Between the last year and this one, we all have been subjected to a lot of stress due to all the circumstances surrounding the global pandemic. From worrying about the safety of our loved ones, battling isolation, and changing workplace dynamics to the complete flip in our routine, life as we knew it before 2020 has gone through a lot. At such times, especially as parents and working professionals, we know we all have dealt with the pressure and anxiety of functioning normally for the sake of our children. However, as the cases begin to subside and the pandemic seems to be loosening its grip over the world, we can now take a breather for ourselves.
To recenter our minds while finding some much-needed quiet time, a retreat sounds like the perfect plan. Charting out a retreat can become easy if you know how to go about it, which is why we’re bringing you eight tips to help. From top to bottom, here’s what you need to know about planning a perfectly enriching retreat.
- Take an opinion poll: A retreat is not just for an organizer but the group heading out to spend some quality time as a collective. While there are several things to do at a retreat and many places to go, every member of your group may have a different idea of what they wish to experience in a retreat. For the same reason, we advise you to take a written survey (it doesn’t have to be too long) of each participant. This will give you a general idea that will help you decide the venue, itinerary, and activities for the retreat.
- Don’t micromanage: Plans usually fall apart due to a lack of initiative and management. However, you don’t have to go about retreat planning all by yourself. Instead, reel the other attendees in and delegate tasks. The process of community bonding starts much before the actual retreat, especially while everyone works together to bring this plan to fruition. It will also help others get involved with the entire process, making the event more exciting and something to look forward to.
- Take the help of an organizer: Since everyone is very occupied with multi-tasking and balancing work with their personal life, finding the time to prepare for a retreat from scratch can become an additional point of stress if the plan is quite elaborate. It would be a good idea to get the help of a retreat planning professional in such a case or where there is a large group. This will save you a lot of added stress, so you all can enjoy the experience without worrying about the nitty-gritty of the retreat. Reach out to a retreat home or planning company, and they will take care of everything.
- Book the venue well in advance: If you’re going to plan a retreat yourself, make sure that you check out the venue and book it in advance. If you’re booking long weekends or during the holiday seasons, many others will be keen on doing the same. If you have decided upon the venue, book your dates by paying them in advance. You can also book many retreat locations online, where you pay while checking in. This is more convenient as it leaves room for last-minute cancellations in case some of the participants can’t make it.
- Prepare a detailed itinerary: Most people rest easier when they know the game plan of their trip, even a retreat.Plan your activities and days well in advance so that you have a lot of fun things to do. It’s easy to run out of ideas at the last moment, so keep brainstorming with the group and curate an itinerary that has a bit of everything to make it an interesting plan for all the participants. Once the itinerary is in place, you’ll see how much of a difference it makes since your getaway is now a tangible event everyone will be looking forward to.
- Post regular reminders: Communication is key for any successful retreat, especially if you’ve started planning early. It would help to set regular milestone reminders so that everyone can make the necessary adjustments to their schedules and prepare for the event. Be it a backyard daytime retreat or an elaborately planned getaway into the sacred woods, it is always good to touch base with the participants regularly. Things can get hectic at times, and we have all been guilty about forgetting the plans we’ve made by getting immersed in the present. Sending countdown messages or emails will help avoid that, especially if it is interactive. Get the spirits of the group up; the air of excitement will be worth it!
- Create an event guideline for participants: While many people are used to being on the go and preparing for retreats or vacations, most of us have forgotten how to go about it, thanks to staying locked indoors for the majority of 2020. Make the job of packing and prep easier by creating a checklist for the retreat participants. They will be grateful for the clarity, especially if they have to leave their kids behind. If there are strict policies such as no alcohol, smoking, or drugs to your retreat, make sure to highlight them.
- Don’t lose sight of the retreat’s goal: When you’re going all out trying to curate the best retreat plan for your group, it can become difficult not to hyperfocus on the little details. However, enjoying the journey will make the destination more memorable. Remember the goal of the retreat- to reset and rejuvenate. Be it a getaway or virtual retreat, keep things light and relaxed so that you all feel energized at the end of this enriching trip.
As you can see with the pointers mentioned above, there is a lot of thought and planning that goes into a retreat. Having an outline of your process will help you keep things flowing seamlessly without any stressful bumps on the road. When in doubt, research your course of action and take inspiration from others who have done this before!