Need a Break? Looking for ways to revive your creativity? or how to increase your creativity and imagination?
I recently went on a creative retreat for 1 and it was the most amazing experience of self-discovery, self-growth, and self-connection I’ve experienced. It was a path to regaining creativity for sure!
I believe that everyone should take one on a regular basis, and at the very least once in their lifetime. More information on how and why this came about a little later in this post.
Keep reading to find out my step-by-step process and then plan your own self-discovery creative weekend art retreat for one!!
Let’s Revive Your Creativity
First, Choose Your Location
Short of kicking your entire family out and pretending like there is no housework for you to get done, a creative retreat at home isn’t ideal. It’s too easy for us to get distracted or sidetracked, for people to stop by or for things to come up and pull our focus away. So, let’s think about what our location needs to have for a successful retreat.
Things to consider for location:
-Decide how far you’re willing to drive
-Then decide how far you’re willing to drive
-Determine a budget
-Figure out what kind of environment would feel most peaceful to you
- Are you a mountain girl?
- Do you love the forest?
- Is running water soothing to you?
-Determine which amenities are a must
- Do You thrive on natural light?
- Or love a good soak in a hot tub?
- Maybe you need good internet for your craft?
My goals for location were:
- Within an hour of my home
- Self-contained with no need to leave
- Isolated or at least not anywhere with a ton of people
- Amenities for relaxation such as a soaker tub or hot tub
With these needs in mind, I ruled out a hotel and campground cabin rentals as too many people are coming and going to distract me with noises and such.
This left me with Airbnb and VRBO type properties. Both offer great options for filtering properties down which is super helpful for finding the perfect location.
I also used Google to search for terms like Airbnb retreat rentals southern Michigan or northern Indiana. I was able to find a perfect location that allowed me to be isolated, while still offering delivery services for meals, groceries and of course Michael’s Craft store just in case.
It had a great tub, was close to everything yet secluded with a beautiful woodland view and also happened to be on the back lot of a massage and yoga studio. There was plenty of separation to keep distractions down, but it did allow me to have 2 massages while away and with just a 2-minute walk.
Next, let’s think about what your goals for self-connection are.
I had a few books on my wish list that I thought would fit the bill in helping me reconnect and create a plan during a time of transition. As I browsed through my list the description of Wake Up by Lindsay Teague Moreno stopped me in my tracks…
“In Wake Up!, Lindsay Teague Moreno explores the six core foundations for a fulfilled life and the mindset shift that can occur when you stop looking at the expectations you put on yourself. (“Amazon.com: Wake Up!: The Powerful Guide to Changing Your Mind About …”) Through stories and tough questions, you will emerge more prepared to live the kind of life that feels right, regardless of what other people think of it.
Perfect for women who work inside or outside the home, Wake Up! will show you why it’s so important to understand how and why we change our minds and wake up to what we really believe. In the areas of relationships, health, finance, business, and personal and spiritual life, Wake Up! will help you assess what you believe and how that affects your success. Then Moreno walks you through how to burn down the old ways to build the life of your dreams by:
· Squeezing lessons out of life’s biggest letdowns
· Finding fulfillment in the middle of the fire
· Shifting your mindset to control your thoughts and make the future happen on purpose
· Living a life with no excuses and nothing to lose
Moreno shares ways you can change your mindset in each core foundation so that your life works for you, rather than the other way around. Only you can emit that special energy that comes from being brave enough to live a life you’ll never regret. Whole-life fulfillment is only a mindset shift away.”
Reading the description gave me all the feels and a visual of the sea being parted. Of course, I decided I would work through this book and journal my responses to it on my retreat.
I did a mix of the audio and physical book. You could choose a book, a guided journal to work through, journaling or shadow journaling prompts, or even just committing to writing down any thoughts that pop in your head over your weekend and being willing to respond to them.
This retreat is about connecting with your inner creative self, just be open to it and you’ll discover so much.
Once you’ve decided on your self-connection then it’s time to decide what creativity project or projects you’ll be focusing on.
Tips for creativity:
· Choose a medium or craft to explore or particular style of craft
· Decide what you want to learn about the one chosen
· Determine what would make your retreat feel productive as far as finished pieces
· Create a game plan
My goals for creativity
· I wanted to take time to learn and explore watercolor more
· I knew I wanted to take a course or two to really develop new skills
· And I wanted to leave my retreat with a collection of pieces I was proud of or at least learned from.
I suggest having a well laid out gameplan, so you aren’t tempted to pick up your phone and start scrolling for ideas. We all know how that ends up, hours later with no progress.
To help me in preparing my gameplan I decided to sign up for the Skillshare free trial. This allowed me to build an awesome plan for learning everything about watercolor; from why swatching is important to caring for your brushes plus lots of skill building exercises and painting tutorials.
Then I added up all the hours I’d be gone, subtracted the hours I estimated sleeping and then planned classes for about 75% of that time.
I saved all the classes that looked interesting in my favorites and then when in and ordered them by skill level, so I started with the basics and worked towards the more advanced painting tutorials.
This timing worked out perfect for me, but know yourself, maybe you need more downtime or thinking time then creativity time, adjust your percentage as needed. You could also pick up a book or two with tutorials in if that feels more you then video tutorials.
Next, Create a Packing List
Once you’ve figured out your creativity projects it’s time to start gathering the details and creating a packing list.
