Some may not have the time and/or money to get away properly, but in this post we explore simple ways of finding peace and rest, regardless of your circumstances. Even if you have fabulous getaway plans, the below will address ways to really let go during your vacation and well, milk it for all its worth.
I write this as much to remind myself, as for you my dear folks…
Many of us truly don’t have much time and when we do, the pressure to be productive, useful, helpful and busy can force us to fill up the rest. This cycle can be so ingrained that we may not even notice opportunities to rest and let go. We may even say that they don’t exist.
But they do. They always do. Like most things it’s a question of priorities. Yet many of us may not see the true benefits of taking time and resting beyond the need to ‘refuel our batteries’ so we can do more work.
Creativity, innovation, inspiration, peace, clarity, understanding, acceptance, motivation, fun, and lightness are just some of the many wonderful things that can come naturally from taking time. And here are some ways to do so:
- Take at least an hour to yourself and do something that you enjoy and that has no usefulness whatsoever…better yet, take a day, a week…
- Sleep early/sleep in…nothing can replace good quality rest and its benefits are 100% healthy and immediate.
- Don’t rush…to work, to school, to meet your partner or pick up the kids…give yourself an extra 10-15 minutes than usual so you can walk slowly, notice your surroundings…you may save yourself a day’s worth of anxiety. And if you can’t avoid being late, then ask yourself, will you really get there faster by rushing and winding up your nerves?
- Be here, be still…so many folks tell me they are too active to sit still. I hear you. Many say that especially when considering meditation but it’s a question of training. Find a place you feel naturally comfortable and just be there, without distractions for 15 minutes or more, and see what you notice…
What manageable little detail would make you happy right now? For me, it was a box of Godiva chocolates. Perhaps I could buy them any other time, but I don’t because it feels excessive. Yet this week, I did, and it gave me pure joy.
Whatever it is, may not cost any money. Or anything at all. But for some reason we may not feel we are worth it enough to allow ourselves. It could be a few extra hours to yourself. Or an extra special meal. A mental break from your worries. Or taking that trip and really indulging in all it has to offer. The question is what are we really saving – or proving – by preventing ourselves these little joys?
Try something new
Boredom can happen to the best of us, and with the best of things. And it has little to do with being busy or not. When we do the same things the same way – be it a job, a relationship, a meal, a walk – we eventually desensitize to it and can lose the ability to appreciate it. Simply put: the brain stops thinking, in the best sense of the word.
So do something new or change the way you do the usual. This too need not be a big, expensive change (or it can be). Even small changes get the brain going again, wondering, and whether or not it goes “well” is not important. Going somewhere new is a particularly effective way to do this. It’s just the experience of it that wakes us up and sometimes, may be the best rest of all.
Disconnect…or go to the Moon
Cell phones, computers, TV, iPods, news, emails, video games, Facebook, Twitter…
…for a little while try going on an “information technology detox”. Go outside and see what’s around you, explore your neighborhood, your city, your vacation destination. Enjoy the food in front of you. See your people face to face. Play with your kids, plants, pets, or paints. Meet someone new. No need to commit to anything just go with it. But do it without stealing looks at all your media. Wonderful things happen…
I will be the first to admit that the circumstances in my life and work can greatly affect my ability to relax and let go. We would not be responsible, hard-working professionals and family members if we had no issue dropping everything without accountability. It’s logical and understandable, but also an overused excuse for not taking a much needed break.
So whether you are taking a weekend or a month off, organize some time before to set your affairs in order so that you can enjoy your rest without worry. Here are a few things to consider:
- What are the absolute top priorities (and nothing more) that you have to take care of before you go?
- What will be your communication strategy? If you have a job or a business make a plan for how and how often you will check-in, if at all. Let others know and then enforce it.
- Delegate your other responsibilities and trust that it will be ok. But if you think it necessary or have something important in the pipeline, devise an emergency plan.
My guilt monster and I have been very close at times. I tend to doubt its usefulness as all too often it simply sucks out valuable energy and time without giving much in return. I find many people are burdened by this feeling and dropping it, at least for a while, feels incredible. Here are a few thoughts around how to give your Guilt Monster a vacation – so you can take yours:
- How does your Guilt Monster serve you? Are you being reminded of an important responsibility that you need to focus on right now? Or is this a result of outside pressure, issues of self-worth or habit? If it’s the first, see “Prepare yourself” above. If it’s the second, what exactly are you getting out of it? Is it helping you get where you want to go? This is a trick question…
- Make an agreement: “during my time off, I release my Guilt Monster to go on its vacation too and when we return we can continue our relationship if absolutely necessary…but later, not now.”
…and if all else fails…check these out…
Here are some additional ideas, sayings, mind-games, that may help you let go and give yourself a hearty, much-deserved break:
- Work is always there. All your responsibilities, projects, inspirations, will be there in some form or fashion for the rest of your life. And they will be there waiting for you when you come back from vacation so might as well leave it now.
- Listen to your body. If you are tired, burnt out, unmotivated, distracted, it may be your body trying to tell you that it needs rest. You can try to fight it but it will likely persist if you don’t give it what it needs. And if you want to be good – no, great – and happy, you will need to take good care of yourself.
- Deathbed check-up. This may sound morbid but it can work like a charm. When you see yourself in your old-age looking back on your life, what are you really going to remember? The extra hours of work? The pile of ironing? Probably not. But the moments you take to get away from it all can bring you wonderful memories that will be worth remembering.
- Life takes time. In a world where so much is happening so fast and the pressure to keep up is a daily dynamic, we may feel that we can never quite do enough, fast enough, to get to where we want to go. But it’s not true. Many things in life, no matter how much we push and rush, need their space and time to evolve, to blossom. And the plans we make are only that at best: plans. There is time. Might as well enjoy it.
What helps you let go?