“I NEED A VACATION FROM MY VACATION.”
We’ve all said it; we’ve all felt it: the blanket of exhaustion that unfurls upon our return from what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation, the disorientation tinged with melancholy that always seems to take us by surprise. Imagining and fantasizing about a trip is energizing. Researching and planning is exciting. But as months of anticipation turn into weeks and then days of preparation, the logistics of extracting ourselves from our busy lives loaded with responsibilities can be daunting and leads to a phenomenon that I have come to call, “the pre-vacay crescendo.” Work, kids, packing, dogs, mail, passport, newspaper—whatever your particular moving parts—putting them all on hold for a while takes considerable energy, and the days and hours leading up to departure inevitably feel like a mad rush to get it all done. I often find myself saying, “I’ll relax when I’m on the plane.”
But, is this scenario really inevitable? Is it possible to have a truly restorative vacation? Here are some things that get in the way.
FAILING TO DOWNSHIFT
Like it or not, most of us move at top speed through our very busy lives and 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, über accessible 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 freeway and take the scenic route.
“Fear of Missing Out” is a term I only recently heard. I wasn’t late to this party; I just didn’t know what it was called. We’re blessed to live in the Land of Opportunity and we like to make the most of every 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. I often find that in planning a trip, I make an impossibly long list of everything I want to do and see. Self-imposed pressure to not miss a thing is a roadblock to my relaxation.
I’m not sure what it is about our society—or maybe it’s just me—but it seems like we 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. I am sure every European takes 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, they are developing coping skills.
Unplug. For real. Enough said.
There are those times when the whole point of taking a vacation is for rest and relaxation. When those moments arise, it might be wise to book a wellness retreat. This is the kind of trip that isn’t centered around sightseeing, socializing, planes, trains and automobiles. The focus of your time away is to fill yourself up where the daily grind depletes you.
9 Essentials for a Truly Restorative Wellness Retreat
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.
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.
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.
Let your mind travel from its everyday focus, along with the rest of you. Whether you choose a novel or magazine, expanding your intellectual world can offer a healthy respite from your mental chatter.
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.
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.
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.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” —Eckhart Tolle