What’s a Grief Retreat? And How Do They Work?

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Grief retreats have been around for many years. They’re a place to get away from your routine to join a community of people you can relate to in your shared grief. But these types of retreats are more than an escape for those who are struggling with loss.

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Grief retreats are a place for you to reconnect with your self, to discover your deeper feelings and emotions, and offer a more social way of dealing with loss.

Below you’ll find more information on what to expect at a grief retreat, how much they typically cost, and where to find and book the perfect one for you. 

What Typically Happens at a Grief Retreat?

Grief retreats aim to bring people together through their grief. They allow for various activities, all designed with grief healing in mind. What happens at any given retreat depends on the type of retreat that you sign up for. 

Beginning your search for the right fit for you may involve making a checklist of the things you consider important to your grief journey. For some, physical activity is an essential part of the overall experience. For others, a more relaxed environment is more along the lines of what suits their personality best. 

Grief retreats offer bereaved people the opportunity to get to know each other through socialization, planned dinners, and group hikes. They provide the chance to work on your grief through lectures, meditations, writing exercises, and scheduled physical activity if that’s the type of retreat you decide works for you.

What’s a typical schedule like at a grief retreat?

Grief retreats tend to be casual and relaxed places that generally won’t follow rigid protocols and formalities. However, they do try to adhere to a pre-planned schedule of activities to keep the retreat flowing seamlessly from one day and activity to the next. 

You can expect an informal check-in process followed by a pre-dinner meet-and-greet hour on day one. Usually, the retreat host will offer you light snacks and drinks before dinner and go over the retreat’s planned activities. Some offer opportunities to get dressed up for some formal socialization to help get you out there meeting new people. 

You’ll have to check the schedule for your retreat to make sure that it includes drinks, snacks, and meals. If not, you will need to budget for those extra expenses or pack your food and snacks to bring with you.

Purpose

The purpose of grief retreats is to help you along the path to healing from your pain and suffering. Every person has their reasons for signing up for a grief retreat. It may be to overcome their sorrow, learn to live their lives without their loved one in it, or meet other similarly situated individuals to share their stories of grief, loss, and hope. 

Regardless of what motivates you to attend a grief retreat, know that you’ll be surrounded by others who share in and understand your pain. You won’t need to feel self-conscious about your grief or make excuses for why one moment you feel fine and others you can barely function. 

Everyone who attends a grief retreat knows and understands what it feels like to be consumed by sorrow. There’s no need to explain your feelings to anyone. At a grief retreat, you can expect to:

  • Find meaning and purpose in your loss
  • Address your grief issues and circumstances
  • Connect with other grieving individuals
  • Reflect on your loss and build hope for the future
  • Learn coping skills and manage your grief
  • Share stories and remember your loved one who has died
  • Cultivate life-shifting healing experiences
  • Give you the tools necessary to move beyond the pain of loss
  • Participate in grief rituals
  • Receive compassionate support

Activities

Some popular activities at grief retreats include lectures and workshops that teach you about the stages of grief, how to cope with loss, and how to console someone who’s suffered a significant loss in their life. These workshops aim to offer you opportunities to interact with others and be alone with your grief. 

Along with yoga, journaling, and meditation, there are also hiking, kayaking, and swimming activities to help you process your grief. Some retreats even incorporate social dances and formal dinners to get you comfortable with socializing once again. You can also expect plenty of downtime for rest and relaxation or read some of the books on grief available to you through sharing libraries. 

Don’t worry about not having anything to do. The retreat hosts usually have the knowledge and experience to welcome you and make everyone feel safe, secure and accepted. 

ยป MORE: How will you honor your loved one's memory? Start with this post-loss checklist.

 

How Much Do They Typically Cost?

Participating in a grief retreat doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are retreats available for every budget. Some organizations found online offer free weekend retreats for anyone willing to travel to attend. 

Other retreats can be on the spectrum’s luxury end, offering full-service resort amenities in some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic locations. Popular among these destinations are Costa Rica, Tulum, Cancun, and more spiritual places such as India and Nepal. 

Typically, a paid weekend retreat with no overnight accommodations will cost you around $150 to $250. An all-inclusive multi-day retreat can cost anywhere from $695 to $2,500. The cost will depend on your budget, location, travel, and accommodations.

Consider investing some time looking online for a retreat that interests you and fits within your budget. You can also seek a professional travel planner’s advice in finding the right retreat. 

How Do You Know If You’re Ready for a Grief Retreat?

You’ll know when you’re ready to take part in a grief retreat when you feel ready to move on from your grief. No set time must elapse before being eligible to take part in a retreat. 

Consider asking yourself if you need to better understand your grief journey, enhance your coping skills, or have more opportunities for reflection, renewal, and connection in a safe and judgment-free setting. 

There are many different types of grief retreats for all stages of the grieving process. There are also retreats for every kind of loss and every age-group. 

Where Can You Find Grief Retreats?

You can get access to the many retreats offered by doing an online search for the type of loss you’ve suffered. You may want to include in your search specific key terms that describe your circumstances.

Consider retreats for:

  • The widowed spouse
  • Parents who’ve lost a child
  • The loss of a parent
  • Loss of a job, home, or income
  • Loss of a best friend
  • Loss of a pet
  • Children dealing with grief (loss of a parent, grandparent, or sibling)

Online resources

Online grief resources and travel outlets are an excellent place to start looking for the right grief retreat for you. You may want to choose from three to five retreats that interest you paying close attention to location, length, and cost. 

Once you’ve selected those that may make a good fit for you, do some online research to see what others have said about their experiences there. Keep in mind that people who write online reviews might’ve been paid to promote the retreat. Look for those places with several reviews listed, and don’t be afraid to reach out to the reviewer to ask questions or for more details of their experience. 

Retreat.guru gives you access to information on grief retreats at all price points and located the world over. There are over 44 grief retreats listed and 74 retreat leaders to choose from on their website. You are sure to find one listed that suits your needs.

Also, don’t be afraid to include the word free into your search terms. You’ll be amazed at what you find at no cost right in your area. If you are looking for a getaway, consider expanding your search to one or two towns over to give you the full retreat experience. 

Travel agents

Travel agents have seen a boom in business with some folks that want to go on Instagram-worthy vacations and getaways they see online. In addition, apps such as Instagram, Tik Tok, and their curated feeds have renewed the public’s interest in travel. Millennials turn to travel agents’ use and advice to set them up with exotic travel locations and “destination travel,” such as grief retreats in gorgeous places surrounded by natural beauty.

A travel agent may not be a good idea if you’re budget conscious and need to save money, as some agents work strictly on commission. They earn their salaries based on the sales level they generate each month and may not want to take the time to search out for the freebie or steeply discounted retreats. 

Grief Retreats Offer an Opportunity to Heal 

There are hundreds of different grief retreats offered throughout the world. With a little time and patience, you’ll find the right one for you that fits within your budget.

At the end of your retreat experience, you can expect to walk away with making new friends, have found new ways of coping with your grief and sorrow, and relearning to live your life after loss. If nothing else, a grief retreat can offer a supportive environment to heal you from the pain of your loss.

If you're looking for other ways to navigate your grief, read our guides on the best online therapy and counseling and where to find online grief support groups.

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