I’ve been lucky enough to indulge in two glorious weeks away from my normal life. It was an escape, in the literal sense, for me an my wee family of three.
My husband had been working long and intense hours at his job while I was beginning to peak, frustrated at my attempts to get the whole working-mum thing down pat. We were crabby, tired and felt like down-time was a luxury available to us only when our heads hit the pillow. We needed to exhale, disconnect and just be.
So as we rushed off to Queensland to do just that (And no, I won’t bore you with my fabulous holiday details. Who wants to hear that when you’re probably milling away a your desk or you’ve just collapsed into bed after another exhaustive day?) I couldn’t help but pause in the moments that I felt totally chilled, unpressured and relaxed, in it’s simplest form, to think: ‘How can I keep this feeling?’.
As I’ve mentioned here before I’m making my way through Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map and it’s brought me a real awareness and tendency to chase how I want to feel rather than chasing things I think will leave me feeling what I crave.
Let’s be real. Who can afford to jump on a plane and holiday in a new destination once a month? Or is someone who can dedicate 2 weeks to every 4 indulging in poolside tanning and barside liquidating? Nuh-uh.
So rather than be resentful of how I can’t holiday as often as I would like (or become a gypsy who wanders her life away – this girl’s got responsibility now!) I’ve put my energy into keeping that feeling of zen. And it’s kinda hard.
It’s also a little oxymoron-ish. The fact that I had to work hard on holiday to disconnect from all the ‘need-to-remember-tos’ and ‘when-I-get-backs’ is a little odd but typical of a Type-A like myself. But the feeling that comes after the work; the zen, the relaxed, the calm and the I-really-wanna-be-nice-to-all-humans kinda feeling, it just falls right into your lap.
So here’s a few things to ‘work’ on to get back to that holiday feeling:
//Spend small, but frequent, amounts of time outside.
In the four days I’ve been home I’ve walked often, sat on a picnic rug in my backyard with mags and books, worked from outdoor cafes and folded washing from the deck. Things I’d often do from a treadmill, couch or office. We’re built to feel better after being outside but modern life kinda slaps mothernature in the face. Find just 10 mins in your day as an excuse to get outside: do the coffee-run, park your car a block away, sit in the sun to have your lunch break, take phone calls outside the office. Then take it in.
//Do some good people watching.
Now don’t be thinkin’ I’m some kinda sicko that gets off on stalking people – that weirds me out as much as the next person. But, on holidays, don’t you just find yourself hanging out watching the happenings around you, observing the new and different and kinda not caring because you don’t know these people? And aren’t people just damn funny to watch sometimes? You know what I mean; someone drops their fork on the floor, looks around for witnesses, picks it up and keeps on eating. Or that guy with a really loud laugh in the cafe who’s making the whole place cringe with awkwardness. Or the argument you over-hear where the husband asks his wife why she’s standing there like a stunned-mullet (true story – and hey – sometimes us women like to stop mid-traffic to take in what’s in the shop window).
People crack me up. This makes me laugh. And that makes me zen.
//See no-one that you ‘know’ for a whole weekend.
There is something really grounding about being anonymous. And this one will be harder for some more than others. But taking time-out from the interactions you have with your usually people can sometimes bring you an awareness of how much effort those interactions take. This is not necessarily in a nasty, you’re-high-maintenance-and-I-need-less-time-with-you way (or maybe it is?) but a break can highlight how much time you spend doing other things. Perhaps you commit a lot of time to travel to see people or to minding someone’s kids, giving them lifts or just showing-up when needed.
Lay low, don’t commit to stuff and take a break from this part of your life – just like you would on holiday.
//Take more photos, for you, and PRINT them.
Let’s be honest we’re all more active on social media when we’re away sharing all the rad things we’re doing with the people at home who maybe aren’t so much. But what if we just took the photo for ourselves? What if we just took it without analyzing the shot or angle against how it would look on Instagram?
This might be the mumma in me coming out but on holidays I started to see so many more ‘Kodak-moments’ that I just wanted for myself. The more I took the more I stopped to appreciate and take the time to photograph. And with that comes a slowing of the mind and a growing of the gratitude. A really pretty sunset (and like social media needs anymore of those), the inter-family funny moments, cute cafes to remember for next time; all memories just for me.
But as you know they’re filed away nicely in my phone’s albums only to be seen by another individual (and myself) when I remember. So I printed them.
Picture Postie is a great little app that gives you phone-to-mailbox printed photos of all those moments you stop to take in. Opening up the pack and sticking them on the fridge gives me a little everyday-zen as I look back. Memories are made everyday and using photography to raise your awareness of them certainly helps to be in the moment.
Images: Stephanie Hudson