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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Keeping You Sane: Do You Need a Day Out?

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Nov 9th 2009

In previous blog posts I've written about the importance of taking a time-out from daily busy-ness for our own health and well-being. However, I've rarely talked about something a bit more daring and that is this idea of a daylong (or more) retreat from our usual busy-ness and distractions.

I'm not talking about a holiday vacation, but a day being with ourselves in some way where we actually experience ourselves and what is around us, both pleasant and unpleasant in the present moment.

Many people call this a retreat experience.

If you're at all interested, or even have a barely audible voice deep inside that is interested, I highly recommend this.

There are many different types of daylong retreats. Those that are specifically focused on a particular topic (e.g., women's issues, emotional healing, cultivating compassion, religious-based, stress reduction, etc...).

Even just taking a day out with yourself or with a friend, to go out on a hike if that's not something you usually do can be considered a retreat.

Those who follow my blogs know I am a proponent for learning how to become more present to our daily lives for our own health and well-being (aka "mindfulness"). Many of these retreats offer mindfulness-based approaches. For example, individual teachers host mindfulness retreats (e.g. , Mindful Living Daylong Retreat for Resiliency and Emotional Healing During Difficult Times, Saturday November 21st near Santa Monica, Ca), or Centers run retreats such as Spirit Rock in Northern California or on the East Coast.

Abraham Joshua Heschel said, "Life is routine and routine is resistance to wonder."

Usually we're the last ones on our "to-do" lists and it's very easy to get caught up in the routine of everyday life. Retreats help us take a step-out of our routines to help us get some perspective and come back with the wonder that we may be missing in everyday life.

Please share your thoughts, stories, and questions about retreats. Your additions here provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

a break - Dee - May 8th 2010

I use to hide in a large closet upstairs when my boys were small, when my husband was home of course. I had a lamp and a book, a snack and drink and some activities to do and a big ol sleeping bag and pillow. Oh how I miss those days. My boys are grown , 13 and 22 and I miss thoses little retreats I use to take in that silly closet. I have gotten out of the habit because I think I dont need them now but I still do. I am going to find a way to have my little retreats again but they dont need to be in my closet anymore LOL. I have a job and can afford to go someplace for a day. Thanks for the reminder,

Wish I could get a break - Dudu - Nov 16th 2009

Hi Doc I am glad you posted this message as mental as I am I seem to still not get the message of me needing a break.

I am only 21 but I still have a problem communicating with my parents and they just don't help the situation they freak out all the time and force me to communicate, but I find it difficult. I get no help in my disorder which is Bipolar and that makes it difficult to deal with it.

Regards Dudu

Dear Cathy & Resa - Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. - Nov 10th 2009

Hello Cathy and Resa,

My heart goes out to both of you. Please know that a day out may seem like an aspiration and far out of reach right now. However, even stealing away 5 minutes for a short retreat from time to time or even once a day may be what the doctor ordered. If this seems like too much, even just 1 minute to allow yourself to take a time-out can be a wonderful gift. 

The point here is create a space for connection, which often lends itself toward self care.

May you be healthy in body and mind, free from fear and safe and protected from inner and outer harm.

- Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.



Re Cathy's comment on "take a break" - Resa - Nov 10th 2009

Cathy, you are so right.  Even though I'm supposed to be the 'ill' one...I am expected to solve every one else's problems.  My primary nemesis right now is my spouse.  Do I get any help for my physical and emotional problems...yea right.  Or, i'm accused of being a pill junkie and my prescribed medication is the root of my imbalance.  Just this mornng after I was accused of being crazy and just hard to deal with.  I felt accused of something I didn't do.  He says it is because the drugs affect my memory.  Well, he's clinical deaf in one ear (side I sit on) and swears I told him different.  Felt as though he was wanting me to walk away, on his way out the door I grabbed my gun from the chest.  I don't know that I would have really hurt myself but I have tried before.  Right now I would like to just disappear.  People like us don't have the "miracle cure" such as hot bubble baths with candles.  Please, who are they kidding. He saw and grabbed my gun.  Lots of them in the gun case.  I went out and looked at them and shut the cabinet.  No bubble baths and candles for me or anyone else who is truely ill.

Well.... - Cathy - Nov 9th 2009

Well, this won't be popular but this taking time for yourself generally comes from a male - well, it is true or maybe from some wealthy female!  I mean really, once I saw Oprah years ago and she was talking to some lady about making time for yourself and they were talking about long baths, lighted candles - especially if you have a special room it was supposed to be good.  Time for myself - what a silly notion.   I hate being needed!  I made choices that I must live with and those mean no day off.

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