We all love vacations. I mean who doesn't like taking a break from everything, often leaving home and going somewhere else to get away from everything? There's the vacations that my family always took: camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking. Then there's the ones that friends of mine take: cruises, trips to Europe, trips to Australia (though I'm still not sure if I'm jealous or grateful it wasn't me).
What about those of us who don't have the time or the money to go on long vacations? What if we have family obligations, car issues, medical problems, etc. that keep us home? What are we supposed to do then? How can we take a vacation?
There are many ways we can take little vacations. We can go to the park for a picnic. If we're physically able, take a walk just around the block. Another way we can take a vacation is a mental one. Those we can take any time we want.
A mental vacation can be as short as a few seconds or as long as we want. What is a mental vacation you may ask? A mental vacation is completely turning your mind away from anything that you're doing, that is troubling you, that is stressing you out. You take yourself out of your own head.
Many psychiatrists recommend finding a “happy place” you can take yourself to when you're stressing or are very anxious about something. Somewhere that can calm you down. In my case, mine is a forest surrounded by mossy trees and the faint sound of the river. I can draw on the memories of a child camping to bring this image to my mind. A friend of mine has an image of walking through Madison Square Garden in NYC when it's full of noise and people as her happy place. It's whatever works for the person in question.
Another way to take a little mental vacation is music. A single song can take your mind off your troubles if you let it, a piece of music can restore your calm. Close your eyes while the music is playing. Let the lyrics, the instruments, the beats of the drum or whatever it is about the song that you like wash your thoughts away. Let it clear your mind, help you calm down. For me, that's instrumental music. For Himself, that's German Industrial.
Mental vacations are necessary to help us regain focus and balance. Yoga is a good way to balance yourself again. Meditation can be too. So can Tai Chi. Or just putting your headphones on/earbuds in and listening to a song or two. Standing still and putting yourself into your happy spot. Walking or running, using physical activity to clear your head. All of these are good.
So what do you do to take a mental vacation?