“A holiday is an opportunity to journey within. It is also a chance to chill, to relax. It is when I switch on my rest mode.” – Prabhas
I was 25 when I first holidayed without my parents. I hadn’t been on holiday for maybe 8 years, seeing it at frivolous, unnecessary, a waste of money. However, that first holiday as an adult, that week spent away from my worries and every day pressures on a far off Greek island was a revelation.
Life can be relentless, it never stops, and even with a few days off in your won home, you are well aware of all that needs to be done. Holidays are an invaluable opportunity to really relax, to give your brain and body an opportunity to rest and repair. A proper break, although a luxury, is something worth making room for. So, when you do manage to get the time and money together to go on a holiday, make sure that you make the most of it. Holidays are a real treat, and a few mindful considerations can make a huge difference to the benefits they yield. Here are a few tips on how to make your holiday a genuinely mindful, relaxing and repairing experience.
1. Get Organised
Have you ever got to the night before a holiday and found yourself tearing around the house looking for passports, washing clothes you have forgotten to wash or on the phone sorting out last-minute paperwork? This is no fun way to start a holiday, is it. Start as you mean to go on. Making sure all of your packing and paperwork is in order so that you can relax as soon as you leave for the airport will help to ensure that by the time you reach your destination, your journey to relaxation is already halfway done. If you are someone who tends to cram all your holiday prep into one day, perhaps consider writing yourself a holiday prep schedule that stretches over a week. One or two little pieces of preparation a day will see you arriving at holiday readiness in a calm and ‘together’ state.
2. Prepare for Your Return
Returning home is always a bit sad after a wonderful break. However, all of the holiday positivity you have accumulated could be gone in an instant if the idea of returning to your home fills you with dread! Leave for your holiday without cleaning the house, doing the washing up, setting up your ‘out of office’ e-mail or answering urgent messages could bring your holiday mood crashing back down to Earth even before you have left the hotel. Prepare for your return. Ensure that you will be coming back to a fresh, clean, welcoming environment that will help to propel your positive vibes into your day-to-day life for as long as possible.
3. Pack Mindfully and Sparingly
What do you actually need to pack? For so many years I over packed on clothes and stuffed my bags full of extra activities. This takes away from the holiday experience for a handful of reasons. Firstly, over packing means more weight, more luggage, more bag cramming, more, well, baggage! None of these are relaxing experiences, so think carefully about what you need. Also, by cramming your bags with ‘stuff to do’, you are cutting yourself off from potentially having to experience the holiday, to discover new things, to be in the moment. If you take all of these home possessions, then why not just stay at home. Packing the bare essentials will lighten your load (a surprisingly liberating sensation) and encourage you to live in the moment when you are away; to open you up to experience your new surroundings.
4. Away With Your Devices
On my last holiday I was on my phone quite a bit. Not only did this distract me from taking in my surroundings but it seduced me into doing work. This was a mistake. Engaging in devices and producing dopamine works in direct opposition to giving your mind space to open and relax. Do yourself a favour; switch off your phone, leave it in your room for a day and reap the rewards of a day without digital distraction.
5. Permission to Do Nothing
Many of us suffer, when taking time off, from a self-imposed pressure that we should be getting something done. This even happens on holiday, not just on a day off at home. You plan to do stuff, but then your instinct tells you to sit back and enjoy the moment, except the moment is marred by this pressure to get up and dive into your active plans of hikes, or museum trips, or whatever it may be. Cleanse yourself of this pressure. Ride the wave of the holiday and let yourself be taken by the mood. Sure, have things to do in the back of your mind, but do not beat yourself up for not doing them. Permit yourself to do nothing; ‘today, I’m going to do nothing.’ It really does make a huge difference.
By Chris Thomson
Holidays are very necessary in order to recoup. However, holidays do not grant you and excuse to work yourself to the bone foe the rest of the year: Mindful Living: Your Work/Life Balance
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