Why you NEED a Vacation

I just got back from a long weekend in Lake Placid, New York. I haven’t been on a vacation since August 2016. My husband and I both started new jobs, which comes with new stressors, change, and uncomfortable acclimation. The little things were starting to irritate us; our patience growing thin not only with each other, but with daily life tasks. We needed a break. Whether it be a staycation, a drivable long weekend getaway, or a trip to somewhere exotic, read below why you need a vacation…

Break your Routine

Alarm clock. Coffee. Get ready, commute to work. Work all day. Hit the gym for a super quick workout. Go grocery shopping. Shower. Prepare dinner. Clean something. Throw in a load of laundry. Prepare for the next day. Try to unwind. Sleep. Repeat. Does this sound familiar?

Do you know what my routine was on vacation? Oh wait, there was no routine. None. No alarm clock buzzing in my ear at five thirty AM. No preparing for the next day. No cleaning. I got out of bed when my body wanted to rise. I went to the gym every day at whatever time I wanted to go. I didn’t have to worry about picking up my husband’s dry cleaning or running to the supermarket after my workout. I ate at a new restaurant every meal, not worrying about having to scrub a pile of dishes. I didn’t do one load of laundry. I fixed my hair nicely; I applied makeup. I took a long shower, not worrying about my to-do list. I read a book AND a magazine. I spent quality time with my husband.

Being on vacation allows you a change of routine, habits, and roles, that you need for adequate relaxation and rejuvenation. Sleep in, don’t cook, and sit down and read something other than the monthly bills…

Try Something New

I went for a massage and received a cupping treatment. Cupping is where they use cups to create a suction over your muscles to reduce pain, inflammation, and to promote relaxation and healthy blood flow. I loved it. My back and neck had less tension! I want to continue receiving treatments now that I am home.

My husband and I also hiked two of the 46 high peaks. We tackled and accomplished Cascade and Porter mountains. It was an incredible experience that involved a lot of teamwork and really brought us closer together as a married couple. Hiking the high peaks is no joke, and we were so happy when we realized that we hiked 4,096 feet above sea level together. It was exhilarating and we are so excited to share our adventure with others.

Even if you have a staycation, do something new. Visit a rock climbing gym, experience a cooking class, or get a Reiki treatment.  If you go away, plan an excursion. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and most importantly, have fun.

Hiking in Lake Placid

My husband, at the summit of Cascade Mountain

Take Care of Yourself

I spent time swimming in the pool, relaxing in the hot tub, and sweating in the sauna. Swimming is fantastic exercise, the hot tub is super relaxing, and the sauna helps my body rid toxins. I got an hour workout in the gym every day. My husband and I had conversations at dinner other than what needed to be done (around the house, errands, etc). I felt fantastic. We reconnected. Win-win. I also went to the beach and read a book, which was so calming and soothing. Breathing in the fresh lake air, reading a New York Times Bestseller, and sitting with my toes in the sand, while drinking a local craft brew…what could be better?

Try to rejuvenate all your needs when you take a vacation:

  • Mental: read a book, magazine, or newspaper, play a board/card game
  • Physical: go swimming, to the gym, hiking, walk around town, explore your surroundings
  • Emotional: meditate, reconnect with whomever your with
Relaxing in Lake Placid

Relaxing on the beach with a book & a beer in Lake Placid

Disconnect

I’m guilty of being on my phone; but for a few hours each day, I tried to stay off my phone and be one with myself and nature. We are constantly on our electronic devices when we are at home. Give your brain (and fingers) a rest and disconnect from everything! It feels good, trust me!

Nature in Lake Placid

Being one with Cascade Mountain

You’ll Return Happy

When you get home, you’ll be thrilled. You’ll get to sleep in your own bed, bathe in your own shower, and come home to share your stories with family, friends, and pets. You will feel relaxed, rested, and happy. You won’t be ready to return to work, but when you head back into the office, you will remind yourself that working will pay for your next adventure.

Final Thoughts

Take a vacation. You probably need it.

I saw a quotation that stated, “Create a life you don’t need a vacation from.” – I’m not there yet. My life is unfortunately not a vacation. I look forward to getting away from my daily habits, roles, and routines to visit new places, try new things, and reconnect with myself and my husband.

When is your next adventure? Where will you go? What will you do? 

Namaste.

PS. Stay tuned to the next post which will feature a Cruelty Free at Home Spa Night – if you can’t take a vacation, you can still feel like you are on vacation!

Why you NEED a Vacation

Color Vibe

 

welcomecolor

When I was interning as an occupational therapy student in TBI (traumatic brain injury), I had an extremely difficult client who wouldn’t engage in conversation, never mind participate in any of the activities I presented to him. He became increasingly agitated and would smack himself, pound his fists on the table, and shout obscenities at me, disturbing the other therapists and clients. In school, they don’t teach you how to handle these types of situations. Your CI (Clinical Instructor) wants you to think on your feet and watch you adapt to a plethora of uncomfortable, unpredictable situations. They want to see how you keep control of your patient and the dilemma, and observe how you handle stress and aggravation. Fortunately, in this situation, my childhood hobby came into handy.

I knew my client liked Star Wars, so I printed out a few coloring sheets on the computer. I walked over to him, placed a coloring sheet and a box of crayons on the table in front of him, and sat down a few feet away. He looked at me and screamed, “I AIN’T DOIN’ THAT, STUPID!” I defeatedly replied, “Okay.”, and I started coloring my own sheet. After a few minutes, I saw him reach for a crayon. He colored the entire sheet, quietly, without outbursts. Everyone in the room was shocked. I remember one therapist gave me a thumbs up.  I finally got him to engage in a task and act appropriately for thirty minutes. When he finished with the first sheet, he asked me if I had any others. Mission accomplished.

Now, as an occupational therapist, I keep a few coloring books on hand in the therapy gym. I have learned more about my clients when they are coloring and having a bad day than I have trying to get them to do other activities of daily living (ADLs are the basis of OT including dressing, toileting, grooming, hygiene, bed mobility, medication, and home management). Sometimes, as they are coloring, I can get to the bottom of why my client is feeling a certain way, and what may be causing them to have a bad stint in the gym. Life, as we all know, certainly does happen, and sometimes we need to do something relaxing before we jump into more difficult tasks.

color-dogs

work in progress

If you don’t already know, coloring has numerous therapeutic benefits. When my anxiety creeps up, I whip out this small coloring book, 12 Crayola twistable colored pencils, pour myself a nice big cup of coffee, and start coloring. Coloring calms me down, helps me to de-stress, unwind, and unplug. It’s tactile, and I get to choose my color and sheet, which gives me control. I am happy when my page is finished. I don’t stress if I color outside the lines. I could care less if I doodle in the background. Sometimes, I use one or two colors and sometimes I use all twelve. It is creative, quiet, and fun.

As silly as it may sound, coloring is my coping mechanism and a great way for me to self-soothe. It is cheaper than therapy, healthier than a glass of wine, and allows me to retreat to my own personal paradise.

After all, broken crayons still color.

Namaste.

colorowl