Sustaining Ourselves retreat: breaking free from burnout & stress
Many of us have experienced burnout - and its debilitating effects on the mind and body. This 4-night stress retreat offers practical resources to help nourish you in your daily life and work.
I found it so nourishing and it has cast aside demons and let me see a more positive future...thank you for facilitating my recovery
- stress retreat participant
Prolonged stress can cause feelings of exhaustion, overwhelm, depression or a lack of motivation as well as anxiety over life's demands. The physical effects of burning out can include insomnia, headaches and migraines or stomach and digestive issues.
This breaking free from burnout and stress retreat offers a mindful approach to burnout, helping to boost your resilience, support your life's balance and offering strategies to help you say no to more stress.
It takes place in the very special setting of The Coach House, in the grounds of Grade I-listed Sharpham House, Devon, surrounded by tranquil gardens within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
This burnout & stress retreat is for you if
- You need rest, replenishment, renewal and inspiration
- You've experienced stress or are becoming concerned about the early signs of burn-out
- You tend to drive yourself, resulting in regular feelings of stress, exhaustion, anxiety and overwhelm
- You want to increase your personal resilience and self-care in a safe and supportive setting
- You'd benefit from reflection and connecting to nature and your creativity, far away from the busy-ness of your day-to-day life and work
- You're interested in creatively enquiring into your relationship with your work in the world
- You want to explore how to remain active in your purpose to make the world a better place whilst overcoming cycles of burn-out
- You'd like to meet and learn from others on a similar journey
During this retreat you'll
- Experience a unique synthesis of mindfulness, creative enquiry and nature-connection to enhance your personal resilience, taking on skills and tools to use in your life and work
- Explore a contribution to the world through self-care and self-compassion
- Learn or deepen your experience of how meditation and mindfulness can support your daily life and the balance between ‘being and doing’
- Learn to say NO with a good heart (and a clear conscience)
- Recognise and become familiar with the early signs of burn-out and stress, exploring tools and strategies to avoid repeating the cycle
- Learn how acting from a place of urgency and desperation can be counter-productive to your effectiveness - and explore alternatives
- Share lovingly prepared home-cooked meals
- Have time for personal reflection and exploring your own work-rest balance
Facilities in The Coach House
The Grade II-listed Coach House has been sympathetically converted to create accommodation in four wings surrounding a central courtyard.
The Coach House has 18 bedrooms, 12 of which are en-suite. The 6 others share 3 bathrooms, one for each pair of rooms.
We have an accessible ground-floor bedroom with en-suite bathroom in the Western Wing of The Coach House. Please contact us to book this.
The Eastern Wing features a lounge, library, kitchen and has a contemporary timber-frame extension which serves as a dining room and meditation/meeting space.
The extension has large French doors which open out on to a patio and garden with direct access out on to the south-facing lawns.
Retreatants have the opportunity to do mindful work on the estate and in the gardens. Not all of the gardens or the estate have disabled access, so do contact us to discuss your needs and what is possible.
Mindfulness in nature at Sharpham
When you experience Sharpham's inspiring and nourishing environment, we hope you'll connect spiritually with the natural world, so you’ll:
- become aware of how we are all part of nature - not artificially separate from it
- pay attention to and appreciate the natural world surrounding us
- explore nature through your senses and your natural creativity
- Tread more lightly on our finite planet, developing a respect and reverence for all living things
Click here to read our ethos and principles
What might you bring?
If you decide to stay with us, we’ll send you a list of what you need to bring for this retreat in your Welcome Letter. But you might consider the following:
- Comfy clothes for meditation, movement and relaxation
- Slippers or indoor footwear
- A journal or notepad if you want to write or draw during your time here
- Boots or comfy, waterproof outdoor shoes and a waterproof jacket are advisable for helping in the garden and local walks
- Running gear if you’re a jogger. Some participants love to run on the lanes and footpaths near Sharpham
Find out more about staying in The Coach House on our Frequently Asked Questions page
Our food & your dietary needs
We have a fully stocked, mostly organic and vegetarian kitchen. The main meal is at lunch time and is prepared by our cook supported by retreatants. We try to use produce from our gardens as much as possible which retreatants help grow.
