The importance of taking a vacation

A vacation mind-set

I’ve don’t recall needing a vacation as much as I needed my recent one.

I’d waited too long to take much-needed time away—slow mornings, embracing new sights, scents, flavours and sounds with no agenda for the day was a balm to my mind and soul.

I even treated myself and fulfilled my yearning to go para-sailing. It was hilarious to see younger people shocked by the grey-haired lady who wanted to para-sail. As I rose above the waters and ascended into the sky, tears of awe and joy rolled down my cheeks.

It’s an experience I’ll savour. I’m so glad I went. I will not let age, or the perceived limitations of age, limit my experience of life. I want to fully live all the days I have left and not fall back into familiar, comfortable routines.

I don’t want to get into the position of having to “need” a vacation again, so I’m researching and contemplating ways to support myself in reaping the benefits of vacation during the rest of my life.

With summer just around the corner, living in a city many consider a vacation destination, I’m looking for ways to incorporate a vacation mind-set into my life, allowing me to reap the benefits to my mental health and well-being.

Seth Godin, entrepreneur and author wisely advises, “instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set-up a life you don’t need to escape.” The human brain performs best when not working all the time.

Experts say cultivating vacation mindset during our normal days has strong, positive personal benefits and enhances our relationships, both at home and in the workplace. Thankfully, for me, mindfulness is at the centre of it all.

To create or maintain a vacation mindset, it’s important we incorporate breaks into our days. This does not mean turning to the distraction of our digital devices, which do not encourage relaxation. By allowing ourselves to consciously breathe and experience the fullness of the present moment, including the sights, sounds and scents, we invite the body and mind into a state of relaxation.

Taking a digital detox is beneficial. Putting our phones away, silencing notifications and resisting the urge to stay current on social media helps open up our thought patterns. When we do this, we open ourselves up to greater inspiration, creativity, and problem-solving.

Have you ever noticed some of your greatest ideas and solutions seem to fall in while you’re in the shower or relaxing in the hot-tub? This is because we’re better able to access insights and solutions when we’re in states of relaxation than we are when feeling stressed. A stressed brain does not think and remember as well as a relaxed brain.

Remembering to engage our playful side and creative mind reduces stress and opens us up to new ideas, making the way forward easier. Have you ever followed a routine route and arrived at your destination and not noticed or remembered any part of the journey?

I sure have and I know this is a common experience. Often, we drive, lost in thought, failing to notice what’s real around us. I don’t want to live life on auto-pilot. I want to experience the richness of each day while also allowing my brain and body to relax.

Being consciously present in what we’re doing adds so much value to our lives.

As much as I appreciate the efficiency of routines, incorporating new experiences and embracing new experiences help to engage our brains in a new way. Trying new, simple activities, new foods, and visiting new places, away from your regular haunts help keep the brain engaged in a new way.

I’ve long been inspired by people who become a tourist in their own town. I’m now embracing the idea. I can’t wait to see what new things I’ll get to experience and enjoy the benefits.

I’ve even booked my skydiving experience and I intend to seize the day.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

An assistant minister at the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, she is a retired nurse with a master’s degree in health science and is a hospice volunteer.  She is also an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan and currently spends her time teaching smartUBC, a unique mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. 

She is a speaker and presenter and from her diverse experience and knowledge, both personally and professionally, she has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people gain a new perspective, awaken and recognize we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts, stress or to life. We are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 44 years and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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