We all know that blissful feeling of being away. We have clearer minds, more optimism, more creativity, a heightened sense of adventure and more time for those in our lives. Much of this comes from the rare opportunity to slow down; to read, to rest, to swim, to enjoy lazy days.
Returning from holidays and being thrown straight back into the real world can be overwhelming and draining. The blissful state of mind and enjoyable routines are quickly lost to the craziness of everyday life. We often associate holidays with happiness and contentment, but it's not just the holiday that brings us these things, it's the attitude we have while we're away.
I spend a lot of time travelling in my van and on my last month-long trip to the South Coast of NSW, I noticed just how happy that lifestyle and the simple routines I had made me. Before coming home, I decided that I wanted to really make an effort to try and carry on these feelings, routines and practices in my everyday life. For me, that meant taking time to slow down. The practices that I had on that trip that I really loved and that brought me so much joy were things like going for a long walk on the beach everyday, reading in the shade, cooking simple foods outdoors, practicing yoga by the water and spending quality time with the people I love. These are all such simple things that could easily be incorporated into my normal life, I just didn't normally prioritise and make time for them.
Here are a few tips for how you can create that feeling of "away" no matter where you are:
1) Find what recharges and relaxes you: this will be different for everyone; some people get energy from other people, some are recharged from being alone, some people find relaxation in nature, some feel energised after time spent in cities or beautiful buildings. Take note of the times you are the most relaxed, the most creative and the most energised; what are you doing in these moments? Once you know what this is for you, make it a priority.
2) Keep favourite routines/practices: we find some of our favourite hobbies or routines when travelling, but often lose them as soon as we come home. For a long time I only really read books while on holidays, as much as I love them I just never had that routine at home. This is something I have tried to make more time for, even if it's just for fifteen minutes while having my coffee in the morning. What are your favourite routines or activities while travelling; do you love to be active, take photos, try new foods?
3) Give yourself a fresh perspective: many of us return from holidays with renewed energy and fresh perspective from things we've seen or conversations we've had while away. A lot of this comes from simply giving yourself distance and time to let your brain have a break from the thousands of thoughts, tasks and worries constantly streaming through our minds. We learn so much and have our thinking challenged when we travel, as we meet people and experience cultures different to what we know. We can keep this going at home by making an effort to meet new people, even if it's just chatting to a neighbour or barista or trying new things or places. Also try taking regular breaks from technology, it gives our brains time to switch off from the constant processing of information and images that don't really serve us.
4) Take proper breaks and practice mindfulness: it's easy to slip into a mundane routine when we return home. That's not to say we don't love our work, homes or relationships, it just means we may not have the constant stimulation of new sights, tastes and cultures like we do when we're travelling. Being in a new place keeps us in a state of constantly being aware, taking in our surroundings and noticing all of the little details. We are often guilty of excessive multi-tasking and never really simply being still, we can all be more aware and focused on the moment in our everyday lives. Take time to drink a cup of coffee or eat a meal without your phone or a book, go for a walk without any music or someone else to talk to or actually take a proper lunch break and head outdoors somewhere.
5) Explore your own backyard: we go into more detail about this in this blog post, but take time to have new experiences and see new things close to home too. Are there waterfalls, beaches, museums, cafes or walking tracks you've never been to before?