Mini Retreats: An easy way to schedule regular breaks away from your business
In this episode of The Selah Entrepreneur, we are diving into the topic of taking breaks from your business.
As someone who has been an entrepreneur and business owner since 2008, I know firsthand the struggles that come with constantly working and striving towards success.
But I truly believe that taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining balance, preventing burnout, and gaining fresh perspective on your business. I share my own experience at a retreat center, and the transformative effects it had on my life and business.
Plus, we’ll look at:
- The benefits of mini retreats
- How to make them happen despite a busy schedule
- Suggestions for how to best make use of that time.
So tune in and learn why taking a break may just be the best thing you can do for your business!
Links & Resources:
- FREEBIE: Feeling stressed and anxious on your journey to find clarity? A practice of daily gratitude can make a huge difference. In fact, if you let it, it can change everything. Jumpstart your gratitude habit with my 7-Days of Gratitude Starter kit here: https://selahstudios.co/gratitude
- Take a Photo Noticing Walk: A Mini-Retreat Guide: https://selahstudios.co/miniretreats/
- Design a simple and sustainable business that you love, and can steward well with the Selah Society Mastermind here: https://SelahStudios.co/mastermind
Listen & Subscribe:
Marta Goertzen [00:00:00]:
Have you ever felt like your business is running your life? That you are about ready to throw in the towel, that nothing is going right, that you are feeling so frustrated and that you’re just saying, “I’m done, I can’t do this?”
If you’re my age and you can think back to those Calgon commercials as “Calgon take me away”. Have you ever had one of those Calgon moments that I just I’m done, I can’t do this anymore? This is probably a sign that you need to take a break from your business.
And so today I would love to talk with you about the idea of taking regular breaks from your business and introduce you to the concept of a mini retreat and reasons why we avoid taking retreats and why it’s hard to take a break from our business. And then also three very important reasons why we need to.
So join me today as we talk about mini retreats.
Hello there and welcome to the Selah Entrepreneur podcast, where we take a look at doing online business a little differently for women over 50.
I’m your host, Marta Goertzen, entrepreneur and business owner since 2008. And for far too long, I struggled with trying to figure out what I wanted to be when my business and I grew up. I was tired of buying all the courses and downloading all the freebies all in the hope that the answer I was longing for would suddenly appear.
Marta Goertzen [00:01:15]:
Turns out, clarity doesn’t come in an instant. It’s a journey of discovery and finding answers layer by layer. As I took action, I learned what type of work I really loved to do, who I had fun serving, and the problems I love to help them solve.
That clarity gave me the confidence to start designing a simple, sustainable business that I could steward well. And I’d love to help you do the same. If you’re ready to find the clarity you’re longing for, then you’re in the right place. Let’s take this journey of discovery together. Welcome back to the Selah Entrepreneur podcast.
Marta Goertzen [00:01:49]:
This is episode number three, and today we’re talking about three reasons you need to schedule regular breaks from your business. And I’m going to introduce you to the idea of taking a mini retreats.
To start us off, I’d like to share a story with you about a retreat I took when I was in college. I went to a private Christian college and we had to take a class called Christian classics.
Sadly, I don’t remember much about what we talked about in that class. That was a few years ago or even exactly what books we read. I’m sure I have a list somewhere. What I do remember, however, was an introduction to the idea of a silent retreats.
Marta Goertzen [00:02:25]:
And to be totally honest, I was dreading this. I didn’t really want to go. I was intrigued, but I was like, I don’t know.
College was a wonderful experience but it was also a very difficult experience. I was taking an extra heavy credit load. I was often working internships and work study and then also working off campus, trying to keep up with the expenses of a private college. And so this was another evening out, another commitment that I wasn’t sure I wanted to make or really had time for.
Marta Goertzen [00:02:56]:
But, thankfully, I went.
