You’re ready to gain new skills or hone your craft in a group setting. The question is, should you sign up for a workshop or a retreat? While they both involve an element of learning, workshops and retreats are quite different types of events. Let’s take a look at what each event type involves, who they benefit, and how to decide between the two.
What is a Workshop?
A workshop is designed for a small group of people to hone specific skills in a relatively short amount of time. They can be held virtually or in-person. The skills learned often relate to a particular field or craft, such as marketing, writing, or personal finances. Since workshops are designed for teacher to student learning, there is often little time for socialization. Lastly, while they can range from a few hours to a weekend commitment, workshops are one-time events.
The Benefits of Attending a Workshop
You can think of a workshop as a quick crash course taught by an expert. If you desire to increase your knowledge on a subject, but you don’t have the time or money to spend on a lengthy course, a workshop is a great option for you. You’ll be challenged to think outside the box and leave with practical action steps.
What is a Retreat?
According to Merriam-Webster, a retreat is “a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director.” Retreats are in-person events and last for at least one day, but can be as long as a weekend or even one to two weeks! Most retreats offer some form of instruction, while also including free time for reflection, socializing, or practicing a craft (i.e. writing, knitting, or yoga).
The Benefits of Attending a Retreat
Stepping away from your daily life to reconnect with yourself and/or nature provides a boost to your mental health. Retreat settings tend to be conducive to creativity and reflection. You also have the benefit of growing alongside your fellow participants and are given the opportunity to deepen relationships with others.
Should I Attend a Workshop or a Retreat?
The main difference between the two types of events is that workshops are focused on learning or honing a specific skill, and retreats tend to focus on spiritual or personal growth. If you’re looking to fill a notebook with helpful suggestions and action steps, check out a workshop. Remember, workshops aren’t designed for networking or peer interaction. If you long for the time and space to focus on creative pursuits or unplug from the grind, look for a retreat to attend! You’ll enjoy learning from a facilitator or coach while also having plenty of time to connect with others and yourself.
Join the Wholistic Women community on a retreat to Sedona, AZ!
Whether you’re part of a religious group, wellness club, parenting co-op, or business cohort, you and your peers likely want to work together to meet mutual goals. Perhaps you want to raise money for a cause, learn how to communicate better, or bring in new members. One of the best ways your group can reach those goals is by attending a group retreat.
A group retreat can be as low-key as attending a workshop in a nearby town, or can be as intensive as a weekend getaway. The most effective group retreats will offer hands-on activities, group coaching, and flex or free time for free-flowing conversation. There are several benefits of group retreats. These include:
Group Retreats Improves Morale
When was the last time your group bonded over a shared experience? Offering your group a morale-booster, such as going on a hike, playing a new game, or cooking a meal together, will help everyone feel more relaxed around one another. This is especially beneficial for groups that have a clear leader or “boss,” because it evens out the playing field. Who wouldn’t love to see their pastor try ziplining for the first time, or listen to their wellness coach share a personal story?
Group Retreats Create Cohesion
One of the best aspects of a group retreat is that it gets everyone out of their comfort zone. This might intimidate some people at first, but it won’t take long to break the ice. If you’ve never attended a group retreat before, commit to being open to new experiences. Make a point to engage with everyone in your group. You never know, you might find that your coworker you’ve hardly spoken to shares your favorite hobby, or that the younger woman in your wellness group is looking for accountability from a more seasoned person such as yourself.
Even if everyone in your group already knows one another, a group retreat will encourage deeper personal connections. Through workshops and team-building activities, your group will grow closer and learn how to work more effectively together.
Group Retreats Promote Personal Growth
Group retreats don’t simply benefit the group as whole — they also impact each individual. A person can learn a lot about themselves when they’re with a group of people. One person might find it uncomfortable to try new things, while another person might blossom from being put in a strange environment. Ideally, the person heading up the group retreat will ask everyone ahead of time what they aim to get out of the experience. You might find yourself learning something new, making friends, or teaching others about your areas of expertise.
Is your group ready to try something new? Maximize the full potential of your team by booking a group retreat!