A mental escape without going anywhere


“Discover your next chapter,” said the pretty white box on my table. For the next three hours, I create a collage of my desired future life from cut-out stock images, contemplate impactful life events, identify my “great desire”, and take breaks to stretch. All the while, I try to avoid the thoughts that creep in, the dishes in the sink, the sound of my next door neighbor practicing (badly) the guitar.

I may be retired, but I’m still stuck in my own living room. The White Box is the Self-Guided Transformation Retreat of Numina, a California-based life and business coaching company. Later in the week, I’ll be doing another retreat in my bedroom: meditating on my trusty yoga mat, burning incense, my laundry basket neatly hidden for added glamor. This retreat also arrived in a box, complete with relaxing bath soaps, a booklet and a QR code that unlocked my meditation session, courtesy of Retreat Yourself, an Australian subscription box that just started shipping to the States. -United. And if I have room for further soul-searching, I could try the Marriage Retreat in a Box: a series of relationship-enhancing activities to complete with your significant other, outlined in a voluminous guide that comes from arrive at my door. (Maybe we’ll do it in the garage, my partner’s sacred space.)

Is it possible to find your #happiness where you’ve been stuck for a year and a half?

When COVID-19 came for conferences and vacations, retreats – the hallmark of wellness culture – were also mostly canceled. Sure, some people can attend sunrise yoga sessions together in Nosara or Tulum, but for those of us who are not yet ready for close encounters, retreats have reinvented themselves for clients where they are at home. But is it possible to find your #happiness where you have been stuck for a year and a half?

This new brand of wellness retreats attempts to bypass all obstacles in times of pandemic. Before the pandemic, David Lesser, the founder of Numina, hosted people in his own home to get his idea of ​​a corporate retirement off the ground. But the prospect of opting out of the process had long held attention. “I’ve always wanted to reach people where they are, to be efficient and avoid intermediaries,” he says.

Numina’s Home Retreat Box was released in July 2021, along with a guestbook and additional materials.

Bryan Hewitt of Hewitt Visuals

Numina’s Home Retreat Box launched in July 2021 – stacked jewelry box-like packaging with a guestbook and additional materials needed to complete the three-hour, five-step retreat process. “People are ready to guide themselves,” Lesser says. “The person just has to be open to seeing things differently. Compared to the CEO-focused $ 15,000 one-day in-person program (which also includes six months of coaching sessions every two weeks), Numina’s In-Box Retreat, which costs just $ 150, is a good deal.

Wedding retreat in a box, created by Dr Corey Jamison and Julie Bush and launched in March 2021, is even more affordable at $ 72. The box includes two workbooks, one for each partner, and contains instructions to help couples tackle tricky topics such as communication, conflict, and money. If they’re stuck or need to brighten up the mood, they can remove a card from the Conversation Starter Pack (eg, “What’s the best party you’ve ever attended?”). “It took a long time to prepare,” says Jamison, who has a doctorate in psychology. “But the pandemic seemed like the perfect time since the couples are spending a lot of time together. ”

wedding retreat in a box
Marriage Retreat in a Box, created by Dr Corey Jamison and Julie Bush, is filled with prompts to help couples tackle hot topics like communication, conflict, and money.

Photograph of Aldridge

While retiring without going anywhere can be a dubious concept, the convenience and ease of a “getaway” home is the best selling point of these products. However, what if retiring to the house became another item on your to-do list? I wonder if exhausted couples, on their own, would be really motivated to complete a retreat. But Jamison brings another benefit to a home retirement: privacy. While in many in-person retreats the expectation is that you open up and share with the group, at home there is no such pressure. “If you go somewhere you can learn from other people’s context, but at home you can do it at your own pace and there are no distractions or comparisons,” she says. “No one will see if you are upset, cry or say the wrong thing. ”

Rather than convincing my husband to tackle a few worksheets on a work night, I settled in one night earlier this month to complete a Numina retreat designed to help me understand my past and my future, to recognize harmful behavior and to commit to personal and professional goals. Completing it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park; staying focused, even with frequent breaks, was a struggle. The lasting effect – a sense of clarity and self-righteous optimism – took a while to set in. “The customer has to be motivated,” Lesser says. “If you hire a trainer and write the check [for an expensive in-person retreat], you will save time, but if you pay just a little [for a boxed retreat], it’s tempting to say, “I will do it next week. It is a challenge to listen to yourself.

While retiring without going anywhere can be a dubious concept, the convenience and ease of a “getaway” home is the best selling point of these products.

The most well-being of the group is Retreat; Carefully branded, it offers seasonal themed boxed retreats that aim to mimic the relaxation of an in-person retreat by offering online yoga and mindfulness classes as well as a selection of home, body and life products. the pantry, including vegan cookies, mint body moisturizer, incense, and an exfoliating mask, which guests use for pampering at home. “Our sales almost tripled during COVID-19,” says Retreat Yourself founder Kate Williams. “It was huge for us. The experience begins with a breathing exercise, a dedicated reading list and a mantra for discussion. “By then, hopefully you’ll feel relaxed,” Williams says, and you can move on to the rest of the class, which includes meditation, journaling, yoga, writing goals, describing acts of kindness, mindfulness coloring, nourishing snacking and pampering. .

When I decided to participate in the Retreat Yourself experience, it did me good to set aside time for myself to intentionally accomplish activities that I would normally sandwich between slices of “real life”. I opted for a half-day of meditation, yoga, journaling and snacking, plus 15 luxurious minutes for a post-mask shower and an application of moisturizer. I felt a bit silly creating a retreat ‘atmosphere’ in my home by lighting an incense and even a few candles which normally only gather dust, but I liked the privacy that came with it, even though I did. only completed half of the activities, no one judged me.

retirement sales yourself nearly tripled during pandemic, says founder kate williams
Retreat Yourself sales nearly tripled during the pandemic, according to founder Kate Williams.

Courtesy of withdrawing

For Lesser, a retreat, at home or anywhere, is essentially “like stepping into a sacred space so that you can see your life and transform certain things about yourself”. Two chairs and a small, distraction-free room should suffice, he says, no luxury spa required. Williams agrees: “The concept of retirement is about disconnecting from the chaos and reconnecting to who you are,” she says. “We can relate retreats to initially because it helps us break away from daily habits, but it really comes down to resetting your mind. ” Easier said than done? May be. But what other choice do we have right now?

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