5 ways to feel like you’re on holiday every day (yes, really!)
Why do we take holidays? With the pandemic forcing many of us to reassess whether that much-anticipated foreign sojourn is safe or even possible, this question has become all the more relevant.
If you're not in the mood to read, I've also filmed a video sharing my top five ways to feel like you're on holiday every day.
For many of my clients, the main motivations are releasing stress and escaping from the daily grind of endless work meetings and messages. The thought of reclining by the pool with a cocktail is the beacon of hope that makes all the everyday drudgery of our busy, competitive lives worthwhile.
The problem with that is, it doesn’t last. As many of us have discovered, trying to force ourselves to relax and make the most of a mere week or two away is in itself stressful. By the time we finally manage to switch off, it’s time to go home again.
It also prevents us from living in the moment, because we are always anticipating a future reward for our hard work rather than enjoying what is right in front of us.
This attitude can lead to feeling burned out and lacking in confidence because rather than treating ourselves with compassion, we are saying: ‘I don’t deserve nice things until I’ve proved I’m good enough.’
But is there another way?
Yes! What if, instead of seeing holidays as a process of physically getting on a plane and staying in a resort, we look on them as an opportunity to recharge ourselves psychologically and spiritually?
If being on holiday is primarily a state of mind, that means we don’t actually have to go anywhere to experience it. We just have to carve out some time for ourselves to bring that ‘holiday’ feeling of freedom and openness to new experiences into our day-to-day lives. From a Buddhist point of view, we are breaking the cycle of constantly craving being somewhere else. Instead, our holiday paradise is right here.
But wait, I hear you say. Isn’t that just slacking off?
Not at all. With the pandemic changing the world of work, the opportunities for flexible, sustainable working are greater than ever before. And when we are feeling happier and less stressed we are likely to be more productive - which is good for business. That’s before we even get on to the environmental benefits of taking fewer long trips.
Five steps to bring the holiday feeling into your everyday life
1. Take weekends away
This spreads out ‘holiday’ time so you are not focussed on just one summer break and can avoid stress building up during the rest of the year. If you are lucky enough not to have to work weekends, use them for camping trips or visiting friends. If you do find yourself always composing emails on Saturdays or Sundays, look at delegating more or adapting your work pattern.
When we truly relax on holiday we may feel a sense of time stopping, as if we’ve left all our daily deadlines behind. By learning to meditate, we can recreate this feeling of timeless presence. It doesn’t have to mean sitting cross-legged surrounded by candles (although that is great) but can be as simple as focussing on your breathing as you walk down the street.
3. Take short work breaks
Stepping away from your desk for 10 minutes may not sound like much, but the cumulative effect of doing this regularly can really help to reduce stress. With many of us now working from home, it’s more important than ever to resist the temptation to be chained to a computer.
4. Get outdoors
From trips to the beach to hiking in the forest, most holidays involve getting out and about. But is there somewhere closer to home where you could go to be among nature? Taking regular walks or cycle rides in parks near our homes has been scientifically proven to make us feel calmer and more at ease.
5. Explore local museums and culture
One of the joys of travel is discovering something new about another culture. Yet it’s not really the travel that makes this possible. It’s having an open and curious state of mind. If you love exploring museums and galleries on holiday, there may be plenty close to home that you’ve overlooked because they’re not in an exotic location.
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