Being silent is hard for me. I’m not a huge talker. I’ve never been, except sometimes with my sister. There’s very few people that I can sit and talk to on the phone for 30, 40 minutes. So being on a silent retreat in college, since I was in the dorms, I was meeting friends for meals, I was in classes, I was at work. And so the thought of being still and quiet in these moments and for that long, it’s like, I don’t know, this sounds kind of strange. And then also, I did not look forward to having to sit still.
Marta Goertzen [00:03:37]:
And that’s what I had in my mind. The monk version of a silent retreat. I’m not a good person to sit still. I’m a fidgeter. I get up and down from my desk, I rustle papers, I play with pens. So this all felt intriguing on one hand and really difficult on the other hand.
Thankfully, it ended up being an amazing experience. And it’s something I remember from my senior year probably more than just about anything else.
Marta Goertzen [00:04:04]:
Once we arrived to the retreat center, and it was a gorgeous piece of property owned by the college that had acres and had huge playground areas, had a huge lake with a dock and had these wonderful outbuildings.
One of them was like a small one room schoolhouse, and we were allowed to wander at will and go find a place to just be ourselves. Now, several of us did go into this one room school, but we made sure to spread out, and we weren’t allowed to talk to each other until the end of the evening, until the end of the experience after dinner, and we were dismissed.
That’s the other thing I was a little worried about. A silent dinner. How does that work? Thankfully, it went really, really well. What I didn’t realize before this experience is how transformative it would be.
It is something I have remembered, it is something I thoroughly enjoyed, and it’s something that I took forward with me into life and especially into business.
Marta Goertzen [00:05:01]:
And it was, in many ways, what we’re talking about here today, a mini retreat.
But first, let’s take a look with the idea of what it means to take a retreat. A retreat, by definition, is an act or process of withdrawing, especially from what is difficult, dangerous or disagreeable. We often think of a military retreats where they’re taking a step back. A retreat can be considered a place of privacy or safety.
A long time ago, I read a book called An Invitation to Retreat and in it, the author called a retreat a strategic withdrawal, and that idea has really stuck with me.
Marta Goertzen [00:05:42]:
A strategic withdrawal is stepping back on purpose. It’s intentional. It’s stepping away from what we could probably call the front line of life, of business, of client care, of learning, of managing, of being a CEO of our business.
It’s a time to rest and recharge the positive results I experienced from that silent retreat. That mini retreat showed me that I needed to incorporate this into my life. Honestly, it took becoming an entrepreneur for me to really fully and truly grasp the importance of doing this on a regular basis and not just wishing I could take a retreat or get away.
So often when we hear the word retreat, we think of these grand experiences of going to a four star resort or booking an Airbnb for a long weekend or setting up a time to go to an expensive hotel. And these are fantastic. Getting away for a long weekend, finding on a hotel that we can just get away from our everyday schedule.
Marta Goertzen [00:06:49]:
I actually do think these are necessary and I think these are needed and these are an amazing experience.
The problem is that to make them a regular practice, they’re often hard to schedule, they’re difficult logistics to figure out. A lot of times they end up being more expensive than we’re prepared for. And because it just feels too big, they end up being expensive and time consuming to organize and we just give up on the idea.
So enter the idea of taking a mini retreat.
A mini retreat I found was something that was doable and repeatable and something that I could actually add to my schedule.
And I still got amazing benefits from. A retreats and especially a mini retreat, there are three things that I think that mini retreats are crucial, especially for entrepreneurs, is number one, they’re restorative when we feel spent, used up, burned out, drained of life, and that we’re ready to throw in the towel for our business, or we’ve dealt with a difficult client or a difficult project.
Marta Goertzen [00:07:51]:
We need that time to feel restored and to rejuvenate and to get some balance and perspective back. To realize that we were in a difficult season or we were a difficult moment, and it’s not time to throw in the towel, it’s time to take a break.
Reason number two is that retreats are very healing.
We need times of silence, we need time out in nature, we need time to get away and just hear the words that our bodies and our brains and our minds are saying I am done, I need a break, stop forcing me to do more work.
