Designing a Creative Retreat

Blame it on the end of the year and the natural tendency for reflection and planning, but recently I’ve found myself seriously craving time to simultaneously relax, recharge, and reinspire.

There’s a part of me that would love a total do nothing, no work vacation, but then there’s also this part of me that is itching to get started on my big dreams for 2017, so I’m finding myself caught in the middle to a certain extent.

There have been a few too many moments over the past couple of months where I’ve felt on the verge of burnout after a crazy, seemingly never ending stretch, but during the times where I do let myself stand back from the day-to-day to dream a little, I’m instantly energized and excited by what’s to come.

So I’ve decided to take a cue from Kayla and design my very own at home creative retreat.

One of the things that often falls to the wayside for me because it doesn’t quite fit into my work or personal life is taking time to read, to learn, and to write without a disciplined agenda or timeline. So that’s what my creative retreat is all about.

Since I already had a few things scheduled into the calendar this week and I’m accountable for a few client deadlines, I can’t quite take an entire week off, nor can I completely disengage from social media and email, but I’ve decided to make the most of the time I can take instead of holding to an all-or-nothing mentality. I know from experience that I have a tendency to use that as a procrastination method, convincing myself that if I can’t do it the “right” way, I might as well not bother doing it at all. Not this time!

When you work for yourself, it’s important to set your own vacation time, and as I’ve watched many of my friends signing off from work for the holidays, I figured that if I wanted a similar experience, I was going to have to create it myself. No one else closes the doors to my “office” and says “see you in the new year, enjoy your time off!”. That’s on me. Though there are certainly many perks to running your business, there are a few that we miss out on if we don’t create the opportunity for ourselves, so that’s exactly what I’m doing.


Days will include...

//  Reading books

Anything that I already own and have been waiting patiently to read/finish is fair game. 

//  Finishing courses

I have a few courses that that I’ve signed up for but haven’t found the time to dedicate to finishing, so now is the perfect time to spend on them. 

//  Writing

Random thoughts, brilliant ideas, stream of consciousness personal writing. All is fair game, but there will no writing of blog posts, emails, course content, or other work-related writing other than ideas or brief outlines (or what I already have scheduled out)

//  Creative projects

Anything that's non-work related — including anything that has to do with wedding planning!


other guidelines...

//  Limited Posting on social media

It’s a pretty integral part of my business, so I don’t want to completely disengage, but no mindless scrolling, or feeling tied to that feeling of "needing" to post something or scrambling to create content. Whatever feels natural.

//  Once-a-day email check-ins

So my inbox doesn’t get too crazy and I’m still available for clients who need me and projects I already have on-the-go. I know that it will be more stressful for me if I let my inbox fill up, and it simply isn’t realistic to just leave it completely.

//  No tv marathons or movies during the day

Evenings are free time to use as I please, but my days are meant to have intention.

//  no playing around on my computer

Except for the necessary tasks and some writing. There’s some writing I prefer to do by hand in my notebook, but for other forms, I prefer digital, so I don’t want to limit myself.

//  Tasks and projects around the apartment are fine

Especially if they’re things I’ve been meaning to do and just haven’t found the time for — a closet purge, a studio organization session, creating new backdrops, hanging photos, etc.


My thinking is that I kind of get the best of both worlds here — I get to curl up on the couch with an endless pot of tea (which feels extremely luxurious to me), while simultaneously learning and getting re-inspired for everything I have planned for next year.

It feels indulgent and productive at the same time, and it is absolutely not something that I get to do very often. Since this is my first time trying something like this, I’m sure I’ll learn what works and doesn’t — and yes, I promise I’ll share those takeaways! — but I think one thing that’s important for me to remember is that there’s no right or wrong way to do this, and it’s all about paying attention to what I need and following what feels right in the moment.