Happy Friday! I am wrapping up the Slow Down Accomplish More Challenge today. If we connected through this Challenge, I want to say welcome! If you missed the Challenge I am sure I will offer it again and in the meantime you can check out the daily videos on my {new} Facebook page.

And while you are there I hope you will like/follow it. And connect on Instagram especially because I’m about to head out on a retreat with a dear friend to the Pacific coast and plan to share some behind the scenes pics of our adventure on social media. I’d love to connect with you there!

I get a lot of requests around how to design a solo retreat for yourself and I love this subject!

So I have created a special guide for you: How to pack and prepare for a solo retreat. There is a lot of info here today so I divided it into two posts.

Read on for more on choosing a location (includes fun pics) and creating head space for your retreat. Next week in part two I’ll share tips on packing, resources and food.


PS After I get back from my travels I have a some big retreat-related reveals, including details about my May 2018 retreat on the Nicaraguan coast.

Stay tuned! xo

It can be a little intimidating to set off on your own for a solo/silent retreat but it doesn’t need to be. Here is a guide of my favorite ways to pack and prepare!

The Location
This is really what it is all about. Yes you totally can do a retreat at home, and as a busy woman with a lot to care for you may have to do it this way sometimes (more on that in a sec).

If you can get a way for one or two nights — you don’t have to go to a formal retreat center though if you have one in your area by all means.

Here are some other and accessible options I really enjoy:

Option One: Find A Boutique Hotel Nearby

My most recent retreat was at a hotel in Granada and was fueled almost entirely by my need for a luxury bathtub (the number one thing I miss from the U.S!). So make sure to look for any special features which are important to you. They are part of what makes the experience so restorative.

Option Two: Find a Gem on Airbnb

From airstream campers in east Austin to glamping at sustainable-living farms and beachfront homes in Nicaragua, Airbnb is one of my favorite ways to find unique retreat (and family vacation) settings.

Option Three: Retreat at Home

If you opt to go this direction, and I have totally done it, you’ll need to be extra careful to prepare and feather your nest to create the right mind, body, spirit vibe for the retreat and to separate it from regular life. One way to do this is to set yourself up with a retreat space within your home. My home studio worked well for this before in Dallas. When I had a home retreat I would make sure I had what I needed in the office/studio and shut the door to the rest of the house.

In Nicaragua, my home is so tiny and we use every inch of it all the time, so to have a retreat experience really feels like I have to leave the house. However you do it, psychologically and energetically a retreat is about creating that “time outside of time” feeling for yourself. Here are some tips to set the tone for any retreat:

Turn off your phone

Put an auto responder on your email. Just writing the words “I’m on retreat today” makes it real.

Think about the Mood & Music you will enjoy.

Most recently I’m on a vintage Tropicalia kick. Here is a sample from my favorite album by Caetano Veloso. I like to feel sensual, feminine, and playful on retreat. Find what feels good to you. Beyond the specifics — often one of the most challenging things about planning a retreat is prioritizing your own well-being. This is not easy, I get it.

In fact, someone invited me to come and paid for me to go on my first retreat with a coach about seven years ago (it was an intimate retreat, just the coach, my friend/colleague and me) or I doubt I would have gone. But it turns out to have been one of the more important experiences for me and the subsequent relationship with the coach really helped me find my way through a challenging time and ultimately changed the trajectory of my life. (She was the first one to say “you know this idea you have for a boutique coaching practice… what if you just let yourself one day write it all down?” And so Bird in Hand Coaching was born:).

So pay a lot of attention to your mindset as you prepare for this retreat. Notice the voices that whisper… “this is too indulgent” or “you have too much to do and can’t get away.” While it may not seem like it, this is GOLD! And burning your way through some limiting beliefs on your way to your retreat will only make the work you do there even more powerful. (I cover specific strategies for how to deal with inner critical voices in The Flourish Formula if you need more help here.)

I’m curious — have you ever headed out for a solo retreat? Where do you like to go and why? Leave me a comment over on Facebook.And stay tuned next week for packing tips, favorite guiding books and journals and other strategies for getting the most out of a solo retreat!

Warmly, Courtney​

Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual master’s degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School and is the author of The Flourish Formula: An Overachiever’s Guide to Slowing Down & Accomplishing More and creator of the 8-Step Flourish Coaching Program. Courtney helps busy women unlock their greatest gifts and thrive in their personal lives. In the summer of 2017 she followed a long time dream and moved to Nicaragua with her husband Richard Amory (they met in Nicaragua in the Peace Corps) and their three children where together they are exploring volcanic islands, colonial cities and area beaches. They have made their home in Granada where they are being tutored by their neighbors in the art of slowing down and living more.


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