Here’s the big lesson I’ve learned in 24 years of practicing yoga and meditation: Relaxing is the key to doing anything well. The reason? When you are relaxed, you become fully present. Being fully present is the key to making wise and healthy choices.
Maybe you are more familiar with the opposite feeling of being overwhelmed with details, juggling too much to rest in the peace of the present moment. When that happens, clarity disappears, stress takes charge, and you might feel the need to hit the pause button. When I find myself in that situation, rather than fight the current or make wild guesses about how to proceed, I schedule a mini retreat.
A mini retreat is a period of intensive meditation practice. It can be as short as a Sunday morning or last a whole weekend. Block off time on your calendar, and treat it like you would any program you’ve registered and paid for.
Why is this important? Research has proved just how detrimental stress can be to health, happiness, and productivity (as if you need scientists to tell you that). And other studies have shown that meditation helps to ease stress and may help with depression. When overwhelmed by outside influences, you need to find your guidance within. The best way to do this is to slow down, minimize distractions, get quiet, and LISTEN. I've been amazed by how consistently reliable this practice is.
If you've never done a meditation retreat before, the idea may be a bit daunting. But it's easier than it sounds, and it's worth every second. Here's a quick guide to get you started.