Last week my husband and I ventured up to NY to visit my family for Christmas. He was hoping for lots of snow and I was dreading the cold, but really anxious to see my family.
We arrived and drove in the rain and fog to our destination, the rain washed away most of the snow and it wasn’t too cold for a few days. Christmas Day, we awoke to snow and 4 degree weather – burrrrr. Not enough snow to snowboard, not even on the lawn. The next day, we drove in a snow storm to the airport. This was a quick trip overall but I learned a few things along the way.
I left my laptop at home so I was forced to ‘unplug’ for a few days. I could read e-mails on my phone but no writing, planning to the nth degree, no sitting on my laptop working away as I often like to do.
After a day of laptop withdrawal, I began to notice that my mind was not going and going all day long. I wasn’t constantly thinking about what’s next or what I’m not currently doing.
This started to feel really good. My stress levels dropped and I felt a sense of calm I haven’t felt in a really long time.
We had less on the agenda so I was able to just live moment to moment and really stay in the present. I wasn’t planning my life days and months ahead, just taking it day by day and maybe making dinner plans, but nothing too stressful. Hanging out with my niece and nephew and having tons of fun playing reminded me how essential play is to balance out all the work we do.
So this is what I learned and will keep practicing:
- Take time to unplug daily and weekly. This means not being glued to my laptop all day, all night and not checking my phone every 5 minutes or less.
- Have less on my to-do list. I love to make little deadlines for myself, but I often go overboard and then have a really long and overwhelming list. Keep it short with 3-4 items only.
- Get more sleep. I often find myself staying on the computer too long every night, see #1, then end up getting less sleep than I really need.
- More time for play time. We’re all wired to work as much as we can, but without making time for play the quality of our work suffers and so do we. Getting irritated and cranky is no fun.
- Stress less. Most of our tasks are not life critical, so they really are not worth stressing out over and inducing fight or flight in our bodies.
What are some lessons you learned on vacation that you could practice in your day to day.
I’d love to know, please share in the comments section below.