Treat Yo' Self
April 5, 2013 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Setting aside an upcoming weekend as a "retreat at home". With a focus on relaxation, fighting off burnout and meditation. I was hoping for some recommendations for activities, guided meditations, books or inspiring films to view to make the most of this time.

I've carved out an upcoming weekend with that time functioning as weekend retreat but at home. Lately I've felt an increased sense of burnout from work and my capacity for concentration and focus seems to be significantly depleted. My fear is that I'll end up wasting this time or worrying about all the things I need to do, so I am coming to you good folks for help.

I am planning to set up an OOO for work emails and Mrs. Aceness is aware of my plans (She is away that weekend). I wanted to avoid mindless internetting' and TV watching.

I want to set up some sort of structure to the weekend, so I was hoping for some recommendations for activities (at home - no physical restrictions), guided meditations, books or inspiring films to view so at the end of the weekend I am refreshed, recharged and ready to re-engage.

Thank you.
posted by ACEness to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Are you going totally offline? Be sure to keep a couple of notebooks around to write down thoughts that you'll want later. One for "regular" journaling, one for tasks like "e-mail Mr. Pufnstuf regarding widgets".
posted by knile at 7:17 AM on April 5, 2013

I would plan some time outdoors in nature -- go hiking, bike ride by the river, something like that.

Yoga, long bath, warm drinks. I like these short guided meditations from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Center.

I like the meditation and inspiration idea, but it sounds like part of your burnout is linked to being constantly attached to work. So take some breaks to do something you enjoy that doesn't involve Internet or TV, but that is otherwise hard to do with your mind half on work -- read a fluffy book, call a friend, go out and have a nice dinner. I think just turning off the TV and the computer, and not checking work email, will be restorative. Think of your ideal day if you didn't have to do work, plan out your day (to avoid feeling like you wasted it), and go do those things.
posted by chickenmagazine at 7:28 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Prepare and eat wonderful meals.
posted by mareli at 7:31 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sleep in or go to bed early.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:02 AM on April 5, 2013

Put some time into making your house a more pleasant place to be. Spend a day cleaning up, organizing, and/or fixing up your space. Hang pictures you've been meaning to hang. Buy new bedding, or towels, or whatever else might be getting threadbare. I know, it sounds like it's more stress, but I find having a cleaner, more organized space is HUGE at refreshing my mind and making me feel less burnt out.

I found the book Clutter Busting helpful -- it's focused as much around letting go of clutter to re-set your life and approach to living as it is about actual physical stuff. He even addresses the connection between clutter and burnout/writer's block.
posted by pie ninja at 10:14 AM on April 5, 2013

One challenging and fun thing to do is to disconnect yourself from artificial measures of time. Cover up or put away all the clocks and devices that tell you what time it is. So you don't get up when the clock says it's time -- you get up when you're done sleeping. Eat when you're hungry. Go to bed when you're sleepy. It's a disorienting and refreshing way to spend a couple of days.
posted by Corvid at 11:35 AM on April 5, 2013 [6 favorites]

Here are a few suggestions for having a retreat weekend:

- do any chores you *have* to do or really want to do in advance of the weekend so your weekend isn't spent on errands, cleaning the bathroom because it's so icky you can't stand it any more, filing papers so you can work on your taxes efficiently, etc. It's astonishing how easy it is to fall into that trap and how quickly your time will go
- shop in advance and cook in advance for yourself: cold cuts, a pot of soup, a casserole, a pasta salad, etc. so that you just have to roll into the kitchen, put something on a plate, and maybe heat it up in the microwave and then do a tiny amount of dishes afterward
- promise yourself that you will be incommunicado: no phone calls, don't answer the door if someone drops by, etc.
- you might like to have a few plans (e.g. reading if you feel like it, listening to music if you feel like it) but don't feel restricted to them
- it can be helpful to tell yourself what you won't do (e.g. no checking work E-mails, no de-cluttering just because you have the time, no yardwork or house maintenance just because you have the time)
- make sure that what you do on your weekend is different enough from your weekday routine and your regular weekend routine that it actually feels like a retreat. Including a significant amount of meditation can be helpful here, but don't impose a rigid schedule on yourself.
- consider the number and type of your meditation sessions carefully. If you normally meditate not at all or less than an hour in the day, maybe schedule 3 hours worth of meditation in the day: morning, noon, just before dinner, say. Give yourself a fairly easy schedule and take the evenings off.
- Mixing up the meditations (mindfulness, gratitude, and loving-kindness, for example) can help as well. Don't forget that thinking through a problem can count as meditation too. Some people meditate by writing in a journal, some people do walking meditation, some sitting meditation, some work meditation.
- doing something creative can be nice if you enjoy it and it doesn't seem frustrating to you
- definitely get out in nature some--that can be very refreshing

Also--if you are feeling burnt-out, it may take more than one weekend to recharge (guess how I know). It might help to start the weekend early, even if Mrs. ACEness is around for the first day, just so you can get into weekend/ramping down mode.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
posted by Amy NM at 2:58 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bookend your weekend with something slightly ritualistic that helps you mentally set this recharging time apart from the work week. Maybe some sort of physical exercise - a walk or run? Or a massage? Or a hot bath with a glass of wine? I recommend the exercise because you will feel relaxed afterwards, but also because you can mentally prepare yourself for the time ahead while you are exercising. That way you can use the end-of-the-weekend one to mentally start easing yourself back into work mode.
posted by lollusc at 8:48 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

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