Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Feeling Overstressed? Try a mini-vacation

Whether it’s the pressures of work, the demands of our personal lives, a sudden crisis, or the on-going and chronic problems we must work through, most of us feel stressed and tense on a regular basis.  What we need is a vacation; A break from it all.  Unfortunately a true vacation is often not practical or possible.  And, it often provides only a temporary fix before the stressors return.

My solution to this is the mini-vacation.  A special break that can be enjoyed in just a few minutes – often all that we can spare.  Better yet, the mini-vacation is easily cost-free.  The important part is that it is scheduled – like a vacation, and is undisturbed “you” time.
Following are some ideas for having a mini-vacation.  This list is far from exhaustive, so please be creative and think up your own!

1.       Stare out the window.  Maybe you have a nice view of the City, a Lake or Ocean.  Look at the grand scene, or take note of the trees blowing in the wind.  Enjoy the quiet of this moment.

2.       Give yourself a hand massage.  Get some lotion with a fragrance you enjoy, take off any jewelry that would interfere and give yourself a slow nourishing massage of the fingers, wrists, and thumbs.

3.       Listen to some music.  Ideally, be able to do this with your eyes closed.  Hear the music without distraction.  Enjoy the melody, lyrics, or beat of the music.

4.       Stretch.  Stand up and stretch your back, your shoulders and neck.  Do a few yoga poses.  If you like, incorporate music into this moment.

5.       Read a book or article.  This is pleasure relaxation reading – the kind you wish you had time to do.  Allow yourself to escape into the characters and to read without interruption.

6.       Take a walk.  Getting outside to feel the sun, the wind, even the rain, can be refreshing and invigorating.
7.       Call a friend – If you feel socially isolated, and this is your biggest desire, this may be your ideal mini-vacation.  Be sure to limit your calls to people who inspire you and make you feel good.

8.       Daydream – Imagine being someplace where you are relaxed and happy.  Visualize it.  Hear the sounds that would surround you.  Make the day-dream as real as possible by combining it with music or a photograph if that helps you to escape into the moment.

9.       Write a letter – Perhaps you wish you had more time to correspond with others.   Write a letter to an old friend or loved one.

10.   Look at old pictures – Do you have an online photo account through Shutterfly, Flickr or SmugMug?  Revisiting happy memories of other “real” vacations and seeing images of your friends, children, or pets can revitalize and bring a smile to your face.

By putting your mind and body in a happy zone, even if only for a few minutes, you are giving yourself a much needed vacation from the rest of the stress that surrounds you.  So go on, schedule your mini-vacations, you deserve it.

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