Design Your Own Mini-Retreat

Ever wish you were a celebrity off for a spa retreat?  You don’t need to be a red carpet regular to treat yourself to a rejuvenating, relaxing experience.  I was desperate for some TLC after a crazy week, so I decided to spend my Saturday doing whatever I felt like doing.  Here are 5 things I did–without any pre-planning–that really fired up my creative spirit:

1. Reassess my strengths (and weaknesses)

Dr. Martin Seligman’s site Authentic Happiness has an incredible range of free self-assessment tools.  One questionnaire assesses where you are relative to 24 “signature strengths.”  Two powerful personal take-aways:  A. I’m not taking enough advantage of my #1 “signature strength”  therefore ironically I’m not enjoying the things I enjoy the most.  B. My weakest showing in the strength department will threaten my family happiness if I don’t work on developing it.

Use these fascinating questionnaires to jump start your own self-coaching process.

2.  Set up Google Reader to feed me daily information about topics of interest

Google Reader or any RSS reader  is a great way to stay on top of the
latest information in your areas of interest.  I’m now able to quickly scan news media and blogs on creativity, baby boomers, innovation, social media, simple living, and spirituality.  The best part of this step is that you have to wander around the web and read things in order to figure out what things you want to read on a regular basis.

3.  Stroll through a virtual museum

Julia Margaret Cameron, The Mountain Nymph, Sweet Liberty, June 1866, albumen print from collodion negative

Many of the world’s most renowned art museums have online tours and streaming video of portions of their collection.  Today I visited the National Gallery of Art, where I was introduced to Julia Margaret Cameron, a 19th century British photographic pioneer.  The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has an impressive collection of interactive tours.  Delightful, and no crowds!

4.  Get lost in nature

OK, this I did outside in real physical space, taking advantage of an especially warm day in Colorado Springs to wander around Garden of the Gods.  But if the weather is cold and stormy, you can get your nature fix online thanks to this compilation of slideshows on  YouTube.

5.  Enjoy a long, hot bath/shower

Well, I’m not a bath person, but I’m famous for lingering in the shower until the hot water is gone.  I ended my day with a moist soothing shower.  Promising ideas kept flooding my brain as I inhaled the lavender scent of the body wash.  If you enjoy baths, pamper yourself with a few drops of aromatic oil, some candles, and relaxing music.

So that’s my one day creativity retreat.  Lots of people would pay big bucks at Canyon Ranch for a day like this.  We can do it for free!  I’d love to hear what you do to recharge, refresh, and reinspire!

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