beautiful creekWhen times get tough, what’s one of the best things you can do for yourself?

Perhaps it’s time for a retreat.

You may protest, saying you don’t have the time or money, but check out these three different types of retreats:

The at-home retreat: This won’t cost you any money and is the easiest type of retreat to pull off. Your only challenge is to actually do it. When you stay home, it’s easy to fall into your familiar routine. You don’t want to do that for your at-home retreat.

You might make the retreat for an hour, or a morning. Start small. You can always do a longer one next time. Set an intention for your retreat. Ask yourself, “What is it that I need right now?” and let the answer to that question guide your retreat.

Set your home up so that it is as quiet and retreat-like as possible: turn off your phones and electronic devices, remove all obvious distractions and prepare yourself for a wonderful adventure…a retreat into yourself.

The meditative retreat: This type of retreat is about finding some peace of mind. Whether your call it prayer, meditation or something else, the goal is to slow down, relax and rejuvenate.

I’ve recently been on meditative retreats in three very different locales: the first retreat was in a large mansion, the second at a monastery (and I’m not even Catholic) and the third was in a retreat center that closely resembled army barracks. With these kinds of retreats, you get what you pay for.

If you pick a structured retreat, there may be other people who walk you through the process. If you choose an unstructured retreat, set an intention for your retreat and keep checking in to stay in touch with your intention.

Most of us lose focus on a retreat; so don’t sweat it. If you find yourself fantasizing about the gorgeous person meditating next to you, that’s normal. Instead of beating yourself up for losing your focus, just return to your breath or whatever your intention is. Our mind is like a “monkey mind”, it just bounces all around. We can’t tame it, but we can get to know it better and make peace with it.

The self-care retreat: This type of retreat is about taking extra-good care of yourself: mind/body/spirit. It’s really nice when you can go to a place that offers all three. This type of retreat typically costs more than the others, because a retreat like this typically involves being pampered and cared for in many ways, e.g., great food, fitness classes, nice accommodations, personal attention and spa treatments like massages and facials. I went on a week retreat at Rancho La Puerta, about 30 miles east of San Diego, just across the border in Tecate, Mexico.

The accommodations were beautiful, the food was healthy and tasty, the facilities were immaculate and the classes offered ranged from nurturing (Feldenkreis, Tai Chi and Crystal Bowl Healing) to intense (9-mile mountain hikes with a 2000 foot climb, Boot Camp workouts, Par Cour and pushups done upside down while suspended from the ceiling).

Part of the appeal of this kind of retreat is the energy of your fellow retreat-goers and the expertise and encouragement from the retreat staff.

At Rancho La Puerta, I met really interesting people from all over the world…and we were all there to focus on getting healthier. There were five swimming pools, three Jacuzzis and dozens of fitness classes offered on an hourly basis. And, yes, there were facials and massages (I had one of each) and even reflexology (try it, it’s great).

No matter what kind of retreat you choose – whether you need rest, a break from a busy social season, a chance to grieve the loss of a love, or an experience of meditation or a total escape to a luxurious world like Rancho La Puerta – relax, be kind to yourself and enjoy your retreat!