Last month my team and I spent 3 days in the mountains for a retreat, the first time we were together in person in two years! Even though I have been leading retreats for 25 years, every single one reminds me of the importance of getting away to recover. We all agreed this one was our best, not just because it was so long in coming and the weather was magnificent, but we all showed up a little differently, especially me.
I remembered our last retreat being full, but when I reviewed the agenda I couldn’t believe the jam-packed and tight schedule I created. Apparently, I felt the need to control every moment, including the time we got up and went to bed! My expectations were completely unrealistic and I was exhausted just looking at it!
I wanted this retreat to be different. It has been a rough 18 months for all of us, for many reasons and I wanted to honor and celebrate my team for all the support they gave me in such challenging circumstances. We each prioritized what we needed most from our time together, and agreed collectively to follow our own rhythms before, during, and after working together. Valerie did her fitness videos, I practiced yoga, and Margo and I walked every morning.
We ate lunch when it seemed like the right time and afterward, we all took a break to nap, journal, or read. In other words, we took recovery time. With a more relaxed schedule of allowing the retreat to unfold, I found that not only were we more connected and engaged, we also created the space to heal with recovery time and were actually more productive, personally and professionally.
We were very fortunate to have 3 days in the Colorado mountains, and I highly recommend a team retreat of any length onsite or offsite. You can retreat to recover in a day, afternoon, or even an hour by making yourself important enough to connect with yourself. It requires you to slow down, acknowledge your needs and rhythms, and commit to doing something just for you.