All living creatures need a certain amount of vitamins and nutrients to maintain a strong, healthy existence. Humans are no different, save for the fact that we need a few extra “boosts” to keep ourselves functioning at our best.
Eating a healthy diet is one way to achieve this goal, but it’s only part of the equation. Exercise and love are two more components that form a “healthy human,” but let’s not forget about enjoyment. Fulfillment, whether in the form of job satisfaction, small daily pleasures or hobbies that make us happy, is also vital to our mind-body-soul success.
In the summertime, this type of joy is often derived from vacations, or a healthy dose of Vitamin V. These brief breaks from reality allow us to disconnect, recharge, and return to our daily lives and obligations renewed, refreshed and reinvigorated. There’s only one problem: vacations can often be an added source of stress! You’ve heard the saying “I need a vacation from my vacation.” Kids, itineraries, unexpected travel delays, bad weather, incompleted tasks back home and a general sense of feeling like a foreign man in a foreign land can all chip away at your enjoyment, eventually creating an all-around bad time.
Don’t let this happen to you. You work hard all year long. Those vacation days are well-earned, and they are yours to do whatever you please. Luckily, the Chopra Center’s blog has some great tips on maximizing enjoyment while minimizing distress when you’re out on the open road.
Here are my top 3:
- Let Go of Responsibility
I get it. Kids need to wear sunscreen. You shouldn’t jump off a cliff if there’s a sign two feet away that says “No jumping. Shallow waters below.” Safety first, as always. But that doesn’t mean you need to be the fun police. Get the basic necessities (i.e. food, water, shelter, sunscreen) covered and then get out there and have a good time!
Vacation is your chance to play on your terms, which is why it’s always a good idea to wrap up all personal and business matters beforehand so they don’t stalk you like a Great White during Shark Week. Once you’ve done all you can back home, try to keep your obligations to a minimum and really take this time to unwind, disconnect from technology and the functional world as much as you can, and reconnect with the people, places and things you love!
- Try Something New
Part of reconnecting with yourself is exploring your interests. We all have a pretty good sense of what makes us tick, and that includes activities and hobbies we like to engage in. That’s a great place to start, but branching off from there can be even better. Love stand-up paddleboarding? Try surfing. Can’t get enough of that lobster roll? Try a clambake. Digging the energy at the on-site restaurant? Reserve a spot at the luau or on a sunset cocktail cruise.
It doesn’t matter what activity we try, it’s the simple act of branching out, getting our endorphins flowing and seeing what really elevates our vacation enjoyment. That’s what’s important. This should not be a stressful activity. If you love to parasail but have no interest in taking that activity to the next level by skydiving, that’s no problem. Find little ways you can squeeze the most fun and relaxation out of what you’re capable of working with. Remember, it’s the journey, not the destination that matters – though, of course, these beautiful “destination” spots shouldn’t be overlooked!
- Be Present
This is good life advice no matter where you are, but especially if you’re paying $3,000 for a week’s stay at a resort and using five of your vacation days! You want to remain in the moment. Many of us falsely interpret this by “capturing the moment,” but walking around with our real-world addiction tied to our hands is no way to spend seven days in paradise! A handful of beautiful family photos will be the perfect souvenir and a wonderful way to commemorate the trip – but that trip may not evoke the best memories if you witnessed that volcano erupt through the camera app on a smartphone screen, or missed that bear ambling by because you were too busy hashtagging it for Instagram.
Believe me, if you don’t post it to social media, it still really happened.
Only this time it will be a coveted tale to share among the group lucky enough to experience it with you. Trust me, the photos won’t live up to the live experience. And your vacation mates won’t have nearly as good of a time if they’re not granted the privilege of having the “full you” show up to build a sand castle, enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner or see those dolphins swim by. Social media posts, the latest news headlines and electronic communications will come and go, but that bear doesn’t do a second show at 2 o’clock.