We can accommodate gluten-free and/or vegan dietary needs. However, our kitchen is not gluten, dairy nor nut-free. We do not provide gluten-free bread, but you are welcome to bring your own.
Please make sure you include dietary restrictions and any food allergies on your Booking Form. We may need to communicate further with you about specifics. The booking form is sent as a link once you have booked and paid for a retreat.
Our water is provided from our own spring, UV treated and filtered.
Your physical and mental health
Although meditation and mindfulness can be helpful in managing stress, depression and anxiety our retreats might not be suitable if you are experiencing major depression or other clinically diagnosed psychiatric illness such as bipolar disorder, psychosis or current self-harming. Click here for more information and for our booking process.
If you have a medical condition that requires you to have an en-suite room, please contact our Programme Administrator on the number below as these rooms are limited and are bookable on a first-come first-serve basis.
The whole experience has left me with a sense of confidence in my ability to improve my well-being and find more balance
- retreat participant
Sustaining Ourselves is a rich fabric woven of spaciousness, structure and choice.
With that in mind, all of the sessions are optional with the exception of the Morning Group Circle which we ask everyone to attend. Our aim is that you come away with the insights, tools and mindfulness practices that most support you to find balance within yourself, with others and in the world.
The guiding principle of this retreat is choice: inviting you to experiment in real time with meeting your needs based on self-knowledge, awareness and self-care.
Typical retreat schedule (subject to change)
Day 1: Arrive between 2-4pm for Welcome Meeting at 5pm and settling in
|6.30am - wake up||12.30pm - meditation|
|7.00am – morning movement/meditation||1.00pm - lunch|
|7.30am - household tasks||2.00pm – gardening or free time|
|8.00am – breakfast||4.30pm - personal time|
|9.00am – Home Groups (silence ends)||6.00pm – supper|
|10.00am - gardening or free time||7.30pm - meditation|
|9.00pm – personal time (Coach House moves into silence until 9.00am the next day)|
Final day: depart by 11am
The retreat will move into silence each evening from 9pm – 9am and on one full day in each retreat.
Sharpham is a small slice of heaven...it is a much-needed spot of quietness and positive energy and I could not recommend it more
I found it so nourishing and it has cast aside demons and let me see a more positive future...Thank you for facilitating my recovery
The whole experience has left me with a sense of confidence in my ability to improve my well-being and find more balance
One of the most beautiful, nurturing and life-affirming opportunities that I have given myself and shared with others
The creativity of the format was inspiring, surprising, unformulaic and soulful
This was truly food for the soul, and much appreciated
This retreat takes place in the beautiful and historic Grade II-listed Coach House set in a Capability Brown-designed landscape with stunning views over the steeply-wooded River Dart.
Click here for our How to Find Us page on this website.
Click here to view, print or download directions and a map to The Coach House
Click here view and download walking/cycling directions to The Coach House
If you have a medical condition that requires you to have an en-suite room, please contact our Programme Administrator on the number below as these rooms are limited and are bookable on a first-come first-served basis.
Just to let you know, we have poor mobile phone coverage – which we see as a virtue. While there is wi-fi in Sharpham House, we encourage you to disconnect from ‘the network’ so you can fully retreat when you’re here.
We are 3 miles from Totnes – famous for its Transition Town movement
We are in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
We take sustainability seriously.
All of the hot water and heating in The Coach House is produced by a state-of-the-art biomass woodchip boiler and we have 2 large photo-voltaic solar panel arrays on barn rooftops.
Our gardens are managed organically and we only use bio-degradable cleaning products.
The Sharpham Trust is committed to ensuring that retreats at The Coach House are accessible to all - regardless if income.
All rooms are comfortable single rooms, with either an ensuite or a shared bathroom. All meals, bedding and towels are included. Rooms are randomly allocated, unless you have medical needs relating to your room allocation. If you have such a need, let us know on your booking form which will be sent to you once you have booked.
