Saturday, August 20, 2011

5 Simple Ways to Take a Vacation From Stress

By Kevin Schoeninger

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1. Take five

Take a five-minute break every day and do nothing. While you're "doing nothing" you could close your eyes and take slow, deep, relaxing breaths. Another great thing to do while you're doing nothing is to sit by a window or go outside and gaze up at the sky. Become absorbed in the clouds or the blue expanse, as the case may be. Allow the sky to elevate your mind above it all and lighten your thinking.

2. Meditate

Even 10-20 minutes of meditation every day can bring fresh air into your life. Meditation relaxes your body, calms your emotions, clears your mind, and focuses your intention, so you can handle everything else you need to do more effectively and efficiently. Taking time to meditate first thing in the morning starts your day from a positive reference point that you can easily return to when you feel stress coming on. Taking a meditation break during the middle of the day can be like a mini-vacation.

3. Take a half-day

Speaking of mini-vacations, how about taking one half day off every month? Or even better, if your life allows, could you take one half day per week? You probably take a half-day here or there to go to the doctor, the dentist, or to attend your kid's school play. How about taking a half-day just for yourself?

4. Take at least one day off each week

In most religious traditions, there's one day per week that is planned for rest. Heck, even God took the seventh day off after all that creative activity. There's great wisdom in this. Schedule at least one day each week when no work enters your mind. Schedule something fun to do, so you have to get up, get out, and be away from work and home.

5. Take more vacations

As often as you can, take vacations. While all the ideas above are tremendously helpful, there's nothing like getting away from it all. It doesn't have to be far away. It could be a short drive, bus, train, or bike ride. The key is to go to a different environment, do new things, see new places, meet new people, and see life through a different lens. On vacation, I usually give myself permission to sleep more and do less as well.

Even if it's just a weekend trip, I'm always amazed at what a difference this makes. Getting away from the normal routine gives me a different perspective, helps me to let go, and re-inspires me with enthusiasm for life. Incorporate any or all of these mini-breaks into your life and watch your stress fall away.