Your Weekly Retreat: How To Relax & Eliminate Stress at Home

For many of us, we step into our homes to find upaid bills, hungry children or restless pets, a house in disarray, and an overwhelming stack of tasks that scream, I Will Not Go Away Until You Finish Me. But we all need time to unplug from our week, to retreat from the stimulation of our busy lives, and to rest in the cozy solitude of our homes.

As the lovely Jane Austen said, "There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort."

Is your home a cozy retreat? Or is it just another place where you complete task after task after whoopsihavetwozillionmoretasks? Do you spend most of your time at home doing dishes, cleaning up, finishing up work from the office, studying, doing laundry or watching TV? Do you take regular time to unplug at home?

Barbara J. Semple, self-healing activist and best selling author of Instant Healing - Accessing Creative Intelligence for Healing Body and Soul, says that self-care is not a luxury, but a necessity. If you don't take time to fill your own cup, you'll have nothing left for family, your home, your pets, or your job.

Many of us feel guilty for taking time out for ourselves, when so many other things call for our attention. But taking good care of your self re-energizes you for all of the other work that you have to do at home (caring for friends and family, household chores, and creating a home that serves you best).

Consider making a regular, weekly unplug appointment at home.
Treat it like a real appointment and do not schedule anything else at that time! (For tips on how to find the time, see 10 Simple Ways to Carve More Time Into Your Day). If you find yourself saying "but I don't have time!" start to question that inner voice. Self-care is not selfish or indulgent — it is important for your physical and mental health.

Here are few tips for a weekly unplug appointment at home:

1. Unplug completely from all of your devices. Turn off your phone, power down the computer, and turn the TV off.

2. Make this time for you and you alone. Send your housemates out or escape to your room for an hour. You can even put a neon sign on your door that says: Human Suffocating Boa Constrictor Inside, Enter at Your Own Risk. Defer guests, visitors and chores to another time. (One exception to this rule: pets are allowed, in fact encouraged! A snuggle with your feline or canine friend will only enhance your decompressed state of bliss.)

3. Make a list of things that make you calm and happy. Pick a few, and do at least one of those for an hour every week.

4. For at least one hour, do something that completely relaxes you: read a book without interruption, drink some tea and ponder the universe, paint, draw, write, take a bath, soak your feet, or just do absolutely nothing. Let it be comforting and stimulation-free. (No iCheating!)

5. Afterwards, write three adjectives to describe the experience. Having a short but very simple homework assignment like this will keep you on task and make you more likely to follow through. It will also help you see how beneficial taking this time at home on a regular basis can be. You might find yourself writing things like: amazing, peaceful, or ohmygoodnesswhydontidothismoreoften?

Well, why don't you?

(Image: Amber's Art-Filled Austin Apartment)