How To Go On A Retreat Without Leaving Home


When was the last time you went on a retreat? The time away from work and family responsibilities and the general stress and busyness of life is an opportunity to reconnect with oneself, gain perspective, and find much-needed rest and renewal.

The reality, though, is that while anyone can benefit from going on a retreat, not everyone can afford it. Sometimes, the cost of attending a retreat somewhere else (not to mention some place exotic) is prohibitively expensive, or the time away from work isn’t possible.

Thankfully, going on a retreat without leaving home is possible for most people. An at-home retreat, when done intentionally according to some basic guidelines, can provide more life clarity and direction, a restorative mental health break, and still other benefits.

What might an at-home retreat, as opposed to the more stereotypical retreat, look like, and what are some ways to make the most of an at-home retreat? Below are some insights and suggestions.

What An At-Home Retreat Might Look Like

When you picture a retreat, you may be used to thinking of it as a physical getaway. You’re stepping out of your ordinary routine, but you’re also physically leaving to go someplace else. This is certainly the prevailing definition of “retreat,” but not the only one.


A “retreat” can also be “an act of moving back or withdrawing,” “to retire,” or “pull back,” according to multiple dictionaries. Understood in this light, a retreat can be as simple as stepping back from your usual routine to get some space and breathing room from the stress and preoccupations that keep you running on autopilot.

How To Make The Most Of An At-Home Retreat

Typical away retreats tend to follow a schedule. There may be one or more speakers, with group activities and individual time also included.

An at-home retreat does not require a schedule or structure, per se, to be effective, but following some basic guidelines can help to ensure that you make the most of your time.

Prepare by Cleaning and Decluttering

If cleaning and decluttering your whole house is too tall of an order, then choose a room—maybe a bedroom, office, or living room—where you’d like to spend most of your time on retreat. Multiple studies have found there are sizable mental health benefits to living in a clean, uncluttered environment and that cleaning and decluttering can reduce stress and anxiety. If you want to make the most of an at-home retreat, start by preparing a space that will be conducive to greater calm, focus, creativity, and productivity.

Unplug from Technology and Other Distractions

Silence your phone. If that’s not enough to rid you of the temptation to check messages, turn off your phone completely and put it in a closet or drawer where it’s out of sight. Avoid the temptation to turn on the TV and binge-watch episodes of your favorite show. The goal is silence and the absence of distractions that can get in the way of connecting with your inner voice.

For some people, silence, even for short periods, can feel lonely or uncomfortable. It may take practice to be alone with yourself without noise, other people, or distractions. Eventually, this quiet, alone time can begin to feel like a date with yourself and an opportunity for self-love and self-growth.

Spend Time Meditating, Reading, Journaling, Dreaming and Setting Goals

There are many forms of meditation. One of the simplest is a centering meditation that involves focusing on your breath and its inward and outward movement.

Reading a book about an area that you’d like to grow in can sometimes be fruitful. A book of poetry or spiritual meditations can also be restorative.


Journaling is an opportunity to reflect more intentionally by putting your thoughts and feelings into writing. The process can be both cathartic and illuminating.

Many of us get so stuck in the hustle of a 9-5 job and family responsibilities that we forget to dream. Spend some time reconnecting with that inner child, for whom dreaming comes easily. Write down your dreams. Then set some specific, measurable goals for getting there.

By following these three basic guidelines, you can go on a retreat—even if it means never leaving your house.

My Interior Palace