Make Your Own Mindset Reset Retreat
We’ve all been spending more time at home than usual. Over the last 12 months, our home space has transformed from the place we go to rest and relax, to the place where we do almost everything — our professional, social, and personal lives are played out within the confines of the same walls.
For those who live alone, this experience may be even more intense. Studies are already beginning to show that lockdown isolation is the root of a new wave of mental health challenges, and the World Health Organization is urging governments to invest in more support services to handle the fallout.
If you’re an essential worker you may not have stayed at home throughout lockdown, but you’ve undoubtedly been under increased pressure at work. And that means your time at home is even more precious; it needs to give you the mental space to reset, so that you can go back out feeling clear and steady.
Mental health challenges are real. There is no shame in finding it difficult to manage on your own, and we encourage you to reach out to services that can help when you’re struggling.
But how can we help ourselves, too? How can we stop quarantine and isolation from triggering a spiral into general low mood, lethargy, and lack of motivation?
Mindset Shift: instead of Just Waiting, Let’s Adapt
As we approach the one year mark since the first lockdowns were announced, mindset is more important than ever. Everyone’s experiencing crisis fatigue in one way or another — and as time goes on, it takes more and more work to maintain a hopeful outlook. Still, history tells us that any crisis holds new opportunities within it, and sparks new creativity among individuals and wider society. Collaborative peacekeeping organization The United Nations was formed as a result of World War II, and the 2008 financial crisis drove the world leaders to upgrade the G-20 in order to stabilize global markets.
And on a smaller scale, each one of us has the potential to build resilience and cultivate deeper creativity when we face a huge obstacle. Instead of getting locked into a mindset of waiting for the pandemic to be over, we can shift into a state of adaptability.
Given that the home is the place where much of our experiences are playing out right now, it makes sense that the home is also the ideal space for a mindset shift.
Which is why we’re sharing this guide on how to turn a day at home into an uplifting experience — your own personal (and free) mindset reset retreat.
First, Schedule it
The power of a retreat starts before you actually arrive. It’s in your diary, and you look forward to it as time that will dedicated to your wellbeing and personal growth. So give yourself that pre-retreat mindset boost by choosing a date a week or two ahead of time, and writing it down in your calendar. Not only will this help you commit to your private retreat, but it’ll signal to your subconscious that you’re prioritizing you and working towards a new perspective.
Start Slow and Prepare Your Space
Wake up early on your chosen retreat day. Not necessarily at 5 AM, but make sure you’re up before the lie-in-lethargy sets in. Make yourself a hot drink and enjoy it slowly — and then get your retreat space ready for the day.
Make sure it’s tidy and feels like a good place to be, and lay out any materials you need for the day: a notebook and pen, a yoga or exercise mat, a meditation cushion (or any firm cushion will work).
Move Your Body
Move your energy by moving your body. You could practice yoga, go for a run, do 20 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (check out Fitness Blender for free workouts), or go for a walk, a swim or a bike ride. Your call — just choose a form of movement that raises your heart rate, and it’ll flood your body with endorphins to start the day on a high.
Write it out and Meditate
As soon as you’ve finished your exercise session, grab your notebook and pen and sit down. Use these questions as prompts to write down what’s going on in your thoughts and emotions:
- As your heart rate slows, what thoughts enter your head?
- Which three emotions do you feel are strongest for you in this moment?
- What are your biggest worries right now?
- What makes you happiest right now?
Then close your eyes and focus on your breath. Notice each inhale as it arrives, and each exhale as it leaves the body.
With each inhale, breathe all of those thoughts and feelings in. And with each exhale, breathe them out. Imagine yourself letting go of any thoughts or emotions you’ve been attached to lately so that you can be present in the moment.
Cleanse and Refresh — Indulge in Self-Care that Takes Time
Build on that process of letting go — and laying the groundwork for more focused mindset work — by taking some time to cleanse your body. Have a shower or a bath and allow everything that has happened up until now to wash away.
Give yourself permission to be a little indulgent. Make yourself a simple oatmeal face mask to nourish your skin, and include bath salts or oils in your routine so that you step out of the bathroom feeling fresh, bright, and relaxed.
Then…Identify Your ‘Waiting’ Thoughts and Actions, and Shift them to ‘Adapting’ Thoughts and Actions
That first part of the day was all about preparing you to assess your current mindset with clarity. And now is the time to do just that.
With your notebook to hand and notifications switched off on all your devices (or even better, all your devices switched off), make a list of things you’ve been thinking and doing a lot lately, that correspond to a mindset of ‘waiting’ for the situation to change.
- When I get up in the morning, I wait for social media or mainstream media news to dictate my mood
- When someone asks how I’m doing, I tell them I don’t really know how to feel (or what to do) until the pandemic situation becomes clearer
- I want to get fit and healthy, but I can’t while I’m stuck in the house most of the time — there’s no point in trying right now
- I’d really like closer friendships in my life but it’s impossible to form close connections at the moment
When you’ve got your list of waiting mindset notes, consider how you could change each one into an adapting mindset thought or action.
- When I get up in the morning, I do three things that make me feel positive, hopeful or creative, before I even look at the news
- When someone asks how I’m doing, I assume they’re interested in the things I can control rather than the things I can’t
- I want to get fit and healthy, so I’m using this strange time to try — or create — a combination of workouts that I can do from anywhere
- I’d really like closer friendships in my life, so I’m reaching out to people I’d like to connect with more deeply, and talking with them on a regular basis
Remember, these are just examples. Your own notes might be completely different from these — it’s crucial that they’re honest and relevant to you.
And those three things in the morning that make you feel good before you glance at the news? They don’t have to be big things. They might be as simple as drinking your coffee slowly, checking in with the Meditate.Awake app, and doing 60 seconds of shoulder stretches.
Move Your Body Again!
Yes, really. But make this workout a softer, calmer one. If you went for a run earlier, try a gentle yoga practice now. If you did some HIIT, head outside for a peaceful walk in nature (or along city sidewalks — that works too).
As Buddhist monk and influencer Gaur Gopal das notes, a balanced life allows you to handle pressure and stress when you need to. Create balance in your mind by allowing balance in your body.
This time, focus on the adapting mindset thoughts and actions that you noted down earlier.
Sit comfortably and take a few deep breaths to settle yourself. And then slowly read through those notes, paying attention to each word. Don’t worry about trying to memorize them; simply give them your full attention for as long as you’re reading them.
This act of concentration is also an act of meditation, and it will help to ground this refreshed adaptive mindset into your subconscious.
As the end of the day approaches, choose someone close to you (or someone you’d like to be closer to) and reach out. Give them a call. Tell them that you’ve taken a retreat day to replenish your energy and reset your mindset, and be vulnerable; let them know how you’re feeling, and what you’re hoping to feel in the days and weeks to come.
And listen to them in return. Ask how they’re doing and really listen — without trying to offer solutions to any problems they share with you. Practice being present with someone you care about, without putting pressure on yourself to fix their life.
Finally, wind down for a good night’s sleep. Instead of hitting your favorite streaming service and zoning out to a new season of whatever, opt for calm activities that slow your heart rate and allow you to absorb the goodness of the day.
Read, take another bath, or write down any more thoughts that are repeating themselves in your head.
Get into bed early — so you don’t feel any stress if it takes a while to fall asleep.
We have loads more tips to help you shift your mindset, cultivate connection and become more adaptable over on the Meditate Awake app. And don’t forget to join us on Instagram for daily mindset inspiration too.
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