Oftentimes we’re so busy that we’re rushing and we’re not listening, we’re not hearing. And pretty soon we either get sick or we just need a mental health break. Our brains and our bodies shut down and say, I am going to take a break whether you feel you’re ready to or not, retreats are healing and allow us to take those breaks before we are forced to take a break.
Marta Goertzen [00:08:51]:
Reason number three that a mini retreat is actually very effective at relieving stress.
When we can relieve stress, lower our blood pressure, and take a breath where it’s healing and stress relieving. These kind of overlap. But a lot of times we’re so stressed, we find that our hands are clenched, we find our shoulders are scrunched up next to our ears. So we get away to spend some time with friends, to laugh, to watch a movie, go take a long hike, go do something that’s different from everyday life.
This is always a good thing and gives us the benefits that we need in order to get back to business, back to taking care of our clients, back to marketing, back to learning, back to visioneering for our business. And mini retreats give us an opportunity to get back to that with a fresh perspective and with energy that we were lacking before we took the retreats. Again, there are times for what I call the big deal retreat, the fancy ones that get us away, that really give us a real true break.
Marta Goertzen [00:09:58]:
But mini retreats have many of the same benefits and they’re easier to schedule and they’re easier to add to your calendar. But why don’t we take retreats? Why don’t we take a break from our business? For a lot of us, It’s family. A lot of us are caregivers for kids, for grandkids, for extended family, for aging parents. And so we often feel the need, and we do need to, make them a priority. And so they become an excuse for us not to take a break. Our schedule. Our schedules are so jampacked with caregiving, with business, with church events, our community events. And so we get so full that our calendar, just looking at our calendar and we feel overwhelmed and we see little to no free time and so I don’t have time, I can’t take them any retreat. Another one is guilt, especially as women, a lot of times taking care of ourselves and taking a break, it can feel lazy, it can feel like we don’t deserve it.
Marta Goertzen [00:11:00]:
We feel like we’re imposing on somebody else to ask them that we need to take this break. And I don’t know about you, but a lot of times it’s hard for me to tell a client, no, I’m actually going to be out of the office, I’m getting better at it. But it’s something I’ve had to learn. We feel guilty because they are expecting us to be available and because we haven’t set really good boundaries we feel guilty that we’re not going to be there when they need us. They will survive something that we have to learn and show ourselves and build those healthy boundaries. But they will survive even though we’re taking a break and taking a mini retreat. Another reason we don’t take them, and I don’t know that you would normally think about this, but it’s something I’ve thought a lot about over the years, is that being busy is an avoidance technique.
Marta Goertzen [00:11:45]:
And there’s things that we need to address, things that we need to hear, things that we need to understand. But by keeping busy, we’re avoiding having to deal with those emotions, deal with those things that are in front of us that are yelling for our attention. So a lot of times we don’t take mini retreats because we’re afraid of what we’re going to learn, what we’re going to hear, what we’re going to realize. And being busy is much easier than taking a break and taking that retreat. So to keep it really simple, we need to find a way to take mini retreats that are doable and repeatable. So I’d like to share with you three tips to plan your first or your next mini retreat. And tip number one is keep it simple. And this is something I cannot overemphasize.
Marta Goertzen [00:12:29]:
Keep it simple. Simple is doable. Simple is repeatable. And oftentimes when we plan or try to plan a vacation or a big retreat, plans fall through. We think about going to a four star hotel, it’s expensive. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone on a big vacation or we’ve taken this put in the expense to a big retreat, how many times you get disappointed by the results and you feel stressed by the time you get back. Maybe you haven’t experienced that. I have.
