This year for the first time I took a mid-winter vacation and I spent it in the south on the beach (not skiing like my husband wanted). In this article, I share my tips on getting the most of your vacation with or without a child.
We all live busy, stressful lives, running between home, the kindergarten, school, and work. We all dream about the upcoming vacation. And we all fail to relax because we keep our busy lives with us. Does that sound familiar? If yes, read further.
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I am not going to advertise a specific place, or a country, but just make sure you head south and warm. Why? Because our bodies do not get enough warmth and sunlight in the winter and they do not produce enough vitamin D to keep us away from depression. A lot of people have found the magic of sunlight in the winter, so why don’t you try it?
In case you have kids, pick a hotel with child care center or kids club center. You will want to spend a lot of time with your kids, but they need entertainment for kids – not for adults.
All-inclusive is a must-have. You do not want to worry about cooking and similar stuff on your vacation.
Flying is better than driving. If you are one of these people that want to drive around and see many sights – you can rent a car. But driving 10+ hours to and from your destination will negate the benefits. So, get on the plane and make sure your destination is within a few hours flight.
Pack some toys and food for the kids. Kids get very excited on a plane, but it does not last long. Be prepared to entertain them with any means necessary. If your airplane is equipped with a TV screen – use it.
Your top priority is to keep some parts of your daily life, but not replicate it all.
Put the phone on silent, do not check your email, stay away from the social media. There is hardly an emergency that cannot wait for a few days. You have set your out of office reply in Outlook, so let people read it and contact you after you are back.
If the issue is urgent, somebody else will take care. If nobody takes care, it was not urgent.
I usually spend 20 minutes every morning exercising. I usually do it while preparing breakfast. And when I am on vacation, I make sure I stick to it. It helps me get rid of the excessive stress hormones and it keeps me in shape (for the beach).
More about the daily exercise routine here: Practicing Discipline – The Ultimate Daily Routine for Entrepreneurs.
Meditation is about concentrating on the moment and not letting your mind worry about the future or go back to the past. This is the best activity when you are on vacation.
You do not want to worry about your job or the future. You do not want to sink in the past. Just focus your mind on the present and be on vacation.
What better place to meditate than on the beach while listening to the waves? What better time to meditate than now?
More about meditation here: How to Learn Meditation and Change Your Mind and Body.
Many people find it difficult to occupy their mind when they are supposed to be relaxing. It is like a monkey (or more like a two-year-old that wants to be entertained). So, why don’t you spend some time with your kid? Make sand castles. Play volleyball. Bake sand cakes. Do anything to be present and not somewhere in the future or the past.
If you are without kids (feel blessed) and enjoy it. Immerse yourself in a book. Take a long walk along the beach and feel each step, feel the weight of the body shifting between the left and the right leg. Find a quiet spot and meditate.
The beach is an awesome place to observe impermanence – one of the main teachings of Buddhism. The tides come and go each day. The sun rises and sets. You can even notice the sand castles – these massive projects in the minds of our kids – rise during the day and fall during the night tide (or thanks to the kid next door).
You can always notice the people that live next to the see. They are calmer, happier, they smile more. I personally think that is because they constantly notice impermanence and they live in the moment. Day after day. Season after season.
I personally find all-inclusive hotels better than half board (breakfast and dinner), because with all-inclusive you do not force yourself to “fill up because you will skip lunch”.
Make sure you avoid the fried stuff, as delicious as it looks. Try to diversify the food you eat and get just a few bites of everything that you choose.
Fish, meat, veggies, eggs and nuts can get you the needed protein. Pasta, beans, rice can get your slow carbohydrates. You could try to avoid fat.
I know you want to dig up into the chocolate and cakes and you should, but in moderation.
I know you want to take tons of pictures and share them in the social media, so that your “friends” can see you happy. But don’t! Enjoy your vacation as it is. If you want to take pictures, try to capture the mood and the relaxation. These memories will feed your soul when you go back – not the likes you put on your profile picture.
Let’s face it – it is not going to be pleasant. You pack your bags, the sun still shines, and you know that back home it is -15 degrees Celsius. You know that you will be going through passport control, security check and so on. Try to accept it as part of the vacation – like the end of a really good movie.
When you get back home, when you get back to work – don’t rush it. Don’t try to catch up on your first day. Make a smooth transition and save some of the energy from your mid-winter vacation for the upcoming weeks. Enjoy the comments from your colleagues that you look “fresh”.
Winter is long and even after the hottest, longest and nicest summer, it will come again. Luckily, we live in a global world where you can pack your bags and fly south for a mid-winter vacation. It feels so awesome to “split winter in two” and to get some warmth.
In order to enjoy your mid-winter vacation, however, you have to disconnect. You have to let yourself live in the moment and allow yourself to immerse in the moment.
Originally published at www.fromgnometogoliath.com