It always seems crazy busy...
Especially when you're trying to get away. Family life is busy, at the best of times, but it seems even busier when you are trying to get away on holidays. The climax of leaving can be filled with panic, arguments, kids! and dropping the dog, cat, budgie and crazy crabs to their designated pet-vacation!$$ Breathe...and tell yourself this is going to be great when you get on the plane. The flight was delayed, a volcano erupted, the bags were too heavy and you forgot to bring snacks to keep the kids from killing each other. Let's go on holiday! It sounds amazing! So by the time you get to your destination you're far from relaxed. This may be a little exaggerated but most families and friends struggle to escape the daily life and even relax when on 'holiday'.
Here's some tips that help with the process.
1. Live in the moment Switch off all technology for the first day. If you struggle to turn it all off, then just do it for the first 6 hours. Get the kids settled into an outdoor activity and set yourself up with a mindful activity such as reading for 1 hour or drawing. Whatever you do to 'wind down'. Walk along the beach or just sleep. It's amazing how quickly you will slip into relax mode. The next decision you'll most likely be thinking about is, should I keep reading or go for a swim. It's all about simplifying your surroundings and looking for that moment to wind down. Taking time for yourself has a knock on effect and others are going to benefit.
2. Switch on the senses If you're pool side or just relaxing on a farm, don't just reach for the headphones and block out the surroundings. Music is emotional and many songs have many memories that may trigger thoughts and feelings. Just listen to the background noises, the waves and the breeze. Take off your shoes and place your feet flat on the gound and close your eyes and just be quiet. If you're in a city you can admire architecture and the parks, the different colours and noises.
3. Meditation This will lead to a great and well known mindfulness activity called meditation. Research shows us that it stills the mind, lowers blood pressure, alleviates stress and boosts your immune system.
- Find a quiet place where you wont be disturbed for at least 10 minutes and lie down on the floor or sit by a tree.
- Position your palms on your lower stomach. Close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly. Try 4 breaths, in through your nose for 4 seconds and hold for 4 seconds and then exhale for 4 seconds. Hold relax for 4 seconds and then repeat.
- Focus on your breathing. This takes practice to calm yourself and to calm the mind with all its wanderings. Try and focus on what your body is doing. This is a great reset.
- Feel the surrounds. Feel the pressure of your body on the floor sitting or laying down, start to notice every part of you body. From your toes right through to the top of your head.
- You can pray, speak affirmations or just wait for the body to settle and your mind to be rested.
4. Create Journaling is a great way to pen down those thoughts. Even try some story writing, drawing, taking a photograph (not a selfie) of your surrounds. Think of the composition, shapes, and colours. Maybe go for a drive and explore something you've never seen before or even something you've never eaten before. Find your own way of switching off.
These are just some tricks that help us and create a mindful place where one can reconnect with self and others. Try this with your partner and the kids. Kids have a unique way of picking up mindfulness activities really quickly. They do alot of mindful things without realising such as drawing, singing, dancing and lots of summer swimming while connecting with nature and their friends.