Now that summer is here, many people are thinking “vacation”. There are some who think a vacation is a luxury that is not in this year’s budget. Others cannot take off from work because there is too much work to do. Well, vacation is not only fun, it promotes health, happiness and increases productivity. Time off from work increases health physically, mentally and emotionally. When away from the job, stress is reduced. For many people, vacations have the effect of “recharging your batteries”. Studies show that workers return to work with a renewed sense of creativity and become more productive for up to 6 weeks after vacation. Reports show that sleep is improved, physical complaints are reduced and there is an overall mood improvement. Employers who are smart would realize that happy employees are better workers. The result is less sick time and more loyal employees.
What if you can’t, or won’t take a vacation? You can get the same benefits of a real vacation using the power of your mind. Every thought creates a physical response in your body. When you just think or imagine a vacation, your body responds as though you are really there. Try it and find out for yourself.
Here are some tips to go on a virtual vacation in your mind. Set aside some time, even if only 5 minutes.
- Close your eyes and take 3 long slow deep breaths while thinking of a special place that you can go for relaxation. It can be a real place or a place you can imagine.
- Use all of your senses to enhance the experience. For example notice the sounds that might be there, the smells, and recall the way you feel at that place. Stay in this place in your mind for several minutes
- Whenever possible connect with nature. Go to a window and just focus on the sky, a tree or another part of nature. Again, use a variety of senses to enhance the experience. Observe as many details as possible focus on nothing else for these few minutes.
- Take extra walks outside whenever possible connecting with nature in any way possible, being mindful of your experience.
- Take several long slow deep breaths focusing on the breath going in and out for a few moments while imagining your special place. Deep breathing releases stress and you feel better physically and emotionally.
There are many ways to enjoy a “staycation” where you plan activities near home. Vacation doesn’t have to be expensive or far away. The bottom line is that you need to take time out of your busy schedule to relax. The results will lower your stress, enhance your relationships, improve your health ,as well as, make you feel happier to be alive!