The whole point of taking a vacation is to relax, unwind, and enjoy the things that give us pleasure. In fact, the word “vacation” comes from a Latin word that means “idle” or “to have free time.”
But with your hectic lifestyle, vacation time may seem like the only opportunity to get caught up on everyday chores, home maintenance projects or family responsibilities. If you’re doing this, you are actually just replacing one form of work for another — and you’re missing an important and much needed opportunity to rest and refresh your body and spirit.
How to make down time work for you
Try some of these ideas to truly disconnect from work and re-connect with yourself and those close to you. By doing so, you can make any vacation a revitalizing one — even if it’s just an afternoon away from the office, a day off, a long weekend or an all-out two-week holiday.
- Live “in the moment.” Try to truly experience what you are doing now, rather than worrying about the work you left behind, or chores you should be doing. Listen to your body, sleep when you’re tired and eat when you’re hungry. Decide what you want to do, and do only those things.
- Change your scenery. Try to go somewhere that isn’t home, even if you’re only taking a half-day away from the office. Go golfing, spend a few hours at the beach, take a trip to the zoo, laze away an afternoon at the movies or pack a picnic and really “eat out”.
- Turn it off. Unless staying connected is a part of your job, turn off your cell phone and don’t check email. You might even unplug your home phone, or at least screen your calls.
- Be adventurous. Do something you’ve never done before. By engaging your mind, it will take you away from your daily concerns. Visit a new place, take a landscape painting course, go for a hike somewhere you’ve never been, explore a part of town you’re not familiar with, or spend a few hours in an indoor climbing gym.
- Get physical. Being active can force us to live in our bodies rather than our minds. Book a trip to a spa, sign up for ballroom dance lessons or register for weekly classes to learn a new sport.
- Waste time. Give yourself permission to take a chunk of down time. Wake up when you’re ready instead of setting the alarm. Skip the morning shave or makeup routine. Eat breakfast at lunch time. Enjoy wearing your old sweats instead of dressing up for work. Laze in the hammock and watch the clouds drift by.
- Spend time with friends. Instead of filling your time off with chores, fill it with good company. Renew old friendships or strike up new ones. Enjoy some leisurely after-dinner chats, plan a weekend adventure together or even a week at a cottage.