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Wishing you were on vacation?

 Just this past week I booked a full week of vacation…..yes a FULL week of vacation! I debated for weeks whether I should take a few long weekend trips or go for a full week of relaxation. I know I am not the only one that debates this issue. On one hand, taking 2 long weekend trips seems like a great idea because when you get back to work on a Monday you don’t feel so behind or in my case feel as though I neglected my patients. On the other hand, weekend trips never really feel like a vacation because they usually leave you yearning for more. A great vacation leaves you feeling energized and refreshed but I have definitely been on some trips that have left me feeling more tired or stressed than when I left.

In Chinese medicine, one of the causes of disease is overworking, which includes not only physical labor but also working or studying long hours without enough rest. Overworking inevitably leads to higher stress which consequently results in poor sleep, weight gain, headaches and body aches. It is crucial that we all take time for ourselves each and every day to de-stress. I have blogged about stress many times as it is usually a key component of many of the symptoms I see in my office.

I have been thinking a lot about how to replicate that awesome feeling you have during a wonderful vacation; that mellowness and feeling of total unwind. Here are 6 simple things that I feel “make a vacation” and can be done at any time to either keep a vacation buzz going or help you relax if you don’t have time to take a vacation.

  1. Unplug. When Friday hits make sure to really unplug- this means the TV, internet, cell phone, ipad or anything that acts like a computer. If you are married to your Smartphone and don’t think you can really turn your phone off for a whole weekend start with just a full day. Leave your phone at home and promise yourself you won’t look at all day. The world will not stop because you didn’t answer one email.
  2. Eat outdoors. Really soak in the glorious weather and either eat at an outdoor cafe or your own backyard. Grilling out screams summer. If you decide to grill out with friends or neighbors, it makes for an easy meal with less clean up!
  3. Exercise for fun. Hike, bike, walk outside, golf, play tennis, dance, go to the pool etc. Do something that is good for your body but is also fun. Exercising doesn’t have to be in a gym and it doesn’t have to feel like a chore.
  4. Sleep more. During vacation I always look forward to sleeping in and not setting an alarm. Give yourself a day during the week or weekend to catch up on some extra sleep either with a nap or by sleeping in.
  5. Do nothing. It is okay to give yourself a day to just be lazy and relaxed. It is calming and it really helps you feel refreshed. Don’t beat yourself up for having what you might consider an “unproductive day”. One lazy day can do wonders.
  6. Spend time with those you love. Relationships are to be treasured. There is nothing better than sharing a meal, a leisure walk, or a day just hanging out with those you love. Loved ones are the reason we work so hard, so take time to appreciate each other.