I recently had the pleasure of going on a vacation. Destination: Idaho. Far away from my Midwestern home. It was a spectacular break.
The change of scenery was wonderful. I loved the mountains and the fact that the temperature drops in the evening to a nice cool crisp number after a hot day. The rural scenery and wild life were interesting. Even when we didn’t see the elk, the moose, and the bears we were informed about, it was still interesting that we might.
We stayed with a family member who was the epitome of hospitality and we were treated incredibly well by even more family. We were well watered, fed, and loved. We discovered the beauty of daily ‘wine time’ and waking up when your body says it is time instead of the alarm clock.
It was relaxing.
It was exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries and prepare for the stress and chaos of the daily life I was returning to.
Unfortunately, vacations are a matter of time and money. Both these items are at a premium for me and heavily budgeted. It is hard for me to part with either. So I started thinking about the ways to get that relaxing feeling and recharge when I can’t go on vacation.
These are some things that work for me.
Meditation has been scientifically proven to aid us in many areas. It can help with stress reduction, concentration, and even easing anxiety. All of which is helpful for the relaxing and recharging we’ve been discussing.
There are a lot of ways to meditate and you don’t have start whole hog. You can start with a micro-meditation. Take 20 deep breaths. In. Out. Count them. Concentrate on only those 20 breaths. It will take less than 2 minutes.
It’s amazing what those 20 breaths can do.
I find this meditation particularly helpful when I find myself getting frazzled. It helps bring me back to a calmer, easier state.
This one was kind of life changing for me. I work from home and it was hard to separate myself from the work. A lunch break made all the difference in how well my work was going.
Whether you work for someone else or yourself, get in the habit of taking a lunch break. All work and no play makes Jane a very stressed woman. The small habit of taking 30-60 minutes to yourself will not only help you dial down the stress but it will actually help you be more productive when you get back to work.
Funny how that works…take a break…be more efficient. No one starts off their day and decides they are going to spin their wheels. Yet it is exactly what we do when we don’t take that break. Turns out that it is good for you and your employer.
Double points if you are self-employed!
Many of us can’t do this on a daily basis (good for you if you can!). Maybe we can work it in every week or even every once in a while. Maybe you can do the power nap thing where you just close your eyes for 20 minutes. Or maybe you do better with a long nap. Pick what is best for you and indulge when you can.
It is a nice treat to give yourself. In some instances, you may need to recruit some help. Maybe a spouse or a friend can remove distractions (usually kids) from your house in order to get a chance to relax. Then one day you can return the favor.
A Cup of Tea
Maybe for you it is a cup of coffee. Or a soda. Or a piece of chocolate. Whatever poison you choose. Take the time to drink your beverage or eat your sweet. Do nothing but that. Mindfully eat or drink for that few minutes and decompress.
A Relaxing Hobby
Whatever it is that relaxes you, do it. Bird watching. Reading. Playing Cards. Gardening. Mine is coloring (I was doing it before it was cool, and still a little ticked at myself that I didn’t think of marketing adult coloring books).
Whatever you choose, make sure it gets you to your ‘zen place’.
Many people enjoy the rush of endorphins that they get from exercising. Walking will get you a lower level dose but it is a safe form of exercise for most people. You can even combine some of that walking with meditation and do double duty. It is also good for your health. You need to get your steps in!
Many benefits have been found to spending time in nature. The Japanese have a form of therapy known as forest bathing. Funny name, funny concept but apparently very beneficial. Here again, is another good place to do double duty.
Laid Back time with friends
Being with friends in a laid back atmosphere can also reduce stress and recharge. I would suggest that if you are trying to go with the vacation type vibe that you pick the right friends. Invite the ones that make you laugh and have fun. Avoid the ‘Debbie Downers’ and the ‘one-uppers’ (every group has them).
Once you’ve picked the right friends then choose an activity that’s preferably casual. Avoid the fancy dinner party and think take out instead. Beer around the fire or wine on the patio works well too. You are looking to create an environment where you can all be yourselves.
Do Nothing Day
I am a huge proponent of Do Nothing Day. I have written about it not once, but twice. It is a day where you get to disconnect from your daily grind and your overloaded schedule. In fact, you put it on your schedule so that you don’t forget to do nothing.
It’s like a mini vacation without having to shower or get out of your pajamas.
No, not the illicit substance type trip. Just a short vacation where you take a day out of your life to take a mini vacation. No hotel reservations, not too far away, nothing elaborate. Just a little exploring and dinner somewhere not in your home!
Let people wait on you. It’s not hard to justify in the interest of self-care.
So now it is your turn to share: How do you relax when you can’t go on vacation?
Photo Credit: Jason Cartwright