Marta Goertzen [00:13:07]:
I can often put so much expectation on something big that I’m disappointed by the time I get back. Doing something small and simple, that only takes a few hours, maybe half a day, maybe a little bit longer. My expectations are a lot simpler. My expectations of what can happen and the results are much more at a level that a mini retreat can handle. And so the point is for you to get away from your everyday to do list the demands on your time, the demands on your energy, the demands on your mental energy. And again, keep it simple, keep it doable. Here’s a couple of ideas to jumpstart your idea, your list. And I’d love you to start making a list of things that you would look forward to doing, things that you would actually like to put on your schedule so that you’re more likely to do it.
Marta Goertzen [00:14:00]:
So here are a few things from my list. I do take my dogs for a walk every day, but there are locations that I would love to go visit that are going to need more than I can do on a weekday morning. And so finding a park I haven’t visited for a long time, that has a great forest trail or going on a longer hike, you may want to go visit a museum or an art exhibit. Maybe it’s time to go schedule a dinner with a friend you haven’t seen in a long time. Maybe it’s time to set aside a specific block of time for you to focus on a hobby that’s fallen by the wayside because business has taken over. Maybe you need time to create something with your hands rather than typing on a keyboard. Baking, sewing, crafting, there’s all sorts of things that you could do. Maybe it’s time to go on a picnic. You know what, sometimes I just crave a road trip, but I don’t have time for a long road trip.
Marta Goertzen [00:14:50]:
So finding a place on the map that I would love to go explore and so jumping in the car and going and finding it and watching everything that’s along the roadsode along the way until you get to that point, that’s something that I often long to do. One of my favorite ways to take a mini retreat actually, is what I call a photo noticing walk. And it’s taking your camera and going exploring a park, a trail, it could be in your own yard, it could be all sorts of locations. The point is to go somewhere where you need to slow down long enough to actually see. And that’s the beauty and what I think of taking a camera or your phone so that you’re looking through the viewfinder, you’re looking through the screen on your phone and you’re looking for things to photograph. And when you’re taking the time to actually look and really see what’s going on around you, you find things that you would normally miss because you’ve been rushing by it. Again, a mini retreat is a place, an opportunity for you to slow down and notice how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking about, or just finding a way to get completely distracted and go laugh or go spend time with a friend who’s going to encourage you, that’s going to give you encouragement.
Marta Goertzen [00:16:09]:
And it’s a beautiful thing when you can go take a retreat and take a step back from your business. Tip number two is I want you to take something from that list. One of my favorite mini retreats that I took recently was I wanted dinner and I wanted a sunset. So I chose a night, an evening that I knew that sunset was going to be not too late. Because here, now that we’re in the spring and summer, our sunsets can get pretty late. So I picked a night that wasn’t too late and I could just go. I went and got some fast food, I got some takeout and went and sat at the beach so I could watch the sunset. That was my mini retreat and it was wonderful.
Marta Goertzen [00:16:59]:
Had food, it had the beach, had a sunset and it was beautiful. And beauty for me is an important component for a mini retreat. So once I picked that the activity, I wanted it, I planned it and I scheduled it and added it to my calendar. So I want you to look through that list that you’ve been making of ideas and things that you would like to do and I would like you to put it on your schedule ideally within the next 30 days, preferably if you could do it within the next two weeks because this is not a big commitment. It is a short amount of time, which is what makes a mini retreat so much fun. And once you have it on your schedule, I want you to commit to taking it. And I don’t want you to say I will take a break after after that event or that to do list is done, or that’s a reward for having this project completed and meeting a goal. That is not the purpose of a mini retreat.
Marta Goertzen [00:17:56]:
Yes, it is a reward, but it’s more what I want you to look at it as is developing a habit of rest. And so I don’t want you to wait until I’ll look for time or when I have time I’ll do this. I want you to schedule it and put it on your calendar. Tip number three is see tip number one, and see tip number two. And this may sound like I’m being facetious and trying to make a joke out of it and I’m really not. Because too often we over complicate the idea of taking a break from our business and we expect too much of taking a whole retreat. But by keeping it simple, keeping it a mini retreat, it makes it doable and it makes more likely that you’re going to do it.
