Self-care and relaxation activities are more popular than ever, with more people feeling the stress and isolation of working from home. Day and overnight spiritual retreats offer people a chance to unwind and immerse themselves in these activities.

Retreats are a positive experience for attendees – with the right activities. For example, if you are hosting a spiritual workshop, you don’t want to include activities focusing on improving productivity. To put on a successful and enjoyable program for everyone, you need to schedule the right mix of retreat activities so your attendees will be glad they participated.

Put on a successful spiritual retreat for everyone by mixing structured and non-structured pursuits.

What do retreats offer attendees?

The retreat activities you choose should reflect and cater to the benefits you want your attendees to take away. For example, if you want participants to get away from modern life, you don’t want retreat activities to include watching yoga sessions on a smart TV. Instead, have participants get involved in hosted classes with other retreat participants.

Retreats offer attendees a variety of benefits, which can include:

  • A brief escape from modern life, offering a chance to unwind and unplug.
  • Spiritual activities that put participants back in touch with nature. It’s a great way to relax and heal the mind.
  • Ways to reduce stress by changing up their daily routine. Retreat activities allow attendees to remove some emotional baggage they may feel and improve their mental well-being.
  • Chances to build connections with others through group activities that open up communication and help attendees learn to build trust.

What kinds of retreats are there?

Retreats aren’t one-type-fits-all programs. The type of retreat determines what participants get out of it. The activities you choose must reflect the type of retreat. Some types of popular retreats are:

  • Spiritual retreats that focus on mindfulness and physical harmony.
  • Religious retreats that bring attendees closer to their beliefs.
  • Nature retreats that remind participants of the beauty found in the natural world, and how a leisurely stroll can help decrease stress and feelings of isolation.
  • Youth retreats that focus on helping young people become productive, responsible, and caring adults.

While you want to offer a range of activities, both for solo and group participants, you want to stay on topic. If you’re creating a nature retreat, you may want to leave any religious activities off the list.

Ideas for retreat activities

Here are some day retreat ideas that can be combined with overnight and weekend workshops.

Mindfulness meditation

Breathing exercises and guided visualisations allow participants to relax mentally and physically while remaining engaged with the present. Attendees can begin to connect with their spiritual selves.

Meditation and silent reflection can be a positive recollection activity to help people have a better understanding of who they are, what they can be, and how their beliefs fit into their lives.

Physical activities

Spiritual retreat activities can stimulate the mind and body. Yoga and Pilates classes combine rhythmic breathing with exercises that strengthen and tone muscles. These low-impact exercises are adaptable to almost everyone, regardless of their level of fitness.

Getting some exercise in before discussion groups is a good way to expel everyone’s nervous energy.

Consider fun spiritual workshop activity ideas, like indoor rock climbing. With the proper ropes and mats on the floor and a qualified instructor on hand, you can have an activity that inspires a spirit of adventure.

Arts and crafts

There’s no shortage of spiritual retreat activity ideas when it comes to arts and crafts. There are plenty of fun projects for all to enjoy. For example, you can encourage people to gather pinecones and create decorations or even small feeders for local wildlife.

For a sustainable activity with a purpose, gather unused yarn from local crafts stores and hold a knitting class to make scarves for people in need.

Painting is a fun activity that goes along well with spiritual mindfulness. If you want to increase participation, consider having group projects and an art show at the end of the program. Step-by-step art lessons might also be something your attendees would enjoy.

Journaling exercises

Structured journaling allows attendees to examine their innermost feelings. It’s a therapeutic activity that allows individuals to explore old and new aspects of their spirituality. Start the retreat activity off by having attendees write down why they’re there. It will help them to relax. It’s a good idea to have prompts on hand to ensure structure.

Eventbrite can help you plan a journaling component in advance. Let attendees know from the outset that they should pack journals and pens. It will also help them come mentally prepared for the activity. You can even sell add-ons, like a keepsake journal to take home and cherish.

Music class or performance

Any type of retreat needs some form of entertainment. An art show is a start, but it’s nice to offer something everyone wants to participate in.

Bringing in a local music group is one way to get attendees relaxed and ready to engage. Music can provide pure entertainment or serve as a tool for guided meditation. Offer attendees the option to learn a chant or self-affirmations set to music. It’s a skill they’ll be able to use long after the retreat is finished.

You can also provide music classes for anyone interested. If you do offer a music class, make sure you have an instructor who understands the retreat’s purpose and goals.

An open mic poetry session is an engaging way for attendees to share spiritual or nature-focused thoughts.

Nature walks

Nature walks give attendees time for reflection, relaxation, and rediscovery, allowing them to form a spiritual connection with nature.

Encourage attendees to take some unstructured free time for themselves outside to experience nature’s healing powers. You can also structure group walks, giving participants a chance to get to know each other in a serene and neutral setting.

An outdoor scavenger hunt is another fun way to get attendees out in nature and working as a team.

Sample program for a spiritual retreat

Here is a sample program designed for an overnight spiritual retreat. With a few changes, it can work for almost any type you want to create.

Day 1

  • Welcome breakfast
  • Getting-to-know-you activities
  • Short talk about mindfulness
  • 30-minute guided meditation
  • Lunch
  • Guided nature walk (optional)
  • Deep breathing techniques
  • Dinner
  • Musical entertainment

Day 2

  • Grab-and-go breakfast
  • Group yoga
  • Journaling techniques class
  • Individual activities selection
  • Lunch
  • Massage techniques course
  • Afternoon guided meditation
  • Dinner
  • Musical meditation workshop

Day 3

  • Grab-and-go breakfast
  • Group art project (collage)
  • Team scavenger hunt
  • Lunch
  • Group meditation
  • Crystals course
  • Event survey/feedback
  • Closing dinner/banquet activities

Ready to plan your retreat activities?

With the right activities, your retreat will be a success and benefit your attendees. When it’s time to start planning, Eventbrite has all the tools you need to manage the event and connect with attendees when planning your retreat activities.

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