Three Ways to Find Calm When You’re Not on Vacation
I just returned from a weeklong vacation with my family to Mexico. We stayed at a resort in Puerto Vallarta in the Vallarta Nayarit section. It was beautiful, relaxing and rejuvenating. It is such a treat to spend time with my two daughters and husband away from the responsibilities and distractions of our everyday lives.
We got to enjoy time with each other playing in the ocean, relaxing by the pool and eating delicious meals with no musts on our schedule.
I noticed that it takes me a day to really get the hang of relaxing when I go on vacation. After about 24 hours I was ready to really enjoy my time away. What took so long? It took that long to let go of all the things that tend to occupy my mind when I am at home and at work.
As the hours on the beach turned to days, my thoughts turned to noticing the beautiful clouds over the ocean, the colorful sails on the boat going by and the seagull’s calls. No longer did thoughts of work, laundry, dinner or undone chores block my enjoyment of the waves on the ocean.
Now that I am back at my desk writing this blog it seems to me that the challenge in finding and remaining calm in our everyday lives has a lot to do with being mindful and present in our everyday lives.
It is easy to get preoccupied, worry and ruminate about what is next on our To Do List.
It is almost as if there is a prize for how over focused we get about the minutiae of daily activity. While focus and clarity are indeed necessary for our daily work, so is being able to step back, get perspective and allow ourselves to rest and rejuvenate every day.
Here are 3 ways to get your calm back.
- Get Out! – Get outside that is. Schedule a 1 to 5 minute outside break twice a day. Get out of your office, your house or your car and walk around outside for several minutes. Here’s why. Being outside allows your brain to relax away from screens, phones, and indoor air. Just the simple act of walking outside is a mini vacation for your entire nervous system. Try this for a week and see if your productivity and mood improve.
- Stop It! – Stop thinking about everything you have to do, haven’t done, regret doing and are worried about. It is easy to let our thoughts think us. When you notice you have moved into overwhelm, rumination and worry, stop the worry train and get off. Close your eyes, take 5 long, slow deep breaths. Then think about that vacation place you love. Go there in your mind and take a walk around this relaxing land. Take 5 more deep breaths. Now you can go back to what you were doing. Just don’t get on the worry train.
- Make an O out of U – This is a simple grounding technique that you can use anytime to let go of stress. It allows you time to breathe deeply and reconnect to yourself. Stand up and let your knees bend deeply 3 to 4 inches. Now slowly bend over and allow your arms to dangle freely, touching the ground if that is comfortable. Keep your knees slightly bent and touch your toes. (It is quite okay if you can’t.) Now breathe fully and deeply, while keeping your knees bent and still touching your toes. Stay here for several breaths. When you are ready, slowly, slowly, one vertebrae at a time, roll up to standing. Keep your knees slightly bent and take another breath. Notice how you feel now.
Put these little tools in your pocket and pull them out when you need to relax and return to the beach for a few minutes. Let me know which one of these you liked the best.