My suggestions are as follows:
· Rental Instructions and address
· Your self-connection project, paper, pencil and anything else needed to achieve
· Go through the courses and tutorials and print out any templates needed, gather
all the items on the supply list, and any extras you might need
· Pack plenty of wet wipes and paper towels depending on your creativity choice
· A drop cloth of some kind to put under your make-shift studio
· A folding table or two and a comfortable folding chair (depending on the set up you
may do just fine with the kitchen table space available at the rental
· Snacks and drinks
· A great playlist- I chose to only listen to ASMR and binaural beats and felt so Zen it
· Figure out who will know where you are and give them the rental information in
case of an emergency.
Finally, Why I Planned a Self-Retreat
I’m going to be honest and fill you all in on a little secret, this grand idea is really thanks to my wonderful husband. Now before you go getting all sad that your significant other might not be doing grand things for you let me explain further.
You see, while my husband is 100% amazing, he’s also human, meaning he has a flaw or two. The one I’m most often disappointed with is his gift giving skills.
It’s just a place of disconnect for us (being it’s one of my major love languages), but as I’ve matured in our relationship (we’ve been together 25 years) I’ve found ways to lower my expectations and not feel so disappointed.
Over the years I’ve come to dread my birthday, I mean I plan everything to the max for the birthdays of those I love, but they don’t get the hint. I tried planning my own birthday trip to Vegas one year with 4 other couples and still was met with some disappointment.
So, this year I had decided it was my year of mesponsible. As in I was responsible for only me, myself, and I. Being newly empty nested made this the perfect time to spend focused on letting go of trying to control things out of my control, deciding what I really wanted for myself instead of letting expectations of others dictate that.
That’s why I decided this year I wanted to spend my birthday 100% alone, depending on only me for happiness and contentment. (I even made my own cake)
It was quite interesting the different responses I got from people when I shared my plans, I got two main ones.
First was “why would you want to do that, it sounds miserable’ this mostly came from the male population and younger uncommitted or those of few responsibility gals.
On the opposite spectrum was the “I’m so jealous, that sounds amazing! What I wouldn’t give for a few days alone to focus on my own art.” This came from the busy moms, boss girls, and fur mamas with too much on their plate, struggling to balance their needs with everyone else’s wants.
Did you catch that?! As women, we tend to not only put other people before us, we put their wants, you know the things that are nice to have but by no means necessary, before our own needs, yes, those things we must have to live a happy and fulfilled life being authentically and eclectically ourselves.
Let me be clear, this trip was not about running away from anyone or anything…. It was about running towards my authentic self by removing all other voices that muddle my true voice in my head.
How to make the most of your self-retreat
· Disconnect from the outside world
· Remove Distractions
· Reconnect to Yourself
· Ditch the Clock
· Enjoy the Process and Journey
Disconnect from the outside world
I only used my phone to check in with my husband nightly, I kept our talks short just reassuring him I was doing well and to make sure everyone and everything at home was good. I did text him good morning each day, but once I hit send, I didn’t pick up my phone again until I went to call him that evening.
This allowed me to be 100% in flow once I sat down to get to work. No distractions, no worries. Speaking of distractions, that’s the next step to making the most of your personal getaway.
Remove the Distractions
It is essential that we remove the outside world and all its thoughts, drama, and distractions if we want to really reconnect to ourselves. It’s too easy for all the thoughts to become muddled and often we can convince ourselves that something was our idea or something we wanted when in reality we were influenced or persuaded into it.
Uninstall any social apps that you’re tempted to open or install an app that limits the number of opens you get and set it to zero. This will allow you the space you need to reconnect to your own thoughts and desires for your dream life.
Reconnect to Yourself
As women we are usually the primary caregivers for anyone in our lives. This often means we do not take care of ourselves, let alone connect with ourselves. When is the last time you had a heart to heart with yourself, thinking about what you really want? If you’re like me, I’d venture to guess it’s been way too long.
Take this time to ask yourself the hard questions and give yourself time to ponder on the answer. Remove other peoples needs when doing this and only focus on yours. I’m not saying that you’ll necessarily be able to fulfill these wishes as we all have responsibilities, we can’t ignore but knowing gives you a goal to work towards and power to take the right path when the time comes.
Ditch the Clock
How often are you running late, stopping mid task because the clock says you have to be somewhere else or being woken by an alarm because work is calling? Multiple times a day in most cases. Take this time to reconnect to your body and ditch the clock.
Sleep when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry, create when you’re feeling creative, read when you’re feeling relaxed, journal when you have thoughts running through your head. You’ll be amazed how just letting your needs dictate your schedule will change your outlook.
I didn’t look at a clock once in 3 days, I napped sometimes 2 hours after I got out of bed and other times worked well past the sun setting. It was very freeing! I scheduled my massages for my arrival and departure, so I didn’t have to be or do anything for 3 solid days. It was the most glorious time spent!!
Enjoy the Process and the Journey
This retreat and time of self-reflection may not be all roses, there were times I felt pretty crappy about what I had put myself through or the way I treated myself when I was reflecting. But knowing creates a space for change and that is what is really important. So, celebrate all the parts of this amazing journey! And be sure to reach out and tell us how your retreat went.
My self-retreat was a weekend of self-reflection, growth, and relaxation. It isn’t lost on me that all the paintings I created over the 3 days were landscapes…. a destination of sorts, where am I going?! I don’t know where the next year will take me but I’m sure it will be amazing!
· Have a gameplan
· Let those close to you know you’ll be off grid
· Enjoy the process