Vacation state of mind

life's a beach

One doesn’t expect deep thoughts from the slogan for a beach chair. But yesterday the slogan on my newly purchased chair struck me as something to actually think seriously about: “Make life one long weekend.” What can we learn from a long weekend that can help us when life is its most stressful?

A decision made recently to embark on a new path for the next year, taking a year off work to travel and spend time with family, has allowed me time to unwind from the pressures of work and every day life. The time leading up to my leave was extremely stressful, and so I have unplugged the last two weeks and allowed myself at times to do nothing…something we don’t often allow in our busy lives.

But the saying of “one long weekend” got me to thinking. When I get back into the pressure of schedules, work and every day life, why can’t I keep the vacation mentality all year long? What can we learn from those times when we most relax, usually saved for trips away from home, that we can apply in our every day lives? Why do we only allow ourselves to relax when we leave home?

So I set my mind to figuring out what that looks like – vacation mentality, every day.

Some won’t apply – like not wearing a watch or caring what time it is, because for most of us, time is an essential part of our lives. But some do apply. I’ve come up with three.

Living for today. When on vacation, we enjoy each moment as it is. We don’t want to think about the day ending, or the week ending, because it means the end of the vacation. So we live in the moment. This is a valuable way to live every day, vacation or not. Focus on where you are and what you are doing, and enjoy that time.

Try not to overplan. Somewhat related to living in the moment. It’s true that holidays require planning, before and sometimes during the vacation. But the planning I’m talking about is constant. It’s spending your time now thinking about what you need to do tomorrow, the next day, etc. Sitting at work thinking about what needs to be done at home…and sitting at home thinking about what needs to be done at work. That whirling, always planning mind is what keeps me up at night. Learn to just be. I’m working hard at it, and it’s glorious.

Don’t fret so much. When I’m stressed, I find myself filled with irrational worries. Some are as minor as “Did I lock the door,” or “Did I leave the stove on.” Those usually occur because I am not following points one and two, and my mind is elsewhere when I leave the house! But I also worry about “what if” scenarios, which are pointless and destructive. What will be, will be. If there’s something you can do about it, write down the plan to deal with it. Otherwise, let it go.

Do you have any others? Share them! Let’s find a way to allow ourselves that mental calm, usually reserved for times away from home. The majority of our life is spent in every day life, so let’s enjoy it to its fullest!

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