Supported Rate: £495
The Supported Rate is for those unable to pay the Standard or Benefactor Rate
Standard Rate: £570
Paying the Standard Rate means you will be contributing towards our running costs, supporting the work of The Coach House and helping retreatants of lower incomes to access our retreats.
Benefactor Rate: £645
If you are able to pay the Benefactor Rate, you'll be supporting others who cannot afford to benefit from a Coach House retreat on The Sharpham Estate. Your choice to pay this rate will help us with the running costs of The Coach House, enabling us to continue our charitable work connecting people to nature and fostering mindfulness and wellbeing, as well as caring for the land, wildlife and wider estate.
Limited 50% bursaries offering reduced-price retreats are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Please contact the Programme Administrator at least 4 weeks in advance if you wish to apply.
Our bursary fund relies on donations. If you’d like to help another person to go on retreat here through our bursary scheme, you can give online quickly and easily by clicking here
Kanada Elizabeth Gorla
Kanada is a leadership & transformational change coach, mentor and facilitator.
With more than 20 years' experience facilitating individuals and groups, Kanada is a long-time meditator and mindfulness practitioner. As a self-employed, single working mum, Kanada has walked the path toward ‘sustaining herself’ as a daily practice.
With her own social business Shine, she helps individuals, teams and organisations to flourish, building personal and collective resilience, well-being, self-leadership and engaged citizenship. Her work as an activist includes launching the Pachamama Alliance Be the Change Symposium in Canada and assisting in training the first group of Be the Change UK.
Kanada is a Senior Associate with Embercombe, a leadership centre where she co-leads The Journey, Catalyst and Speaking out; an Associate with Common Purpose American Express Leadership Academy for emerging leaders in the 3rd sector; and course leader on bi-annual residential programmes with cohorts from On Purpose and Executive On Purpose.
Sophy has an eclectic background in many aspects of creating healthy culture for individuals, groups and communities. She teaches at Schumacher college, runs workshops, and offers organisational development and conflict facilitation. Originally trained as an engineer, she has worked as computer systems designer and trainer, psychotherapist, and family constellations practitioner.
In 2005 she moved to Devon and helped to set up Transition Town Totnes (TTT), one of the foremost projects in a movement for positive visioning and action in communities, that has spread to over 40 countries and been tried in thousands of communities in some form. Sophy set up the Heart and Soul group of TTT, and spent 10 years bringing insights from her many inner practices (including meditation, grief tending, mindfulness and nature connection) to the Transition Towns movement. During her time working for Transition she saw many highly skilled people reaching a place of burnout, and has been on that edge herself. It became a central part of her enquiry into how we can create life enhancing, positive culture together – and the reasons we sometimes don’t. She sees that mindfulness is an essential tool for healthy systems, not only for individuals but also in groups and communities.
Sophy was a keen footballer in east London for many years – too old to slide tackle any more she enjoys growing as much food as she can, and still just about gets up the Devon hills on her bike.
Lucy is a teacher of mindfulness, compassion, and Buddhist meditation who leads retreats and courses worldwide. She also offers the 8-Week Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) programme having trained directly under the internationally renowned pioneers of this field; Kristin Neff and Chris Germer. As a practising doctor in the NHS for over a decade, she understands the importance of integrating mindfulness practices as a way to keep balance in everyday life. Her passions include helping people engage with self-compassion practices as a way to build inner resilience, and supporting the caregivers of society.
Rupert has practiced in the insight meditation tradition for nearly 25 years in Europe, America and Asia. His primary teachers have been Christina Feldman and Joseph Goldstein. The work of Toni Packer and John Tarrant have also been influential in his practice and teaching. He teaches at various retreat centres in Europe and beyond. For the past 4 years Rupert has lived and worked at Ecodharma, a contemplative retreat community in the Spanish Pyrenees dedicated to exploring the role of the Dharma in the movements for social justice and ecological sustainability. At Ecodharma he directed the Nature based Practice strand of their work that marries contemplative practice with a range of approaches within the field of experiential ecopsychology in a wilderness setting.
How to book easily and securely:
- online on this page
- by phoning 01803 732542
Ring us or email us on [email protected] if you've got any questions.
Please click here to see our booking and cancellations policy.