Keeping your peace
I recently returned from two weeks in Greece, lying on a beach in Naxos and Santorini. It was a wonderful vacation. After a week, my pace slowed down, my sense of humor improved, and I rarely thought about work, day to day responsibilities, or future concerns. My cell phone didn’t work and I couldn’t peek at work email. It was glorious.
Of course, it’s easy to be relaxed on vacation! Our daily responsibilities center on the big questions of the day-- what to do, where or what to eat, and how to enjoy ourselves. We don’t have to worry about laundry, shopping, the lawn, or work. After several days, we notice how the stress of our work-a-day world can fall off. It’s a change of pace that we all look forward to.
On vacation, we naturally live in the moment. We enjoy playing with our kids without thinking about their grades. We can read books that have been sitting on our bookshelves. We enjoy the great outdoors without thinking about tomorrow. We set aside our to-do list. We look at the water, either by the ocean or by a lake and feel the warm breeze on our brow. We let go of future thinking and simply enjoy the here and now.
Returning home, we are confronted by all of the day-to-day tasks, both at home and at work. Our pace speeds up, and we quickly resume the tempo of our daily life. After a few weeks, we can barely remember how we felt on vacation. It seems like a distant memory!
The real challenge--keeping your peace when you return to everyday life.
Here are some tips on keeping your vacation tranquility.
- Create a daily time out. When children behave badly, we stick them in “time-out”, where they have no access to their smartphones, toys, or television. They have to simply stay put and hopefully think about their wrong doing. It’s a punishment. But for us adults, sitting still, doing nothing, without distractions can be a reward! Find a time every day, even for a few minutes, to simply be—without thinking, planning, or considering. Breathe, smell the roses and recall the peace you found on your last vacation.
- Every day, before I walk into my office, I give myself a time-out. I stand in the parking lot and take several deep breaths. I look at the sky, birds, and trees. I feel the marine air against my skin. I take a moment to feel grateful for all of my blessings.
- Find a weekly source of relaxation and refreshment. Over the last several years, I have restarted my interest in Tai Chi Chuan, a Chinese form of mind and body exercise. I take a class every Monday evening. It’s an opportunity for me to let go of everyday concerns and simply learn and practice something new. I always feel relaxed and renewed at the end of the two-hour class! Yoga classes provide the same sense of calm and can be found everywhere. Start with a beginner’s class and all you have to do is show up.
- Make a date with your significant other. How many parents spend time making “play dates” for their young children? Yet, what about planning regular dates with your spouse? Don’t wait for your July trip to the San Juan’s to spend time with your loved one! Make dates a regular part of your schedule. Take it from a guy who has been with the same woman for 43 years, it's important!
- Create weekly mini-vacations! No, you don’t have to go away every weekend to relax (although that is why some people have cabins). Carve out even 30 minutes just for yourself. Take a hot bath, sit in the garden, drink some herb tea, take a walk by yourself, have breakfast with your loved one, go to the movies, or read a book.
Let’s all work on keeping our summer vacation peace!