I have WAY more experience staying home than going on vacation, but here are some vacation things I always want to continue when I return home to the state 50% of its residents want to leave.
- Set better boundaries. Part of the beauty of getting away is that you’re automatically excused from certain things. “Sorry, I can’t—we’ll be gone.” Whew, huh? We can’t avoid stressors in life, but I could re-evaluate all the things I think I “have to” do, and someday learn to say no without mental anguish.
- Purge my house. Living with so few possessions makes me realize I could—and I want to--live with less every day. Why am I keeping all those mismatched socks—their mates are never coming back! And the crafty odds and ends and stretched out sweaters I’m sure I’ll use someday… I blame Pinterest.
- Get more sleep. Sleep, much like chocolate and cheese, makes everything better. I can’t help what time my brain nudges me awake to start asking ridiculous “what if” questions, but I can control what time I go to bed. I once read that at the Minirth-Meyer clinics, when a new client first arrives, they schedule no counseling appointments or group therapy for the first few days. They just advise the client to sleep as much as possible. Sometimes that alone is a huge step toward mental health.
- Pay more attention to my relationships. I just spent two solid weeks with nobody but my husband for companionship. (I’m pretty sure he’s the only one I could do that with, and not end up as the perpetrator or victim of a homicide.) It was an interesting couple of weeks. There were times I felt like I had just met up with a guy I used to date. We don’t really have to run away from home to get to know each other outside of our daily routine (although it helps). I could have meaningful conversations with my loved ones without leaving town. I think I’ll try it. (What was that sound? Oh. Just my kids groaning.)
- Put work in perspective. Get a little mental distance between me and the ol’ 9-5. Actually I think I’m pretty good at this one. (Easy for me to say, with my part-time, summers-off job.) But not everyone is. Ahem.
- See the beauty around me. While I’m visiting someone else’s town, someone else is visiting mine. We have a lovely state park seven miles down the road from home—I could actually get away without leaving town. Also, Yard Crashers is not coming to my house. I can quit dreaming, hang some wind chimes next to my lawn chair and enjoy my own space.
- Slow. Down. My vacation is not even over—it feels like I just got into low gear—but as departure approaches I can feel my mind beginning to ratchet up for “real life.” Real life will get here soon enough. Enjoy the slow.