Have your vacations lost their luster? Are you returning from your getaways feeling out of sorts- not one bit refreshed? Whether you’re embarking on a cross-country road trip, lying on a white sand beach with your toes inches away from aquamarine water, or simply tossing a tent in the trunk for a two-day camping getaway at a state park, the point it to get away and leave stress behind. Unfortunately, many vacationers end up packing stress right alongside their swimsuits and shorts. Whether it’s figuring out the logistics of a tight travel schedule, soothing cranky, over-tired children, or dealing with lost reservations, it’s no wonder that more and more people return from their getaways with a vacation hangover.
A mindful approach to vacationing that encourages a rhythm of peacefulness will not only soothe your mind and body, but it will allow the Universe to gift you magic and awe.
Before we delve into this topic, let me confess something to you. For nearly 20 years, I have traveled with my husband and two children, and only recently have I invited mindfulness to come along for the ride. The truth is that my travel personality is one-hundred percent Type A. Stress never hijacked my vacations. I bought it a round-trip ticket and treated it to an all-inclusive vacation package. My vacation goals were never about just “being”, but always about “doing.” I suspect I’m not alone, though. When you have a limited amount of time to getaway, you want to do as much as you can, right? While, I’m still recovering (I relapsed a bit by packing in quite a bit of “fun” on our 5-day Puerto Rican getaway), I have started to appreciate the beauty of not holding so tight to a plan and letting the Universe offer up some tranquil suggestions.
We only get so much time to recharge. Why spend the entire vacation arguing with each other, rushing from place to place? There’s nothing wrong with making plans, but being inflexible in the face of obstacles will only take away from a vacation’s magical spell.
So, as a recovering Type A vacationer, here are some of the ways that I have started inviting mindfulness and a peaceful energy into my travels.
Welcome Adventure into Your Day
Do I mean go seek out the tallest mountain and get climbing? Am I talking about suiting up and cage diving with Great White sharks.
Um, no . . . Not quite.
What I encourage you to do each day is to wake up with a plan, but also ask the Universe to gift you a special treat. Maybe that’s an unexpected detour on a country road or an afternoon storm that make you take pause for a half hour to reflect and slow down. Don’t ask the Universe to give you something specific. Just ask for adventure and the willingness to accept that adventure with openness.
Put Away Your Camera
It’s tempting to fill our phones and social media accounts with image after image of our getaways. In no way am I suggesting that you not document your travels, please do. What I am suggesting is that sometimes we miss things when we only see our vacations through our camera lens or phone. Sometimes the best image we snap is the one that lives in our memories.
Savor Moments with Your Breathe
Coming back to your breath is so important in our everyday lives. It is equally just as important when we’re on vacation. Anxiety can creep up on you when you begin to think about what’s waiting for you back at home or the office. It can rob you of the feelings of bliss that your vacation is gifting you. Taking time out of your day to breathe deeply, to focus on one moment, movement, or breath at a time is the perfect way to replenish your spirit. Let small details work themselves out. Stay in the moment.
Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
Last year, my family and I rented a quaint house in the woods near Cripple Creek, Colorado. This vacation was different than our usual packed-full adventures because I promised my husband I would take it easy on the event planning. During our five days in the mountains, we did a lot of hiking, but also a lot of nothing. At first, I was restless. For someone who must go, go, go all the time, the stillness was excruciating. Yet, once I surrendered to the quietness, there was a sense of peace in the center of my chest. We didn’t spend much on activities on that vacation, but between the hikes, star gazing and bear-calling (you really don’t want to ask) I can easily say it was one of the most enriching vacation experiences I’ve had.
A mindful approach to vacationing doesn’t mean hours spent meditating and doing nothing. I promise. Living more consciously and focusing more on the now instead of the past, or the future, keeps us grounded. It invites an atmosphere of calm and love. Whether you’re taking a Disney vacation with your four young children or going on a couple’s getaway to a tropical island, be gentle with yourself.
Dearest thought warriors, you don’t have to perfect your vacation. You don’t have to go into debt financing an epic adventure. Appreciate your getaway for what it is – a time to reflect, to reenergize, and realign yourself with the Universe. Step away from the must-dos. Lean into the unexpected. Welcome a mindful adventure!
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