You’ve heard the word countless times. Your friends have gone on retreat, you’ve even considered it yourself. But… why? What is the point, the necessity, the draw? Isn’t it just like taking a vacation?

There is a different intention to a retreat. The etymology of the word comes from “pull back” – and for many, this makes it the perfect antidote to the fast-paced overwhelm of our modern lives. To physically, mentally, and energetically pull away from all of that which drains us, and refresh in a somewhat-structured way. So, here’s five reasons why we think you should go on a retreat!

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#1 To create intentional space

The key here? A retreat is intentionally created and purposeful in its context. Stepping away gives you space to focus on what truly nourishes you at this point in your life, whether that’s yoga, meditation, dance, nutrition, or even goal-setting and business planning. What do you wish you had more time for in your everyday life? What feels crucial to your wellbeing, but often gets missed?

When you take a retreat, you can focus your energy on exactly that. Turn off your email. Leave your cell phone in your room. What do you really, really want to do with each moment?

#2 It provides a different perspective

By getting out of your normal routine and, in some cases, handing over the planning to someone else, you create an environment that lends itself to a shift in perspective. What aspects of your life could use a little refresh? Where could you benefit from seeing yourself, your job, your future vision, through a different lens? Particularly if you take a retreat in a different culture, you may find that your everyday way of interacting with the world changes in unexpected ways.

#3 You don’t have to worry about the details

Have you become a human doing rather than a human being? Set down your to-do lists and just practice being yourself. Someone else will coordinate the day trip to the local town. Someone else will worry about what you will have for dinner. If you’d like, someone else will even make your bed. A retreat is the perfect space to let yourself switch out of “get stuff done” mode and settle into “take care of myself” mode. Each retreat offers a varying level of service depending on what you seek. So go ahead, really relax. Which brings us to…

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#4 To get inspired

Give yourself the gift of time and space to be inspired in ways you haven’t yet imagined. Many retreats have a focus: wellness, spirituality, healing, writing that book you’ve dreamed of for years, or being of service to a community in need. They can range from being highly structured with workshops and 1:1 consultations to a more vacation-esque vibe with some yoga and wellness support. Retreats (and their facilitators) are intended to help you tune in to something inspiring. Whatever your focus, you’re bound to stumble into unique and surprising things. So allow yourself to drink in the nourishment that can be found in unknown situations — after all, to see different results in life you have to step outside of the same old routines!

 #5 To make lifelong connections

When you join a group of people who are coming together for the same purpose, whether it be a love of nutritious food or for deep personal growth, you’re bound to find greater resonance and possibility for connection than on your average social outing. There is something magical about a shared intent and interest that many find deeply nourishing. Whether you find your forever tribe or a more general sense of I’m not alone in this, the other people on your retreat will be a part of what makes it so memorable.

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Why take a plain-old vacation when you can take a retreat and come home feeling inspired, refreshed, connected, and relaxed? It’s time to use those vacation days for something really life-changing.