7 Tips: How to Soak Up a Relaxing Vacation
August 11, 2015
The summer is when many of us seek vacations. By the time July and August are here, most of us are in deep need of relaxation. Have you ever said, “I need a vacation from my vacation?” I hear this statement a lot from clients, colleagues, and friends. Why do we over plan, over schedule, and overdo our vacation?
These are the two common factors. 1) We have a fear of missing out. 2) We are also used to over functioning in our regular lives so we take this same energy to our vacations. As a result, we create too much itinerary, too many locations to see, too many people to visit, but what we often need is less not more. Yoga retreats are a perfect way to both bring in balance and restoration, as well as dive into the culture and adventure of a destination.
Additionally, if the vacation is a relaxing vacation, it has been reported that happiness will last long after the trip is over before returning to back to our baseline level of happiness.
While on yoga retreats, there is often down time to read, get a massage, and explore, and it is helpful to recognize what is going to serve you most… this time might be the perfect opportunity to slow down. In summary if you want to boost health, happiness, and productivity, a relaxing vacation might be exactly what you are ready for.
Here are seven tips to show you how:
1. Go somewhere where your nervous system can relax. In other words, when you think of a place that creates calm and peace in the mind where do you go? Is it the beach, hot springs, a national park, probably not an amusement park with your mother in law right? Find a place that both you can enjoy and so can your kids (if you are bringing them along) to give you some down time away from parenting.
2. Don’t over schedule it. This means, stick to one location for a period of time ( a few days or even the entire vacation). Only aim to do a few things a day, such as read by the pool, make the family one meal, do something active, etc. The aim is try not to do too much in one day. If you think it might be too much, then it probably is. Let yourself drop into the ease that you are craving.
3. Savor the Moment. So much of our lives, we are running from one thing to the next, this is the time to slow down. Set an intention to really savor your vacation time, foster family or friend connections, and do things you might not normally do (get a massage, take a nap, engage in a longer yoga practice, etc…). This might be a rare opportunity for you. One of my mentors, James Baraz has said to me often “This is your life, don’t miss it.” Research indicates that having pleasurable and relaxing experiences on your vacation, along with savoring those experiences, are important for remaining happier after a vacation for a longer period of time.
4. Nurture Your Relationships. When we have unstructured time (or when even we let someone else plan our trip for us) we have a greater opportunity to connect, listen, show appreciation, be affectionate, and foster generosity with those we care about.
5. Be Flexible. Nothing ever goes according to plan. If you notice you are getting tight around how you want something to go or be, see if you can practice forgiving and letting go. Can you come with an open and flexible mind?
6. Take time for you. While it can be nice to share our vacations with others, it is also important that we carve out some me time everyday to refill our well. In addition to our regular vacations, what if you took a vacation just for yourself? Meditation and yoga retreats are wonderful ways to do this. If you take this time for you, you will have so much more to give to your life.
7. Tune into your natural rhythm. The instruction is to get back on your clock, not the work day clock. This means eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full, sleep when you need to sleep (yes naps are included) and wake up when your body feels ready to wake up. Re-set and your mind and body will thank you.
I have aimed to take a relaxing vacation every year for the past several years. A annual ritual that I have undertaken is to attend silent meditation retreats. This is partly to increase my knowledge in meditation and Buddhist Psychology so that I can share it with my students and clients, but also because it helps me to slow down and tune into what is really important to me. I love supporting my students to rejuvenate & access their innate wisdom. Then they can lead their lives with more power and confidence. If you would like more peace and calm in everyday life, sign up for my FREE Mindful Training workbook here.
Let me know how your relaxing vacation goes!