Oddly enough, it can be hard to get in the relaxation mindset sometimes. Once we arrive to our vacation destination, our 24/7 work culture has a hard time getting out of work mode – and some of the research suggests in can take up to 7 days to do so. Yikes! If you’re looking to relax and dig into the essence of your destination spot, enjoy these easy tips for maximizing your time during your stay at your home away from home.
1. SURRENDER to your SURROUNDINGS
Let yourself BE in the moment as soon as you arrive. Absorb all that is around you, no matter the landscape or scenery. Chances are, if you’re on vacation, you were likely a part of deciding the getaway location, so sit with it awhile. Absorb what’s in front of you, and truly surrender to the experience on a sensory level. How is it similar to your life at home? How is it different? Look at what is in front of you and explore how it calms each of your senses; sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell. If you can apply your focus to the present moment and all that’s around you, you’re bound to gain more from the experience.
Literally unplug – no phone, no devices, to that which you are able. We understand that life (and work) continues while you’re on vacation – Just leave it alone for a bit (as you can) so your undivided attention can be ‘where you are’ and ‘who you are with’ at all times. Be present offline. Let go and just, BE.
Sometimes we live off the ‘short breath’ during our day jobs and never ending to-do lists. Deep breathwork has long been a tradition for groups who study the practice of yoga, dance and various relaxation techniques. Engaging in regular deep breathwork excercise has health benefits as well. A series of good deep breaths can have positive effects ranging from stress reduction, increased blood flow, and the releasing of toxins. Close your eyes. Roll your shoulders back. Stand up ot sit straight. Inhale deeply for 3-4 counts. At the top of the breath, hold for 3 counts. Exhale for 3-4 counts. Let your ribs expand as you repeat the simple 3-step process. Try as soon as you rise and throughout the day as you feel called. This technique can also help if you have insomnia or trouble falling asleep – try it before bed! You’ll have more energy during your trip and might even want to take this practice home with you.
You don’t have to be an expert to meditate. Take one thought or question and spend 5 minutes in meditation. You don’t need a series of complicated prompts or inquiries, just a desire to soften and listen to the present. Get comfortable in a lying or seated position. Close your eyes, focus on the rise and fall of your breath, and let your mind clear all the mental chatter. Take as long as you need to find this space. If music is your thing, have something playing that’s calming in nature and won’t pull your attention away, rather deepen the experience for you. Picture your happiest spot – the place to which there is nothing comparable. Let this be your resting spot for a few moments and listen to what comes to you.
5. EXPLORE LOCAL
Once your nice and relaxed and focused on your present surroundings, get out there and explore your local surroundings. Rent a bike for an afternoon. Go fishing. Find a dive bar. Take a hike. Have dinner at a local eatery or seek out a local coffee shop in the morning. Check out local landmarks, Farmers Markets, day trips, and historic places. Find out ways to explore what unique characteristics make your vacation spot special. Local establishments will carry the flavor of the community much more than a larger chains. Support and explore the hidden gems around you.
You’ve given yourself a lovely gift of this time away from your normal world and life. Take the pause you’ve allowed and dive into your days or weeks away as a gift to your self and soul.
Celebrate the loved ones around you and enjoy!