Despite the numerous benefits of going on a retreat and the allure of an oceanfront bungalow in Costa Rica or cozy yurt in Joshua Tree, it can be difficult to nudge yourself in the direction of booking the trip. One way to make that leap is to retreat with a friend. Solo retreats are wonderful, but bringing a friend to accompany you on a health retreat has some powerful benefits that can enrich your retreat experience and strengthen your friendship.
Here are 10 great reasons to plan a retreat with a friend.
1. AccountabilityYou’re more likely to show up for something difficult or challenging when someone you care about is there to support you. Your busy mind can come up with a myriad of reasons why not to schedule a retreat:
- Maybe you’ve never been on a retreat
- The cost feels overwhelming
- The retreat requires a difficult long-distance jaunt across the world
2. Emotional SupportPerhaps your life is much improved by your regular morning meditation or afternoon vinyasa yoga class. But you’re not sure what to expect when these practices are the focus of your day, for several days in a row. Having a friend by your side can provide the support you need to feel safe and comfortable on a mental health retreat. You’re in it together. You’ll learn together, grow together, and have someone to share your emotions and insights with at the end of the day.
3. Friendship EnrichmentResearch shows that it can take 50 hours of interaction to transition from an acquaintance to a friend, 94 hours to move from casual friend to friend, and 219 hours to cement the bonds of a best friendship. In a time when you rely so heavily on connecting with others via technology, it is especially important for you to make time to connect with others in person. A retreat will provide ample time to have meaningful interactions with a friend. These interactions can give you an immediate sense of warmth and solace and can lead to deep friendship bonds that last a lifetime.
4. Safety and SecurityYou may enjoy traveling outside of your home town, state, or country to immerse yourself in the retreat experience. While traveling far and wide comes with great rewards, it can also carry certain risks. Traveling with a friend can give you an extra sense of safety and security that you may not have when you travel alone.
5. Confidence to Meet New PeopleMost retreats go to great lengths to create a safe space in which to connect deeply with others. While you will get to spend a lot of quality time with your friend on the retreat, you will also meet new people from all over the world and form new bonds. It can be easier to open up to new people when you feel safe. Having a trusted friend by your side to help keep you grounded allows you to take a step outside of your comfort zone and open yourself up to giving and receiving energy from someone new.
6. Lower Travel CostsSometimes the biggest barrier to booking a retreat is the cost. Traveling with a friend can help offset some costs. If you’re driving to your retreat location, you can share the cost of gas. You can share a room instead of staying by yourself. You can share snacks, rides, and maybe even a decadent dessert.
7. New MemoriesTaking an adventure with a friend shapes new memories that you can reflect upon later and cherish forever. You will always remember the people who stood by your side during meaningful moments in life. Retreats encourage you to be present and to be open, which sometimes means having profound or moving experiences.
You will meet interesting and amazing people on a retreat, most of whom you will never see again. The photos you take, the adventures you have, the delicious farm-to-fork food you shared, and the beautiful sunset you watched will always be a talking point for you and your friend.
8. Motivation to Try Something NewRetreats often come with a built-in opportunity to experience something new that you may not do on your own. For example, perhaps your retreat offers a day-trip to river raft or rock climb, or a cooking class. A friend can be just the motivation you need to say “yes” to something you wouldn’t dare try on your own. You might stumble upon a newfound passion that you had never even considered, and this can open up a world of possibilities for future endeavors.
9. A New Perspective—Together!“Aha” moments abound on retreats. While on retreat you may find something shifting in your emotional, spiritual, or physical body. Having a friend to process with can be invaluable. Your friend can be a wonderful sounding board for new ideas or perspectives that are milling about in your head. Sharing this experience will also bring you and your friend closer together, as you look ahead to seeing your regular world with a newfound freshness.
10. Deepening of Self-ExaminationOften the people closest to you have a clearer understanding of who you are than you do of yourself. Seeing yourself through your friends’ eyes can encourage you to reflect upon your thoughts and emotions in a deeper way than you would on your own. Likewise, your observations about your friend’s thoughts and feelings can plant the seeds of personal growth in their hearts and minds.
Each of these reasons on its own is a good reason to go on a retreat with a friend. All 10? It’s time to synchronize your calendars and make your travel plans. This is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss.