can just “be” and let the message soak in and possibly change my thought processes. As others have already mentioned, it does help if you are able to be in nature while you read/watch/listen as well. At least that’s what works for me. :)

  42. Joe says:

    Hi Emilie and Gorse
    My life is a retreat,(working with endangered species.)so pay close attention lol. Turn off da phone!!!
    When that time comes to unravel the threads that tug at my sanity,
    reconnecting with nature and with the small children in my life is the only way to let go of the lists in my head.
    Play in the sand box, make mud pies,and play like no one is looking.
    Dance the tango with a stranger.
    Find a person that looks too involved in their life and give ask to give them a hug.
    The magic of being so creative is that we can afford to let go of the mundane.
    The things we remember in life are not the work achievements,its the connection we make with the random person that was there when we needed them just to listen.

  43. Barbara says:

    Just go somewhere far in the nature. Lose your computer, let your phone battery run out (that’s called freedom, my friend). Be with friends or just with the dogs, do whatever you feel like doing.

    Go hiking a little, purify your soul and mind with fresh water of the ocean or a waterfall. Even if you just get to put your feet in the water, it’s empowering! Watch something you don’t need your brain for – there’s value on quick Grace and Frankie episodes I can ensure you. Give your brain a break, it’s been through a lot.

    Sometimes I just need to laugh and not have to think. I really enjoy reconnecting with myself by disconnecting. It gives me the freshness I need to embrace the next challenge.

    Give yourself these few days to just be.

  44. Tirza says:

    The things I need is to ride a bike, paint, sing, to go on our boat on the water, or for a holiday to one of the islands. I live here so wel yes….its peacfull

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MopyNtbQ7Qg

    Greetings Tirza

  45. J Conyette says:

    Do the opppsite of what you think you should do?.

  46. Anael says:

    Dear Emilie,
    When I’ve watchted your vídeo, Jin Shin Jyutsu has come to my mind. It is a gentle, easy to learn and profound art, to help you, to know yourself, to take care of you…
    And of course, being and walking in nature, gardens, the see…letting my mind to be in silence, that always help me a lot.
    Contemplating flowers and writing are other ways that I love.
    Have a nice journey into yourself Emilie!
    With love from Spain,
    Anael

  47. Katie Anderson says:

    Good morning! It is so difficult to chose a single thing (always) and I have this ever-present need to be doing something, accomplishing something, finishing something. On my last vacation I challenged myself to NOT do, accomplish, or finish for just a few hours one day. I actually just sat and observed the world around me. It was difficult at first. I did a lot of figiting and a lot of stressing about “wasting” time. But as the world around me became more interesting I started to pay more attention. A community college beach volleyball practice started. I love and play volleyball. Lots of walkers, rollerblades, bikers, and skateboarders all passed. All ages, colors, genders. I thought about when I was young doing this things. Some walkers had dogs. I LOVE dogs. I could see the ocean. I thought about the whales I saw earlier. I started identifying birds nearby. I’m a backyard birder and these birds are new to me. I found that after an hour my brain was fully stimulated yet I was completely relaxed! So now I do this at home occasionally on a weekend. I sit in my yard for about 15 minutes (on a break from gardening) and just observe. I see the sights, smell the smells, listen to the neighborhood. I never would have thought that I could just sit. It is my own personal way to meditate.

  48. Anna Canuck says:

    My friend has access to a super nice cabin a couple hours out of town and I visit twice a year with which ever friends also need to escape. From Friday night to mid-Sunday, we just take care of ourselves. Typically for me, that means: cooking something ambitious for my friends, playing board games, and visiting with my friends (social recharge), yoga, walking in nature (activity recharge), creating art – usually zentangle or sketching, sending an encouraging letter to my friends doing missions work overseas, playing my ukulele, and doing a pedicure.

    Having that period off the clock, away from the people I usually care for, away from the house and yard demands… it’s just delightful.

  49. Brad says:

    Don’t plan anything.

    If you’re going somewhere new, just arrive and do whatever you feel like in that particular moment. Literally, take it moment by moment. Otherwise, you won’t let go and just let things draw you in.

    It’s an excuse to be completely impulsive, which imo is the best way to disconnect.

    You may end up spending a whole day inside, reading a book, you may walk past some activity or attraction that you want to try. Just float around with no pressure. This is a form of meditation.

