Crafting an At-Home Creative Retreat

Feeling stuck in your blog, brand, or business? Take a creative retreat to reconnect with your voice, style, and creativity! Kayla Hollatz: Community and Brand Coaching for Creatives

Today marks the start of my first solo, at-home creative retreat. 

*cue the confetti*

I’ve been dreaming about taking a solid week off from work to do nothing but create away from technology. Let’s face it, creating for the sake of creating can be hard to fit into your everyday life, especially as a full-time business owner. I have a few exciting business projects coming up and just wrapped up some freelance projects so it’s the perfect time to fit in a retreat. 

Pretty accurate depiction of how I feel going into my at-home creative retreat this week!

Pretty accurate depiction of how I feel going into my at-home creative retreat this week!

Here are a few signs that you may need a creative retreat too:

You are feeling drained from being on technology 24/7

This was a BIG indicator for me. Even before I was working on my business full-time, I found myself glued to my phone and laptop at all times whether it was to tweet for an agency client or on behalf of my personal brand. Having a job in social media can be so rewarding, don't get me wrong, but it can also be very draining. Every once in a while, we need some time away from our devices. 

Your self-care has been put to the back burner

We're all busy but we should never been too busy to refuel ourselves. The kicker is I used to be awesome at self-care back in college. I knew my love languages, I knew what passion projects I wanted to devote my extra free time to (cough cough, Brave Little Bones), and I rewarded myself with something I loved everyday (which was usually hot chocolate). It wasn't until I did a recent podcast interview on the subject that I realized just how bad I was at prioritizing self-care now that I run a full-time business. I'm hoping this retreat will help me get back on track. 

Your creativity is feeling stifled in your day-to-day routine

This is arguably the worst feeling of all. When you're building a brand online, you can't afford to lose sight of your creativity. It starts to affect every part of your creative process and not in a good way. I've always been passionate about pursuing passion projects unrelated to my brand and business so I need to reprioritize this now that I'm about 3 months into self-employment. 

Maybe you're like me and are ready to block off some time to take a creative retreat. The great thing is you get to set all of the variables like its length. I thought a 5-day week would be the perfect start for me with the flexibility to extend it 2 days into the weekend if I so choose. For you it may be a whole month or maybe a long weekend. Whatever it is, choose what's right for you, your creative process, and your schedule. 

Let's talk about how to actually plan your at-home creative retreat.

Because you're not going on a vacation somewhere, it can be easy to "cheat" and return back to your everyday routine because you're not drastically changing your creative environment but we're not going to let that happen. 

Here's how to plan for a successful at-home creative retreat:

Set boundaries for yourself during your week off

Much of the success of your retreat will be determined on how closely you follow your boundaries. That's why it is helpful to write them down. Of course, there will exceptions to some boundaries so they must be well-thought out and intentional. Otherwise, you'll see your boundaries start to crumble and you won't get as much out of your creative retreat. 

My boundaries: 

  • I cannot log into any social media for any reason. 
  • I must create an auto-responder for my email inbox so I won't convince myself I need to check it (which I would totally convince myself I need to do...)
  • I can't access any app on my phone except my Messages, Alarm, Weather, Maps, Podcast, and Phone apps. 
  • Ebooks from the library are cool but I can only read the physical books I already own.
  • No streaming TV shows which means no binge watching episodes of HIMYM, The Office, or Parks and Rec which you've seen 4-5 times, Kayla. (note to self)
  • I must cancel the #createlounge chat as my form of self-care for the week. 

My exceptions:

  • I can stream music through Spotify because I don't want to live without listening to music for a week!
  • I can watch any of my 3 favorite movies (500 Days of Summer, Little Miss Sunshine, and Clueless) but ONLY while I create something with my hands.  
  • I can use the camera on my phone to take photos but may not upload them anywhere for any reason until after the retreat.
  • I can briefly log onto the internet to upload my #createlounge podcast interview and publish the already formatted blog post.

Make a list of all the things you've been meaning to do

Now this is the fun part! Before starting your creative retreat, it's good to have an idea of some of the things you'd like to do during it. While you may not have time to get to all of them, you'll never have the "I'm bored" excuse. 

Decide on things you want to do every day of the retreat

Most of these things are what I want to fit into my daily routine so this retreat is almost a trial-run. 

  • Read scripture right away in the morning over breakfast.
  • Write and reflect in my prayer journal every morning.
  • Spend lunch away from any texts, books, journals, anything. 
  • Hand-cook at least one meal a day (and I'm loose with the term hand-cook!)
  • Listen to a sermon podcast in the evening or while I make and eat dinner.
  • Write in my vision journal every night before bed.
  • Read at least 50 pages before bed.  

Block off days to blend your creative projects

Now it's time to start planning a loose schedule of what you want to do when. I knew that some days I wanted to be totally chill and around my apartment and others I wanted to be out and about whether that's to explore, shop, or gather inspiration. 

I also decided to block off days and times to meet up with friends. If you decide you want your creative retreat to be totally solo, that's fine too. While I decided to make some plans with friends, I wanted to make sure it didn't take away from the time I wanted to spend creating on my own too.

Monday: Shopping day at Mall of America and around Minneapolis, end the day with going to my bible study

Tuesday: Go to a nearby library to check out some books, shop mid-morning for art supplies, paint and try some DIY projects, go to Minnehaha Falls, end the day with going for a motorcycle ride (bucket list item #1!) 

Wednesday: Spend the whole morning and afternoon on creating anything and everything with my hands, end the day with a local #createlounge meetup

Thursday: Go to the lake in the morning with some local business owner friends, write by the pool at my apartment and take a nice nap, end the day with paddle boarding with Jenna (bucket list item #2!)

Friday: Minimize some of my apartment belongings and start organizing (with many solo dance parties in between), go to a coffeeshop to read in the afternoon, spend the night relaxing (candles, painting nails, facial, all the pampering stuff)

Weekend: Travel home to spend time with my family, help with landscaping and planting, do any extra DIY projects that make sense


Have a better creative retreat with journal prompts!


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What do you think about taking a creative retreat? Let me know in the comment section below!