How To Really Enjoy Your Vacation!
How avoiding the “All-or-Nothing” mentality while you are trying to relax can be the best thing you’ll ever do for yourself.
What is it about our culture that drives us to believe that we have to “go big or go home” in every single aspect of life? This is a question that comes up a lot in my coaching practice.
Especially when it comes to wanting to enjoy your vacation!
“Let your vacation be a connection back to yourself and all you hold closest to your heart’s desire”.
It’s so easy for us to feel that we have to go all out at everything or we won’t be successful, or happy or enjoying ourselves. The reality is that when we continually push ourselves to “go for it all”, we end up feeling more stressed and less happy than when we started. This goes for our vacations as well. Browse through any magazine or newspaper these days and you’ll find all sorts of jam-packed “exciting” vacations touted. Zip-line across a rain-forest, hike a couple mountains, trek the lava fields. All of these amongst pictures of smiling people dancing and dining and swimming. Where are the images of people simply relaxing? Whatever happened to sun-bathing, reading paperbacks, spreading suntan lotion on before passing out with that rum drink in your hand in the sweetness of the sunshine? Is this any way to enjoy your vacation?
The messages we receive all tell us that in order to really enjoy our vacations we have to be on the go all the time, while in fact, the exact opposite is true. When we allow ourselves time to loll about, stroll the beaches or trails or relax, read and quietly enjoy our meals, that is when we derive the many real benefits of having carved out the time to enjoy your vacation in the first place.
Wander a trail or sit for a few hours simply enjoying a new view.
If you want to “gain” the most benefit from and really enjoy your vacation, here are 4 tips that will help you return feeling truly happy, relaxed and revitalised. All without having blown your diet goals or strained your wallet.
Tip# 1: Slow Down- Slowing down allows you to reap the benefits that come with Mindfulness. When we slow down and allow ourselves to enjoy each and every moment, we actual get a measurable increase of joy in our lives, so go on! Stop and smell those roses!
Tip #2: Bring mindfulness to your meals. This means taking time to enjoy the look, taste and aromas of everything you are eating. When we take time to enjoy what we are eating, whether it’s a succulent dinner or that delicious ice cream cone, we receive far more benefit than rushing through each meal. Fun fact: when we slow down our eating we tend to make much more healthy food choices as well. Don’t believe me? Try this quick experiment- take a bit of your favorite candy bar and let it sit on your tongue for 2 entire minutes. My bet is that fave candy will be the last thing you’ll ever want to eat again once you have really tasted it.
Tip #3: Let yourself play. It’s no wonder kids can go on vacation and end up totally relaxed and happy at the end. Let yourself play and be silly at least part of your vacation time. That might look like practicing handstands on the beach or floating in the water for more than a few minutes. It could be snorkeling or reading a book you don’t mind getting tanning lotion on. It could be taking a hike on a trail and stopping to sketch or sing in the middle of the forest. If you get stuck, ask yourself what you would do it you were your 6-yr old self and see how that ups your happiness quotient.
Tip #4: Give yourself permission to do nothing. Trust me, It’s really okay to do nothing. The best and most important gift you can give yourself on vacation is permission to do absolutely nada! That might be giving yourself time to make long phone calls to friends and family we haven’t talked to in months. It might be taking longs walks or swimming or going to that fab gym at the resort. It could even be getting a massage or going to a yoga or meditation class.
Giving yourself permission to do nothing is a mindset shift that allows you to truly dig into the experience of letting go, relaxing fully and enjoying each and every moment of your vacation. When you do nothing, you are allowing your body and mind a total reset that will carry over when you get “back to real life”. I often tell my clients that the more they “do nothing” on vacation, the more productive and excited they will feel when they return. Doing nothing is about recharging your body and soul and enjoying yourself in ways that let you slow down, appreciate and unwind.