  50. Jo says:

    When I need to unwind and want to be creative without any pressure to be productive, I love to sit or lie on the grass, somewhere out in the nature, and watch the clouds…

  51. Lori says:

    Hi Emilie

    Please look at this retreat as a GIFT to yourself. It’s not about what you accomplish during the days you have, but the joy you have during those days. A dear friend taught me that being without drawing materials doesn’t mean we shouldn’t draw…draw in the sand then walk away. Leave something wonderful wherever you’ve been-that is the legacy of your retreat. Take the time to notice everything around you and just breathe. If you’ve made someone smile, or laugh during that time, great. If it’s YOU that is laughing, all the better! Have a wonderful time enjoying the treasure that is you.

  52. Scott Allen says:

    I’m going to echo what many others here have suggested, which is that I spend time on artistic endeavors with no set objective: playing music, writing free-form poetry, painting abstracts – just experimenting with media, shapes, colors, and techniques, etc. These are the aspects of my multipotential life that are usually the first to go when my life gets busy, but ironically, the most replenishing of all activities except maybe meditation (which I never give up, but it’s easier because I can it anywhere, without any tools or a long duration of time).

  53. Mary Dunn says:

    a silent retreat at a monastery for a couple of days

  54. Beth says:

    Tarot! My go-to tool for when I feel… overwhelmed, uninspired, thoughtful, questioning, tugged in two directions, curious, anxious, or anything!

    I always take my tarot deck on retreats (whether it’s a quiet afternoon, a weekend unplugged or a holiday in some faraway place) – a single card can help me set the tone for the day or give me a theme or concept to toy with/meditate on, a whole reading can be a creative writing project and a deep-dive into what my body or soul are craving or needing me to know. The possibilities are endless… often I just shuffle and draw cards without any request or expectation from the cards. It can be as light or as serious as you like :)

    I’ve emailed you separately – I would be more than happy to gift you a deck from my shop, http://littleredtarotshop.com

    (No pressure or expectation here – all love! And excited for your time off :)

    • Beth says:

      Other suggestions:

      Sketching. Whether or not you think you’re a good artist, literally sitting down with a pencil and paper for 30 mins and drawing something, anything, whatever is lying around. I don’t do this enough, but when I do, I really feel good about myself!

      Wild swimming, alone. When you live so much online, it’s hard to do things for their own sake (without thinking of a social media post or blog or whatever). Wild swimming – the shock of cold water on the body, the feeling of nakedness in connection with wild water, the full-body experience without judgement – is something I keep just for me.

      Cooking. When I feel too busy with work, cooking is the first thing to get ditched. So sad, as cooking helps me feel creative, connected, nourished and caring. Try out a new recipe, invent something!

      Foraging. This is my current ‘daily retreat’. I look up videos or in books for what is in season in my area, and set out to find some. If there’s plenty, I bring a little home for food or medicine.

      Happy retreating, Emilie! Hope you come back refreshed and grounded.

  55. Sienna says:

    Hey Emilie!

    All of the suggestions so far are so insightful and well-put that it’s hard for me to add anything original, so I’m putting my weight behind a few suggestions that really stood out to me:

    1. I am also a huge fan of silence as a healer. Especially when you spend so much time online and generally in a performative, communicative role, some silence can be really enlightening. Silent retreats are a) very challenging and b) very rewarding, but if it wouldn’t freak you out too much, just some no-talking time would likely encourage the brain to settle itself!

    2. Having said that, I’m also a huge fan of music therapy. Whenever I need a quick boost of stress-relief I sing (and particularly I love harmonizing with other folks’ melodies–it makes me feel like I’m contributing to the piece!), and when I’m so upset that words can’t encompass my feelings, that’s when I go to my violin. Sound is capable of expressing things that more restricted language just can’t get around. Sound it out.

    3. I adore Jari’s suggestion of a personal receiving day, to just spend a day intentionally and joyfully basking in the love and kindness and generosity of your friends. AC mentioned focusing on processes (dreaming and grieving) that society doesn’t typically allow for, and I also would say that’s a great use of time. But…

    4. The point here, I think, is a *mindset* thing. No matter WHAT you choose to do, approach it from a mindset of play and discovery, with open arms and a child’s mind. I’ve done too many “recovery weekends” where I end up more stressed on Sunday because, hilariously, I pulled an emotional muscle trying SO HARD to relax. Relaxing is one of those things that happens when you’re not noticing. It comes lightly. Trying to force relaxation is like trying to catch smoke. So whatever you do, do it with an intention of non-attachment and letting go (tough for us busy folk!), and dole out the patience and forgiveness every time you catch yourself trying to treat this retreat like one more Thing You Have To Do.

