Uh-oh…controversial subject. Actually, not even controversial. Absolutely everyone will probably disagree with this statement. Even I disagree with this statement.
Then why did I say it?
Well, because I don’t actually mean you never need a vacation or that you don’t need a vacation right now to have fun but I do mean that you don’t need a vacation to relax, enjoy life, or step back and see the world’s beauty.
So why do we go on vacation?
We want to relax. Right? We want to put space between us and our problems. How many times have you said, “I need a vacation” with an exasperated sigh attached? Probably a lot. And I did too, until I moved and had to reprioritize my life. We want and need to get away from the stress of work, family, obligations, life, blah, blah, and blah. That’s an indisputable fact.
If we don’t step away from all these stressors what happens? We burn out. We get angry. Our relationships our taxed. Our mental state deteriorates. Happiness is harder to find. And all this stress increases our risk for things like heart disease, stroke, gastrointestinal problems. The proof is out there.
Stress is bad. So let’s remember that (I don’t think that’ll be too hard).
Why else do we go on vacation?
We want to enjoy life. We want to look around, enjoy the scenery, look at pretty sunsets and gorgeous treetops. We want to eat out and enjoy ourselves. Not far off the mark, I hope. Coming back to the idea of stress, we are so bombarded by so many things, diet, exercise, work, hobbies, family, etc that we don’t enjoy ourselves. We end up being so stressed that we don’t even like things that we ought to, like our hobbies.
When I run, I often remind myself “I do this for fun” because it’s important to remember that. Right? It’s too easy to forget.
So, that’s the second thing I want you to remember. We want to enjoy life.
Okay so hopefully we aren’t jumping down my throat by this point in the blog. You don’t need a vacation to accomplish either of these things. In fact, you shouldn’t rely on vacation to bring you these things. If you do, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Big time.
Why? We’ll get to that later.
First, how do we eliminate stress in our life? How do we enjoy life?
Let’s tackle that first one.
We eliminate stress by not eliminating it. I’m sorry…what? No, no hear me out. We either have control over a stressor or we don’t. There is no middle ground here. If we do have control over it, no need to stress about it. Why? Because we are doing our very best to ensure success. We are doing our very best period. If we don’t have control over it, no need to stress about it. Why? Because there’s nothing we can do about it!
A lot of the times, even if we know that, we can’t help but feel stressed out. And that’s okay. That’s where this next part comes in. Let it go. If it’s a work stress…leave it at work at your desk. You can pick it up tomorrow morning. If it’s a home stress, push it out of moments otherwise untouched by it. Work to abandon that stress.
Okay, okay so we know a little bit of how to eliminate stress now. Remember, Google has so many helpful things out there for you to learn about, stress management included. It isn’t a quick process, not all the time at least, and it can feel overwhelming. So, if you are feeling overwhelmed at how to leave stress at work or push it out of your mind, there is no shortage of options out there to help you out!
All right, let’s talk about relaxing. You don’t have to do it on vacation only. I know that doesn’t sound like a revolutionary concept, but it kind of is. We tend to go, go, go. Right? Right. What that means is that we don’t prioritize relaxing. That’s a problem. Just because we go, go, go doesn’t mean we can’t carve out time to relax and relax in different ways. Take some time at night to do some yoga with your loved one and laugh. Watch some TV…positive TV or happy youtube videos. Sit outside with tea. Sit by a fire, outside or inside. Brew some tea, have some cookies, get a special snack and just sit in silence maybe even with someone else.
Take those relaxing activities you do on your vacations and that you so look forward to and incorporate them into your daily life. We might not have the ability to do so every night but hopefully, by carving out specific days and times (even if it’s fifteen minutes) to relax we will help ourselves out. We will feel better and that toxic mindset of “we have to relax on vacation” will alleviate pressure on vacations.
Because who wants to feel like they can’t do things on a trip because we never relax?
So how do we enjoy life when we aren’t surrounded by gorgeous ocean sunsets, crisp mountain air, or large rolling plains? Well, we enjoy what we have.
There’s no reason we can’t find beauty in our everyday life and our normal surroundings.
Sometime today, the next time you find yourself outside, stop. I really mean it too. Take a couple minutes, even if you’re just walking to your car and stop. Look up, look around you, take note of the world you stepped into. Look at how beautiful your surroundings are. Enjoy them for just a moment.
We get so used to our surroundings that we don’t notice their beauty. It’s the same reason why we should move around our photographs and knick-knacks…so that we notice them. Working to be mindful helps us move past ignoring the world around us.
Pay attention the dew in the grass beneath your feet…even as you’re rushing to your car. Look up when you’re outside. Take note of the weather and how it feels to you today (that’s why daily walks are so special). Look at the trees, the rock, the horizon. If you’re in traffic, take a look around you! What a perfect time to bring your awareness to your current moment.
What’s the takeaway here? That we have a lot of work to do…kinda.
Maybe we have some reprioritization that needs to happen. Maybe we need to start appreciating where we are in life or maybe we need to change where we are.
But what we definitely have to do is learn to relax and learn to be happy and enjoy our life. It’s the only one we have, cliche as it is, so why do you resist that happiness?