Vacation healing

Since I just returned from vacation, I thought I would write about the virtues of taking one. Actually, vacations do have healing power. There are two important aspects to this healing that I will focus on, bonding and relaxation.

Bonding

The Bonding aspect refers to the time one spends with family, important people, or eventhemselves.

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Often in life we get very busy with all the daily “stuff” that needs to be accomplished: working, cleaning, shopping, caring for kids, etc. Relationships can be easily pushed to the back burner or left on the couch. We call watching TV together “quality time” because are just too tired to put much effort forth. This can go on for so long that it becomes usual.

Vacations put a stop to the “usual” of life. It causes major disruption in our routine. Which is the point. It is the time to get away from the grind and enjoy ourselves and our loved ones. Vacations in any form should have you spending real quality time in face to face conversations, talking about your feelings and future together, enjoying activities as enrichment and bonding. It can be quite difficult to carve out some really good quality time for all of this with your family or loved ones.

Relaxation

The Relaxation aspect refers to taking time to destress, let go of the worries and daily concerns in exchange for giving your self healing time and energy.

As well as being distracting, daily stuff can also cause significant stress. Keeping track of money, kids, spouses, and laundry can be tedious. Not to mention your job, the giant to do list, your angry sister or neighbor, and your own negative feelings. Stress impacts us endlessly and in various degrees. Stress also has a cumulative effect. If it is not managed regularly, it builds up and impacts us emotionally, physically, psychologically and relationally.

Vacation allows us to let go of the daily stuff is a psychological sense. I choose (and recommend to others) to take vacations away from the house so as not be tempted to do any kind of housework or other projects that may call while at home. I like to have no obligations in a vacation for the purpose of relaxing. The main advantage of vacation would be the removal of the stressors. You may choose any other activity you like to relax while on vacation, reading, sleeping, touring, riding, sight seeing, etc. Those are added benefits to increase your enjoyment and decrease your stress.

Note, a vacation does not have to be expensive, far away, exotic, or long term. It can be whatever it is that physically takes you out of the daily grind to spend quality time with loved ones. It should not increase your stress burden by taking more time or money than you have to give.

Visualize your Goal

I have heard in many different ways and in many different forms that you must know where you are going in order to get there. Huh? You must visualize the end result to accomplish your goal. 

For example, my neighbor is 22. He was going to college, but dropped out to work because he had no clue what he wanted to do. He can easily get stuck in his current job, working at a tire store, for a very long time, trying to figure out what he wants to do or just sustaining life (barely). He can also take some action. He needs to look at a “map,” talk with an academic advisor or take some career tests. He won’t get where he wants to go unless he knows where he is going.

I know a lot of people who want to lose weight. I recently saw a new “program” for weight loss that included “brain training.”  The idea was that we do better with goals if we can visualize what we would look like at the end. I like the idea of visualizing your end result. Buying a program for it, not so much. If you want to get fit and healthy, what does that look like? Are you thin, tone, a certain size, lower blood pressure, healthy eat habits? There are so many ways to look at it! Any way you do it, you have know what the end result looks like or you will never get there.

With my clients I ask what they would like to accomplish in therapy. The answer is often the absence of something negative, like depression, anxiety, troubled past or relationship. Very few people have a good understanding of what they would like their happier alternative life to be. I often ask “what would that look like?” What is your end game? When it is said and done, what would your life, as a movie, look like? If you don’t know, you will never get there.

TRY THIS

CREATING YOUR VISUALIZATION

Do you have a goal in your life? Anything, lose weight, clean out the closet, finish school, eat healthier, learn gardening.

You can start with an easy one. Let’s choose organizing a space (ok, easy for some).

  1. GOAL: Organize desk (yep, that is what I am looking at)
  2. What do I want: Clean, less cluttered, easy to find things, more work space
  3. What does that look like: Organized files, colorful folders, shelves…    create a mental picture here. You can research spaces you are interested in for inspiration.

Research is your friend. Once you choose your goal, you will need to create a map. That map will show you how to get to that goal. Often times you will need some professional help to get there, like school, books, nutritionist or doctor. When you can see what that end result looks like, you can put one foot in front of the other to get there. Remember the Reward and keep the visualization in your mind (or pinned to your bathroom mirror).