    The first 6 months of this year have been NUTS for me: my spouse immigrated to Canada to live with me, we started our business, I published my first novel, and we just moved apartments a week ago. I’m with you on the needing-some-personal-time thing. I hope you find what you’re looking for!

  56. Joanna says:

    Hi Emilie,
    First I thank you terribly that YOU asked the question, you have no idea how it has helped me! I am just right before the release of my RB on the same topic.. and so scared and freaked out for this leap out there ;)
    The topic is: Doing nothing, eating flowers, and how to do it:))) with your question I got a puuussshhhh of just how important this subject is, I know very well how difficult it is to do Nothing! and especially for people with lots of pressure and feeling that they never have enough to time to DO IT ALL.
    last weekend I worked with a shaman /musician and recorded music for a creative concept, helps one to Do Nothing and then create something in this energy, but actually without the need to do something :))))) (as you can see I have not reached the end of the description process jet ) ;). However, music is ready as a Beta, maybe you would like to be a test driver for it during your time of? I’d be very honoured!!. the finished version will be ready on 9th of July… and from all my hearth I wish you a fantastic time doing absolutely Nothing.!

    … I mean not exactly nothing, of course as a person who likes to do many things
    Nothing is not the pint of standstill, it is not even advisable :)
    Nothing, ie. Nothing Concrete, whatever you do, make it “not need it to finish to anything specific result”
    focus on the process, whatever is not there is OK, and what is there is just great!!
    discarding all plans and expectations, and turning it into a curiosity of the day to come:) rocks!
    for ex: you go after the book to the library, this is the only way to feel like living the house maybe, along the way you see looooots of interesting thiiiiings (to not get hypnotised, just make a note), you meet a friend and you’ll be of to the café, play with the cat and and.., then you realise the books! .. to late! forgot! In our “traditional” world such day is a kind of failure if the mind still thinks that books were the goal!
    I believe such day should be known as being a day lived freely, wonderfully, creatively and intuitively and in touch with yourself! The library?..well it was just a door opener for the productive mind!! celebrate in this way your days Emily and you will wake up very happy very soon :)!!

    Some few days lived in such way will create a void within a person, can be perceived as fear, (no paint no gain even here. :)))?it works like a mental fasting, abstinence of stress, at first you can finally be tired and is also a bit scary..for us movers..
    but In fact, the amazing thing is that afterwords, when we return to our projects, it turns out that we’ve had a deep cleaning of the brain and everything suddenly becomes much simpler and happier too..
    Best wishes and Love!
    Joanna

  57. Chiquita says:

    Hi Emilie,
    I’m new to your site/talks and I’m glad I found you because I can relate to a lot of what you discuss. This is obviously something very personal & everybody has different preferences on what helps them relax, but here are some of what I like to do when I get stuck in a weird place:
    1) Travel. Just go somewhere I’ve never been, even if it’s just another town a couple hours away. I explore the area, check out whatever eating options they have, etc. When I can afford to travel to another country my favorite place for low-key exploring is their grocery stores, I love seeing what different foods/candy/toiletries they have.
    2) Take up small projects that allow me to zone out while I do them & that I can finish in 1-2 days & doesn’t require a lot of prep/process. For me it’s usually drawing, carving rubber stamps, or do small linoleum block carving.
    3) Try to do nothing. It’s a luxury. Sit around & read an easy, fun novel or comic books. Lay around in bed with my dogs & just listen to music. Go to a movie or a restaurant by yourself. Let yourself fall asleep in the middle if the day if you can get to that point of being relaxed.
    4) Allow yourself to be silly. Listen to music you love & dance, talk baby talk to a stray kitty you meet, get excited about ice cream, collect pine cones, roll down a grassy hill, whatever give you a moment of joy. Forget about being a proper adult for a while & just let yourself be a kid again.
    Hope you enjoy your off time, whatever you decide to do =)

  58. Alicia Medina says:

    For me, that lives in a city and work in office and university environments, nature is the best retreat. My very best treat has been “El camino de Santiago”, the first time I have only 10 days so we walked only a part of it, then in 2015 we did the whole, starting in France and ending in Santiago in Spain. It was just fantastic, you walk and see so many things and walking for 30 days like I did, it is a great experience, first your body need to learn how to walk 20-30 kilometers per day, it takes about 10 days and during this time your mind is like disconnected, then your mind start to work again. What happens at this moment is different for everyone but it is always a nice experience. It brings you near your real “you”.

