How do I make the best use of a month-long personal retreat?
September 24, 2013 6:20 AM Subscribe
I've been off work for a number of months with severe depression. My spouse is allowing and encouraging me to go away for a month to get away from daily family life. How can I best make use of this time?
posted by spiraldown to health & fitness (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
For this time away, which I am considering a 'personal retreat', I am looking at renting a small house for one month. It is on waterfront about 40minutes away from where we live. If you have taken a time away from your life to try to heal from any health issues, how did you make it successful?
I want this time to be as productive as possible. If I don't plan I suspect I would spend a month not doing much and be no better at the end of it. Goals would include:
- eating more healthily than I have been
- daily reading and practice of the materials which I have been finding helpful but which I haven't been doing consistently (CBT, mindfulness, general depression understanding)
- daily exercise (the area I would be staying is good for long walks, and I may bring my bike)
- daily practice of my musical instrument
- other positive pastimes such as reading and listening to music. (And less time playing mindless games on my iPad)
I'm thinking a loose daily schedule would be helpful to try to provide some structure to each day so I don't just waste hours surfing the web. This would include all the activities I want to do each day, but be flexible such that I can - for example - exercise earlier or later in the day depending on the weather.
While the house I'm looking at has TV and wifi I would intend to use them as little as possible. There is a small store nearby for food essentials, and bigger stores a short drive away, though we haven't yet figured out if I would take the car or if my spouse would drop me off and keep the car, maybe coming to visit occasionally and bring food.
Other information related to the depression - my doctor is supportive of time away. I've tried 5 different meds, each with side-effects so debilitating I had to stop after a couple of days. I am also seeing a therapist, who is also supportive. If necessary I could travel from the rental place back into my home city for appointments with either.
I'm not at all worried about being lonely. I'm generally better on my own than I am around people.
So, how would you suggest I approach this retreat, and spend my time each day, with the aim of being significantly better at the end of the month?
(Posted from a sock puppet - mods are aware - because I want to keep health-related questions unrelated from my main MeFi profile.)