When I was ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, going on regular retreats was one of the crucial things I did to help me to fully recover. Every time I came home from a retreat, my mind was clearer and I felt a fresh spark of energy and vitality in my system. Retreats can help you to recover your health and wellness too.
Here are 6 ways retreat can support you as you heal:
- Retreats give you the space to accept and surrender to what is happening now
One of the first stages in any healing path is to accept how things are in the moment. When we have resistance to our current situation, it puts more stress on our system, and more stress means more symptoms.
When you let go and accept what is, just for now, you create a foundation of inner calm for your nervous system, to support moving towards healing. Retreats give you the space to let go into acceptance and surrender to what is now.
Retreats can even help you find the space to be grateful for your health challenges – helping you to recognise that without them, you may not have taken this time for inner work or the experience of being on retreat, bathed in peace and the beauty of nature.
2. Retreats give you the opportunity for deep self-care and to learn new tools to help you heal and grow
Any healing path requires us to be dedicated to self-care. This can look very different for different people, but essentially self-care is anything that deeply nourishes you; meditation, yoga, relaxing in the garden, a walk in the woods, time with friends or a group you love.
On a retreat you can do all of these things, and often more, such as learning new tools to facilitate physical healing. You get the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in deep self-care and radically support the next stage in your wellness recovery.
3. Retreats give you an opportunity to experience a break from your symptoms and give you a sense of what’s possible
When you go on a retreat, and practice acceptance, letting go, self-care and learn new healing tools, you are likely to experiences a deeper sense of wellbeing and some easing of your symptoms. This can help to show you what’s possible, which can give you the faith that you can recover. It is crucial to keep coming back to a strong faith in the fact that many people have fully healed from chronic illness, and you can too.
4. Group retreats provide a space for a like-minded community
We are social beings who benefit from being in a nurturing group space. Retreats provide the perfect opportunity for being in a safe group. Here’s a note from Jen, our co-director, on the effect that joining a small healing group had on her healing journey:
“I had no idea what I was going to get from, or be able to give to, the small coaching group that I joined when I was mid-way through my healing journey. I was craving support, but was convinced I only needed 1-1 guidance and was not looking for a group setting to deal with anything I was going through. In fact, I was looking for the opposite – to remove myself as much from other people as possible, to avoid the difficult feelings and behaviour that I experienced when around people. I only joined because I felt I had no other support option available to me at that time.
What very quickly became apparent to me when I joined the small coaching group was that this was a new and different space than anything I had ever experienced. I became aware of how little I trusted others, how guarded I had become and how closed off. It triggered my Helper and Fixer parts and I found myself tired and confused at the end of sessions. But as time went on, I was invited to bring these very triggered parts and all the issues that were coming to the surface for me into the small circle of women present. And every time I did, I got the most unexpected things back: understanding, space and air to express myself, validation, deep listening, feedback, holding, empathy, and the one thing I was yearning for the most, connection.
I’ve kept in touch with most of the women I have met through the small circles I joined early on in my journey, and continue to feel connection, inspiration, deep understanding and joy in these relationships.
Turns out, the one thing I was most fearful of and uncomfortable doing was the exact thing I needed to take my self-awareness, self-care and healing to the next level.”
5. Retreats give you space to work on developing presence and deal with patterns that emerge in the present
All the meditation, mindfulness and the quiet that is generally found in a retreat environment gives you the space to develop your capacity to be in the moment more fully. To connect with a deeper and more spacious part of yourself. From this space and with the tools you are practising, you can deal with what arises with more resources and develop skills that will last you a lifetime.
6. Retreats give you space to release emotions about the past
Often emotions about the past can remain stuck and frozen, which can contribute to our symptoms. When we take time away from our daily life to go on retreat, we have space to bring the light of awareness to these past events, and gently release what is being held there.
Simply being on retreat can assist this, and it’s especially good to go on a retreat where you have the opportunity to learn and practice tools to assist this process, within a supportive and held container.
I have so many happy memories of retreats while I was recovering, e.g.;
~ the first release of emotion from the past that flowed through me on a retreat by a lake in Scotland
~ when I was on a retreat in the Peak District and managed to walk 3 miles for the first time in four years
~ the vibrant energy I came home with after all of the retreats I went on.
Retreats were a crucial part of my recovery journey and my spiritual journey to a deeper place of wholeness. May they become a part of yours too.
If you’re interested in retreats, we invite you to join us for our upcoming ‘Healing Chronic Illness ~ The Empowered Feminine Way’ three-day retreat in the beautiful Derbyshire on 9th – 12th October 2019. Please go here or email us at [email protected] to find out more. We will be exploring a range of tools included meditation, EFT and Family Constellations, all within the safe space of a conscious women’s circle.
To work with Frances and our team of experienced coaches, Join The Women’s Wellness Circle – an online community of big-hearted, courageous women ready to support you to fully recover your health and give your gifts to the world.
Receive our free ‘Five Steps to Reclaim Your Health’ course – an inspiring and practical mini-course for women with chronic health challenges who want to live a healthy and purposeful life.
Do you know any big, hearted, courageous women who are healing from chronic health challenges? Share this blog with them and spread the love ~ they’ll thank you for it.
Frances co-founded The Women’s Wellness Circle in 2016 as a platform to support women on the healing journey from chronic illness.
Frances as a Gupta Coach (2008) operates from Sheffield, UK and mainly offers coaching online. She is a practitioner of Hypnotherapy, EFT, NLP, Life Coaching, Bodywork and Family Constellations. She specialises in coaching people on aspects of the Gupta Program, on working with people with MCS and with people who have experienced trauma prior to illness developing using tools from EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to assist release. She can offer sessions by phone and Skype, as well as face to face in Sheffield. Frances had ME/CFS herself for 5 years from 2002-2007, and has enjoyed many years of full recovery including developing a practice supporting others to recovery, running a half marathon and since July 2013 becoming a mum.