    Another kind of personal retreat is also to spend some time with old friends. Friends that are not so connected to your current activities or projects but that have been part of your life and that you care.

  59. Talita says:

    Hi Emilie,

    I see you have so many great tips already so I’ll make my one quick:

    I’m going through a tough period as well and happened to spend three days in the Alps where my in-laws live. They have a farm and I helped with some of the cheese/meat producing and it felt INCREDIBLY rejuvenating. I felt specially grounded after I came back. It isnt an intellectual task, which is rejuvenating by itself. If you have an opportunity to make cheese, help with the cattle work, I’d totally recommend it. :)

  60. Tom Boyd says:

    I started dealing with a similar issue several years ago. I was unsatisfied and stressed at work, looking ahead to retirement and a real job, hopefully with more meaning than just a paycheck. I talked to some folks, read some articles, books and webpages, and realized I was a multipod. While doing some of the exercises to find my, true passion / passions / true vocation I realized that the common denominators of those better times were discovery and inspiration. I’d already built meditation and regular reading and / or listening into my days, but what was missing was the spark. My solution / advice is: whatever is your thing, be it music, reading, movies, etc., approach it as an explorer again. Go to a STORE, browse outside your normal genre, strike up a conversation with someone new about something new, see an artist you don’t know about or go somewhere new with a pen and a pad. Get outside your zone and into a different rabbit hole. For me this removed stress, inspired new ideas, gave me new favorites and made me feel younger. I hope it might do some of the same for you.

  61. Alan says:

    The problem is we are always in motion..Unplugging is an industrial age metaphor. I know…I am a sparky. What happens when you unplug something? It stops dead. Meditation, hiking, netflix and reading is doing something. Take an extension cord and plug it in…now wrap it around your leg…now unplug it and go dead. What happens.? Do you feel relaxed? Anxious? Just lay there and be…What happens for you?..Please comment

  62. Lori Fulk says:

    I wander through antique malls while drinking coffee and listening to music in my earbuds (antique mall music is pretty awful!).

  63. Taishi says:

    Hello everyone,

    I personally love practicing sports and listening to music. Every time I feel overwhelmed or stressed, I set on some tunes (specially reggae or rock music) and do some exercises on the garden, such as yoga or calisthenics. But the best sport to feel really relaxed is surfing. Being on the sea, with your friends and feeling the sunshine and the sea breeze is the best thing on earth!

    I hope these tips help you!!

  64. Marika says:

    Hey! This might come a little late but maybe someone finds it and finds it useful :) I had a bit of a breakdown earlier this spring – and the week after, I happened to have a surfing trip planned. I didn’t know how to surf so it was an introductory course at a surfcamp, with all new people who I didn’t know before. I turned off all notifications on my phone. It was the best recovery – the time there had nothing to do with my normal life, and especially spending the days learning a new, entirely physical skill eased my mind of intellectual and emotional stress. So whether it’s surfing, or skiing, or playing the trombone, or dancing, or any other physical activity that would require your full attention, make it the focus for your days off and make sure you’re in a context where you don’t need to bother about anything from your everyday life. Your thoughts and emotions will clear up and you will get a distance to whatever was going on before the trip, or at least that was what happened to me :)

  65. Hey there!
    I would allow myself to just enjoy what I feel like with NO judgement and feeling guilty’
    Wanna watch Netflix for an hour! Sure! Do some painting without having to do an? Why not! Go out shopping? Dress up and do some selfies? Yes! Treat myself to something yummy at a cafe / restaurant or make myself something yummy.. turn music on and dance to my heart’s content.. , write a few chapters for a book, a song.. sing on Smule.com etc. Go for a swim etc.. get a close friend d to have our pow wow time etc. hope you enjoy your time when it comes, Emilie!

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