We are headed to Blue Ridge mountains next week and I am getting excited. Excited because we get to rest, enjoy a slower pace and be in nature during my favorite season of the year. Have you ever been so starved for vacation that it seemed like it could not get here fast enough. Then once it arrived it seemed that you never actually rested like you had hoped. By the time you actually felt like you were able to let your hair down it was time to pack up and return home only to begin again the task of your everyday life. If this cycle feels all too familiar, maybe it’s time to think differently about how you vacation, how you work and your relationship to both. I used to be starved for rest and my life was about looking forward to the weekends. Then I had kids and then my weekends started to fill up with sports, dance and kid birthday parties. Then I lived for the vacations. There was one vacation in particular, I remember, we were scheduled to stay for a week and it wasn’t until the third day until I felt like I got a good night’s sleep and I believe my body got attuned to the pace of rest.
To think, my body was so not used to an easy pace that even when I was still my body and mind was still buzzing with thoughts and nervous energy. I probably should have gone for a run, maybe that would have channeled some of that energy. I now think about preparing my body and mind for vacation a week before I go so that I am freely able to give myself permission to rest. I also now include some mindful physical activity on the first couple of days to help my nervous system reset. Here are some tips on how to fully rest on vacation.
Start the week before: Mentally prepare to disconnect from work at least a week before you leave. Have those meetings to delegate work. Assigning tasks and setting expectations for your colleagues is crucial in helping you set proper boundaries while you are away. Your vacation is YOURS. Do not continue to set an expectation that you will continue to work or that projects will get done while you are away. If you don’t protect your peace no one else will do it for you.
Don’t overbook yourself: We are used to filling our days. Being productive. Useful. Purposeful. We don’t spend enough time with ourselves in quiet, unstructured time. Sitting in nature. Bored. Restless and Developing a proper relationship with our minds. Having a balance of scheduled activities and quiet reflective time while you are on vacation is imperative for setting the stage for rest and rejuvenation.
Plan to do Body-Mind exercises: This is important to shift from “work, work, work” to “rest, rest, rest.” Plan for the first day to include some physical activity. It may be a mindful walk, some gentle yoga or my signature “fire and earth legs” mindful exercise to activate the energy of the body to divert and convert mental energy. Mindfully working with the body to communicate love,, safety and rest is essential in making sure the gears work properly in order to shift into different states of being.