Marta Goertzen [00:18:36]:
And so I want you to develop this resting habit. I want you to take this mini retreats habit, keep it simple and keep it repeatable, keep it doable. And I want you to wash, rinse, repeat because that is how you learn to develop a habit of rest. And mini retreats are a great way to develop that restful habit. Long time ago I heard this quote from Terri Miller and she said, “Take a break from the ones you love so that you can love them better”. Back then she had a blog called Mommy Sabbatical and she was walking busy moms through the idea of taking a break from your family. And so when you are taking her quote, which I really do love, “Take a break from the ones you love so that you can love them better.” The ones you love absolutely is your family.
Marta Goertzen [00:19:23]:
But if you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, we love our businesses, but we need a break from our businesses so that we can come back, rejuvenate with fresh perspective and love our business better. We love our clients, we love serving them, but we need a break so we can recharge and refresh and come back and be able to serve and love on them better. So quick recap here. I want you to make a list of super simple fun retreat ideas that you could take and I want you to keep them very simple, I want you to keep them doable. I want you to pick one and plan one for the next 14 to 30 days. The sooner the better because the sooner you do it, the sooner you will commit to it. And if you book it out too far, you’re probably not going to do it. So I want you to plan one for the 14 days to 30 days, and then I want you to repeat it.
Marta Goertzen [00:20:15]:
Once you take that retreat, I think you will see the benefits of taking that retreat and you’re going to want it. But I don’t want you to say, okay, I’ll do a next one when I will do one after this or after that. I want you to go ahead and put it back on your schedule and I want you to see if you could take one at least once a month. It can be an hour, it can be a few hours, it can be half a day, it can be a day. Just make sure that it’s on your schedule and that it’s repeated often. In the Selah Mastermind. This is something that we talk about a lot. I ask everybody on Fridays how did your week go, what happened that you were very excited about? And then also what’s your plan for rest? In incorporating rest into your schedule over the weekend or in the coming week, how are you going to add rest into your day? Part of being an entrepreneur is learning to establish healthy boundaries and doing it from a place of rest and learning not to burn the candle at both ends so that you have a business that you really enjoy and is not draining you of life. And that is one of the things that we love to do in the Mastermind.
Marta Goertzen [00:21:23]:
In the Selah Mastermind, we really like to talk about developing business models that are simple, that are sustainable, that you can steward well, so that you can steward your time, your efforts, your money, your energy levels. And we want to make sure that you are supported along that journey. If you would like to be encouraged in your restful habits as an entrepreneur and have rest a part of your business plan, I would like to invite you to check out the Selah Mastermind. You can visit SelahStudios.Co/mastermind and especially if you feel stuck in your business or you find yourself struggling to balance life, health, family, your stress levels, all while running a business. The Selah Mastermind may be the breath of fresh air that you’re looking for. We would love to surround you and support you as you develop and grow your business and you learn to create a sustainable business model that really serves you and allows you to serve the people you love to serve. The Selah community is a place where you can feel that you belong and you can make personal connections and get clarity about your business plans and ideas. We know that business often feels hard.
Marta Goertzen [00:22:27]:
It does not have to feel hard all the time. So if you dream of a simplified and sustainable business model that you can steward well, I’d invite you to check out the Selah Mastermind again at SelahStudios.co/mastermind. Thanks for joining me. I hope you found some clarity or an AHA moment that inspires you to take some action today. Before you go, could I ask a favor? I would really appreciate it if you could take a few seconds and leave a review of this show in the Apple podcast app. Your review really does make an impact and help spread the word about this show and gets it in the hands of other women who are looking to build simple and sustainable businesses of their own. Until next time.
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer, WordPress Website developer, and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her dogs Oliver & Mochi. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. Marta also fully believes that change starts with gratitude and that gratitude can change everything. Find out how with the “Grateful Friday 7-Days of Gratitude Starter Kit”