Dawn, who wrote about depression and gave me some insights into some of my tendencies as well, commented on my post:
This may sound weird but I get "feeling" when I've passed the refreshment/recharging/helpful phase of something. It's similar to when I eat more of a dessert even though I'm already stuffed. I know I've passed the point of satisfaction but I figure a little more won't hurt.This totally made sense to me. Especially, the food metaphor is one I can relate to.
After thinking a little more, I realized that the problem with the way I have been doing retreats is that I haven't been preparing properly. Once I've decided that they are worthwhile, I can set things up ahead of time so that other things don't slide.
Even though my retreats are home-bound ones, I can still plan them as if I were going somewhere, or like I would if I knew I was going to have surgery or have a baby (not perfect analogies but you get the idea).
So I'm listing a few planning ideas to remind me for next time, which will be in December if past experience is any judge. (I usually seem to retreat in early January, sometime after Easter and then again in mid-summer). Hopefully this will streamline things so that I can maintain more intentionally during these down times.
- Plan dates of retreat ahead of time so that I can transition in and out more smoothly.
- Plan meal schedule ahead of time and stock up on supplies.
- Keep up morning routine (laundry, food prep, tidy, devotions and personal care)
- Devote daily times for interacting with family.
- Set aside things to bring out for the children to do (put away some toys ahead of time so they will have fresh ones, or inventory things in closet so I can plan to bring them out).
- Prepare list of things they/we can do.
- Make a short list of things to do/talk about with each family member so I maintain communication with each one according to my relationship with them.
- Include the rest of the family in some parts of the retreat (novena, goal-setting, etc).
- Continue to do what I did successfully this time -- sticking to a general theme and thinking about applications or resolutions related to what I learn during the retreat.
As you can see, the main ideas are to keep things running as well as possible, to make sure the family is somewhat occupied and getting regular input from me, and not isolating myself in a sort of well of thought, which I CAN do if I'm not careful!