Hacks for a Restorative Vacation
How many times have you returned home from a trip only to feel exhausted? Going on vacation means preparing, not only ourselves, but the rest of the people in our lives to survive without us. By the time we buckle our seatbelts and hit the road—or prepare for take-off—we are already running at a deficit. It usually feels like we are just starting to unwind as it’s time to pack up and come back home.
It is possible to have a restorative vacation, however, if you follow these hacks.
DON’T do these 4 things:
Failing to Downshift
Like it or not, most of us move at mach speed through our very busy lives. We are required to be master multi-taskers. With our devices perpetually in our hands, our attention is almost always fractured. It’s practically not a choice anymore; it’s what we must to do—who we must BE—in order to function effectively in our fast-paced, hyper-stimulating, perpetually accessible, urban world. Without realizing it, we tend to maintain this energy level even when we could be slowing down. Vacation is a time to get off the Autobahn and take the scenic route.
Most of us have suffered bouts of this condition: “Fear of Missing Out”. We are lucky to live in the Land of Opportunity and we like to take advantage of every single one of those opportunities. When it comes to vacations, Travel Channel and TripAdvisor have brought the world into our homes and heightened our awareness of all the extraordinary places to visit and experience on the planet. In planning your vacation, avoid making an impossibly long list of everything there is to do and see. Self-imposed pressure to not miss a thing is a roadblock to relaxation.
There is something in our ethos as a society that makes us feel guilty when we relax. Productivity is paramount, and with everyone manifesting all over the place, it can be tough to give ourselves permission to drop out of the production line. Europeans seem to take the customary month of August off without a shred of guilt. It’s time to let ourselves off the hook. Our kids, co-workers, and pets are fine without us. And if they are not, our absence is an opportunity for them to develop coping skills.
Unplug. For realz. Enough said.
DO these 8 things:
Sleep: According to the CDC, sleep deprivation has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Sufficient sleep is the foundation of wellness. Use your wellness retreat to catch up and to feel what it is like to experience a full night of sleep.
Stillness: Taking the opportunity to slow way down will disengage the sympathetic nervous system, allowing you to reprogram your brain. Meditate, soak in a hot tub, take a sauna, lie in a hammock, and let your brain unwind.
Movement: Just as we tend to lack mental stillness in our daily lives, we also tend not to move our bodies enough. Go for a run, play golf, take a yoga class, or swim laps. Moving your body gets the blood pumping, increasing oxygen to your organs, including your brain.
Read: Let your mind travel from its everyday focus, along with the rest of you. Whether you choose a novel, a magazine, or the sutras, expanding your intellectual world can offer a healthy respite from your mental chatter.
Nature: Intrinsic to wellness is balance. Connecting with the world around us reminds us that we are one small part of something much greater than ourselves and puts our own struggles into perspective.
Nurture: There’s a fine line between self-care and self-indulgence. Make choices that promote your wellness. Moment-by-moment presence will help connect with what you really need for your own care and restoration.
Nourish: Eat clean. You know what makes you feel good and healthy. Everyone’s system is unique. Listen to your body and choose well. And hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Gratitude: “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” —Eckhart Tolle
BONUS HACK: The Art of Re-entry
- Take a day or two to fully integrate (with a longer vacation, three or four days). In other words, go easy on the productivity and manifesting. Take care of business and let the chores go. Or, do some laundry, but order in dinner for a couple of nights.
- Identify a peak moment of the vacation and define what made it powerful. Use that as a basis for ritual in daily life. Depending on what your peak experience was and what your daily life looks like, it might feel like a stretch, but the essence of an epic hike can be recreated by a brisk lunchtime walk away from the office. A luxurious spa day might be recaptured by new bath salts and a plush bathrobe.