I don’t know about you, but December usually leaves me wiped. Between final exams, work deadlines, visiting family and General Holiday Chaos, January finds us bleary-eyed, dazed and 5 lbs heavier.
Enter the Family Retreat.
A few years ago, someone gave us the great idea of going on a personal family retreat at the beginning of each year. This is a fabulous idea, although I have no idea whose it is. [Apologies]
Here’s how it goes down. In November, Varun and I pick a weekend in January and book it off: no social engagements, no church obligations…nada. Then, we spend about a month scouring the internet looking for hotel deals and looking for a free place to stay. This year, I had an enlightenment: a retreat centre!! I called up a beautiful local retreat centre and for $95/night we had our own cabin/suite complete with a living room, kitchen (with pots and pans), bedroom and bathroom. Not only was it newly renovated, the retreat grounds were beautiful!
Our retreat is a time to rest, reconnect and dream together about the upcoming year.
A few people have asked us how the family retreat goes down. So…if you’re interested in doing one, here are some tips.
Note: If you’re single or have kids, some of my points might not apply. Be creative. Go with another single friend, ask friends (like us!) to babysit, go for a day retreat….
Planning your family retreat:
-Choose someplace quiet, spacious; away from everyday life (money-saving tip: consider doing a house swap).
-Go away for as long as possible! We’ve found 2 nights gives you time to relax, have fun, and spend time together and apart.
-Bring journals, books, music and Bibles. We also bring Monopoly Deal and a movie or two.
-Pack snacks and goodies.
Enjoying your retreat:
-Sleep! We binge on naps and sleeping late.
-Limit cellphone and internet usage.
-Spend time alone journaling, reading, reflecting and praying.
-Spend time together remembering highlights of the past year. We list things we’re thankful for and thank God together.
-Spend time talking about concrete plans for the new year: desired changes, dreams and goals. We write out our goals and clear ways of achieving them. We also spend time praying about these goals and asking God his plans for our year.
-Have fun! Go for Hikes, walks, swimming, games, movies.
That’s all I got! This is a new tradition in our family and we’re still learning and experimenting. If you do family retreats, I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas! How do you relax? What do you find helpful in planning family decisions and making goals together?