Before we get started with this week’s episode, I want to take a moment to share a little disclaimer. I am going to be sharing with you what to do on a personal retreat. More specifically, I am going to be pulling back the curtain. I want to show you all of the thinking, planning and action that went into getting away for a tropical personal growth retreat for three days in February. It is worth mentioning that I am aware that not everyone will have the ability to do this. And that is OK, there is zero judgment here. Honestly, this may be something that you listen to now. Then six months from now or six years from now, you may feel it is the right time.
When I was in Florida for my personal growth retreat, I got a ton of DMs from moms that informed me that they would never be able to do what I was doing. And while I have been in your shoes/flip-flops, I challenge you to push that mindset. Did I think I would be doing this three years ago when I was teaching and couldn’t take time off in February? Nope. I never thought it would be possible when I was buried in diapers and nap schedules, either. Things change, you change, so keep an open-mind, mama. Here we go!
This was probably the biggest question that I got while I was away in my DMs. The short answer: winter is hard in New England. Last year, I had an especially hard time with it. My husband admitted to me that by February 2022, I was such a mess that he was doing way more solo parenting than he expected. When we discussed the idea of me going away for some Vitamin D, he was completely on board. He told me that he would rather handle everything at home for 3 or 4 days, than do what we did last year.
That was the main reason for the tropical personal growth retreat. The secondary reason was I just needed to not be needed for a few days. Do you feel that mama? When I stopped to think about it, I have been full-time mom-ing for 9 years. We don’t have a huge village of support, so getting away is not something we have really been able to do. The thought of being “off the clock” made me so joyful, that I knew I had to do it.
Finally, I went on this retreat for my kids. I knew that if I took a time-out by the pool, that I could come home refreshed. They deserve a mom that is calm and present and I wasn’t that leading up to the trip. Of course, society can often push back on this idea and make you feel guilty for leaving your kids. I refused to play into that mind game. The second I got off the plane in Connecticut to get back to mom life, I knew I had made the right choice for myself and my family.
Before we get much further, what is a personal growth retreat? I shared about this idea back in episode 32, so you can check that out if you want to dive in deeper. But basically, a personal growth retreat is when you step away from your life for a set period of time to reflect, plan and strategize your next steps. Typically, I do this once or twice a year. My usual location of choice is my local Starbucks or a study room at the library in my town on a Saturday morning. I first had the idea of going somewhere tropical a few years ago and lining it up with my SADD. For years, it was a pipe dream but this year, I decided it was time.
If you are interested in doing a personal growth retreat, I will end this episode by sharing a few tips and tricks for making it happen. While I am going to focus on my Florida personal growth retreat in this episode, know that these really can be applied to any time away that you can manage during this season.
When I first started planning my trip, I knew that I wanted to go as far south as possible. I really didn’t want to run into weather issues or fly somewhere that was just as cold as Connecticut. Some research on Expedia led me to an all-inclusive resort in Port Saint Lucie, Florida that looked perfect.
I really wanted to book somewhere all-inclusive, to avoid any mom guilt while I was on the trip. I didn’t want to rack up big bills while I was away for food and drinks and regret everything by the time I got home. You know me, I love to budget! So this resort looked perfect for my getaway.
In addition to looking for somewhere all-inclusive, I tried to find somewhere that had direct flights and cheaper rental cars. I wanted to be able to stick to my budget as much as possible and not spend a lot of time stressing over transportation.
Other than that, my plan for what to do on a personal retreat was twofold. First, I wanted to get as much sunshine exposure as possible. If nothing else, I needed that. Second, I wanted to re-read the first chapter of my book from cover to cover. I had originally finished my first draft back in November, but then had to step away from it. Because one of my big dreams for this year is to hold my published book in my hands, it was time to get back into it. This trip allowed me to give it my full attention.
After that, I had a loose list in my MAP Book of things that would be nice to do. I was very careful not to make a to-do list though, I wanted to be super present and only take on what I wanted to tackle in the moment.
The actual experience was amazing. If you are wondering what to do on a personal retreat, this will more than likely sell it for you. I arrived on a Sunday night and drove to the resort in 75 degree weather. You can bet the windows were down, music was up. Note: yes, the locals rolled their eyes at me. They probably had the heat on.
When I arrived at the resort, I checked in and got settled in my room. I was nervous to check out the dining room because I wasn’t sure how I would feel about eating alone. I quickly got over that though when I saw the huge room with solo tables, overlooking the water. The buffet was huge and everything I wanted it to be, and more.
On Monday, I tackled my first goal: all the sunshine. I sat poolside, journaled, read a book and did some Sudoku. After pausing for lunch, I tackled reading a few pages of my book. Finally, I called a close friend to catch up and then started thinking about happy hour. I know, it sounds awful, right?!
When Tuesday rolled around, it was already my last full day. I spent the entire day by the pool with my book and MAP Book. When the mood struck me, I made some plans and created some lists. Other than that, I ate, drank, swam and watched the sunset.
Wednesday was the early wake-up call back to reality and I spent the day working as I flew from Florida back to Connecticut. It was a productive day overall, which was lucky since it was easier to transition home with some work done.
My first piece of advice is to just do it! You’ll never feel like you have enough time, money or bandwidth. But man, I feel like I gained so much energy from this trip. People around me have made comments about how much more energy they see me with. Worth it!
My second piece of advice is to customize it to your season of life. If you are breastfeeding, your trip is going to look different than mine. But just because you are going down the street to a coffee shop, doesn’t mean you can’t have the same level of success. I did it this way for five years before I took my personal growth retreat on the road. Do what makes sense for you in this season, mama. You can always add a tropical personal growth retreat to your “Someday, Maybe” list in your MAP Book.
Finally, when planning what to do on a personal retreat, keep it simple. If I had gone with a ton of plans and a to do list, it would not have been nearly as relaxing as it could have been. Don’t get me wrong, there was a bunch of things that I had to do to prepare for the trip and my absence. But it was all worth it since I wasn’t driven by a list when I was in Florida.
Right now, decide if a personal growth retreat might be something that could fuel you right now. If it is, get it on the calendar. Check out my episode all about planning a personal growth retreat at home to get some more ideas about what to do on a personal retreat.
If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe on Spotify so you don’t miss next week’s episode. It was inspired by a meme on IG the other day that said, I wish I could be as tired as I thought I was in college and as fat as I thought I was in my 20s. Can I get an amen? Because of that, next week’s episode is going to be all about things that I look back on and wish I had done earlier. This one could be a game changer for you, mama!
Finally, if you want to connect between episodes, be sure to give me a follow over on Instagram – @sharonlegercoaching. I would love to support you on your personal growth journey!
If so, be sure to share it with a friend – this helps busy moms like you to find me!
And finally, you can also check out these related episodes that I think you’ll be obsessed with: