Workshops & Retreats: What’s the Difference?

Workshops & Retreats: What’s the Difference?

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

Be Clear

Be Clear

“We teach best what we most need to learn.” ~ Richard Bach, Illusions:The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

I am getting ready to facilitate a workshop on boundaries at the end of this month for Wholistic Woman Retreats. I became interested in leading this topic after 2016’s overnight retreat, which was based on the book “Rising Strong” by Dr. Brené Brown. During that retreat we did a very small segment on boundaries, and afterward one of our participants asked me if I’d consider expanding that topic. That was when the idea for ‘Be Clear’, my mini-retreat on boundaries, was born.

What the research shows is that boundaries and compassion go hand in hand. People who have clear boundaries ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. Their clear boundaries keep them out of resentment and as a result they tend to be more compassionate people. I believe the world could use more compassion and less resentment and if having clearer boundaries is the way then I’m all in!

Recently, I was talking to a close friend who is recovering from a major surgery. She started telling me a story about how the pastor of her church came to visit her and stayed for the entire afternoon…much longer than my friend would have liked. While she enjoyed the visit, the duration was too long and left her completely exhausted. When I asked my friend why she didn’t feel comfortable asking her pastor to leave so she could take a nap, her response was, “I didn’t want to hurt her feelings”.

I don’t know about you, but I can definitely relate to my friends experience. I too have found myself in similar situations where I didn’t feel comfortable asking for what I needed or setting a clear boundary. Why is this?!?

Is it because, like my friend, we don’t want to make the other person feel uncomfortable?
Is it because we were never taught or never got to practice how to define limits?
Is it because we don’t want to be perceived a certain way…rude, rigid, selfish, etc?

If you too aren’t as clear on your boundaries as you’d like to be, what do you think contributes to your struggle?

During ‘Be Clear’ we will be defining healthy boundaries as well as looking at the things that get in the way to our setting them. You will be asked to think of an area in your life where having clearer boundaries would be helpful and you will walk away with at least one action step that you can put implement in that area.

Setting healthy boundaries and attaching appropriate consequences takes practice. If you’d like to be clearer in your life, then please consider this your personal invitation to join me and the Wholistic Woman Retreats community on April 26. You can click here for more details.


Today’s author: Laura Hall, CPC, CDWF: As a certified professional coach since 2009, Laura Hall, Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator has been helping people just like you make changes in. As a mother of 2 girls, Laura has a special interest in coaching parents, so if you still have children living at home, ask Laura about her Wholehearted Parenting programs. Laura can be reached via email at or feel free to visit her website

Be Free … of Comparison

Be Free … of Comparison

I began playing volleyball at the age of 13 and quickly became one of the top players and team captain through middle and high school. Playing sports enhanced my innate competitive drive and I began to view winning as the only option, both on and off the court. My hatred of losing made every game an emotional roller coaster. If we did lose, I was distraught for the remainder of the day and often into the next. My identity became tied to my ability to perform and it didn’t take very long before this distorted thinking spilled over into all the other areas of my life. I pressured myself to get the best grades, be the best daughter, the best Christian, the best liked. When I met my own expectations, all was right in the world. However, failure to attain perfection led to self criticism and feelings of unworthiness. I now realize that my understanding of love and worth was connected to my performance and I felt loved when I was doing things ‘right’. When I was achieving or performing well, I thought I was more valuable and loved than when I made mistakes. I did not understand unconditional love. To me, love was very much conditional and contingent on my ability to perform.

This desire to be the best often led me into the comparison trap that drove the vicious cycle of evaluating myself against others, feeling as though I didn’t measure up, and then criticizing myself. I couldn’t be happy for someone else who was doing well because in my mind that meant I wasn’t. So, this judgment based on my interpretation of how my performance measured up to theirs often left me feeling miserable and unworthy. I was operating with a ‘scarcity mentality’ that thought life was made up of one pie and I was getting less of it if someone else got a big piece (for more on this, you can read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). I didn’t understand that there was more than enough to go around and that one person’s success did not prohibit mine. Even more importantly, someone else’s achievements did not impact my value or worthiness.

There are many reasons we can fall into the comparison trap. Insecurity in our abilities can drive us to desire someone else’s traits. Looking at a friend’s Facebook page and judging our day to day circumstances against their ‘highlight reel’ can cause us to feel frustrated or dissatisfied with our life. I know from personal experience that when I have struggled with changing a bad habit and see someone successfully conquer it, I have gotten trapped in the cycle of comparison and self-criticism. Thoughts such as, “I’m not good enough”, or “I’ll never measure up”, or “I must be weak because I can’t do it as well” would start to creep in and derail my progress.

A paradigm shift happens when we begin to operate out of a place of security and a true sense of self-worth. When we recognize the gifts we’ve been given and embrace our strengths to fulfill our purpose, we can take the focus off what others have and put the energy into using what we have. There was a man in the Bible named Paul who wrote about this idea. He said, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that… Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” We each have skills, traits, and hobbies that can be used and enjoyed for a fulfilling life. There is a wonderful joy that occurs when we embrace and grow our unique gifts. This same joy also genuinely celebrates in the abundance of others.

I invite you to join me at this month’s evening retreat, Be Free, on March 29th where we will dive more deeply into the topic of comparison. We will discuss the why’s and how’s of the comparison trap and learn strategies to break free from its damaging cycle. The result will be a celebration of the true, Wholistic, beauty in each one of us.


Today’s Author: WWR Partner Coach, Liz Reihm works with women of all ages to help them create healthy lives through mental, physical, and spiritual wholeness. She helps women discover their potential with both personal training as well as coaching.

For more information about Liz, you can visit her website:; email her at; or call (240) 397-6437 with any specific questions.


You are a genius!

“Everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” ~ Albert Einstein

Everyone is a genius! You are a genius.  Don’t believe me!?!  Well, why would you?  I’m just Laura Hall, but how can you deny the fact when Albert Einstein tells you that everyone is a genius, and guess what?  You are included in everyone.  So there!  You are a genius!

You know who else is a genius?

Your teenager, you know the one I’m talking about – the one who is making questionable decisions right now – is a genius.  Your spouse is a genius.  Yes, even though they forget to take out the trash, or buy you a gift on your birthday, or leave their socks in the family room despite you constantly reminding them to please take their socks to the laundry room, or…(you get the point).  And you know that person you work with, the employee or coworker who you have to constantly remind about protocols and procedures, yes, they too are a genius.  How can I say that you ask?  Easy!  Albert Einstein told me 🙂

Have you ever heard of the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath?  It’s a book I use often with my life coaching clients.  The book is based on the idea that people have several times more potential for growth when they invest evergy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.  In other words, that they stop tring to be a tree climbing fish and instead focus on developing their ability to breathe under water.  Are you living your life with a focus on developing the things that you are naturally gifted at, or are you trying to swim upstream?  Are you encouraging your team, those people around you on a daily basis – your family, your co-workers, your employees – to do the same or are you asking a fish to climb a tree and then wondering why you are all so frustrated?  There is another way.  Start looking for the genius in yourself as well as in those you associate with.  I promise you, it is there.  Then begin asking yourself, how can this genius be used to bring more effectiveness, harmony, peace (or whatever else you think your life or business could use more of) to what is going on right now.

Exactly one week from today, on Wednesday April 30th, I will be leading a workshop right here in Frederick for people who are ready to join in the conversation about what’s right with people and to discuss how looking at strengths can impact you business and your life.  I hope you will consider joining me.  Click here for details.


Today’s author: Laura Hall is an iPEC certified life coach whose business, Hall Coaching, was established in 2009 with the vision of waking women up from the nightmares of “How did I get here?” and, “Is this as good as it gets?”, so that they can begin creating and living the life of their real dreams, hopes and desires. She offers both one on one as well as group coaching services. She can be reached at or check out her website at


Nourish Your Heart

How are you “loving” your heart?  

This February is the 50th Anniversary of American Heart Month declared by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Since that time much research has been conducted to find strategies to protect our heart from disease and death. Although the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) is declining, it is still the number one killer of women in the United States. One in four women dies from heart related disease every year, more than breast and other types of cancer.

The good news is most risk factors are preventable. Such as obtain and maintain a healthy weight, know your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose numbers, don’t smoke, eat a healthy diet with at least 5 or more of fruits and vegetables each day, move your body daily, and love deeper, more often, and start with yourself.

Now if you internet search the topic of American Heart Month, you are sure to find a ton of great resources to guide you in lowering your risks.  I have included a few of my favorites; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute  and the American Heart Association.  What you won’t find on most of these resources is the intervention of loving deeper. Let me explain, although most of the information on preventing heart disease has been around for years it has been very difficult for individuals to adhere to the recommendations. In the recent AHA statistical Update 2012 it stated that 26% of adults have only 3 of the primary cardiovascular health interventions at ideal levels and 4% having 6 metrics at ideal levels.

So what keeps individuals from being able to follow the recommendations?  I believe that it is not necessarily a heart problem but a loving problem. Our heart is the sustainer of our life on earth, it was also made for love. When it is empty it hurts and we find ways to fill it with all sorts of things that are not necessarily healthy; junk or dead food, television, work, drugs, and the list goes on. I have found from my clients and personal experience that it is a matter of finding the ability to love ourselves that tears down the barriers to selfless self-care that allows us to build a healthy self-image, resilient body, create deeper more fulfilling relationships, and live a better quality of life.

So often we speak to ourselves in condemning ways and call ourselves awful names such as fat, ugly, stupid, lazy, weak, etc… Our brain processes all this information and will do its best to manifest what you believe and speak. The question lies, do you really believe all those horrible things or are you allowing excuses to create a life you don’t want.

Take time to assess your body for the blessings it provides you every day. What are you grateful for? Just appreciating the 5 senses; sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch, provides us the ability to actively engage with our surroundings. It is up to us to choose our perspective of these experiences and how we want to respond. Will you choose to love what you have and take care of it or continue to dislike what is being created by speaking lies.

When we understand how valuable we really are, we learn to honor the body with kind healthy treatment. Our body is our friend, and the only physical companion we have every minute of our life. Talk to it kindly and encourage it to be its best.  It is your temple in which to live your best life.

If you want to learn more, please join me at the February WBN (Women’s Business Network)  luncheon at Dutch’s Daughter Restaurant at 581 Himes Ave, Frederick, MD 21703 on February 14th, from 11:30 where we will discuss the research and typical heart health interventions and dive deeper into loving deeper and how this is the key to truly have heart health!


Today’s author: Sandie Lynch, Registered Dietitian, Personal Fitness Trainer, and “Wholistic” Well-being Coach. Sandie is the owner and CEO of ATP Consultants, LLC where she teaches how to Attain Top Performance through 5 Key Principles to live your best life. (


One Word… Really?

What can be the impact of using one theme word for an entire year?

Now that I’ve used, One Word to Change Your Life, with clients, family, and friends for most of 2013, I’ve heard a variety of stories that answer just that question.

For those of you unfamiliar with this approach, the purpose of One Word is to create greater focus as we work, make decisions, and live fulfilling lives.

Different from resolutions or goal setting, One Word is simple, easy to remember, and yet powerful when applied regularly. Using a theme word as a lens throughout the year helps you gain new perspectives and empower you to live a more meaningful life based on your values.

A key component to the One Word process is that you receive it rather than choose it. Listening with your heart, and quieting your mind, your word will come to you from the universe, God, or whatever you call the spiritual energy which exists beyond you.

How do you know when you have your word? Trust your inner knowing and be open to confirmation coming from unexpected sources such as a song on the radio, a flyer in the mail, a street sign, or billboard.

One woman received the word Breathe and wrote to me, “I prayed for a sign that I had the right word and a few days later I was listening to a new radio station when I heard a song that I liked. When I checked to see who it was, the band’s name was ‘Need to Breathe’. I said to myself, Wow, and was thankful for the sign.”

Another wrote that she thought her word was Shepherd yet she doubted it. “I was like, ‘really?’ and so I prayed again, “Give me just one more sign so that I know for sure.  While waiting at a stop light on my way to an appointment, I noticed that the lamp posts nearby looked like shepherd hooks. Right at that same moment, the radio station that I listen to played a song about Moses and I knew it was my word. What a sense of humor God has!”

Not all words are faith-based. Other words shared with me this year are:

Observe – this woman used it to notice her husband, children, and friends more to see what they needed, how she could help them, and to simply increase her awareness of what was going on around her.

Surrender – this man used his word to recognize when to delegate and share responsibilities with others. The word is helping him release the driving need to do it all himself and provides a new balanced perspective about teamwork.

Discipline – this woman used her word to focus on her health and children as well as her personal and professional life. It was the antidote for the chaotic feelings that busyness often brought to her life.

Important – this word reminded a young woman to regularly ask herself what’s important. “It helps me to make better, solid decisions.” She feels good about the path she is on as a result of often asking herself, “Is this important?”

I’ve seen a great variety of words used such as: Light, Ask, Journey, Plans, Open, Acceptance, Change, and more. The words Courage and Trust are frequent choices. Each word has helped the individual stretch and grow with a special purpose and meaning that none of us could anticipate when we started. That’s been part of the surprise…. and the impact of this tool.

For myself, I am transitioning away from my word for 2013, Believe, and preparing to receive a new word for 2014. I’ve struggled with my word, at times this year, whenever it uncomfortably spotlighted areas of my unbelief. Yet I have grown fond of it nonetheless and feel a bit reticent to release it.

In a conversation at a dinner party recently I realized that the word is a part of me now and will continue to guide me. This surprisingly deep discussion with a new acquaintance was about spirituality. He shared with me that he’s not religious and doesn’t know what he believes spiritually. As I asked him a series of thought-provoking questions he gained the awareness that his belief in something bigger than himself typically occurs in three situations:

  • when he’s in nature and witnesses great beauty
  • when synchronistic events occur and he knows that it happened for a reason
  • and the last one was a bit humorous…when taking a test! Almost without thinking he praised the Lord when he recently received a good grade on a professional competency test. As he told me about it I was reminded of the old adage that there are no atheists in foxholes (or in classrooms). We both laughed as he found these insights into his own beliefs in this brief exchange.

As for me, I’m glad to know that the word Believe is an integral part of me now and will always be a lens through which I experience life and encourage others. I’m especially looking forward to see its ongoing impact as I publish my book Lost and Found in 2014. I’m curious to see the ripples that it will send out into the world and believe that it will be good. With confidence I can now look forward to a new year, a new word, and new growth.

What word are you receiving for 2014?


Today’s author: Carol deLaski is a certified coach and author who will be presenting a workshop “Create Focus and Success with One Word” on January 23rd. If you are curious to learn more about this powerful tool and how to use it with teams, organizations, or individually go to for details and to pre-register. This workshop is sponsored by Frederick County Society for HR Management and is open to the public.