And as the days get warmer and longer, I start longing for more time to wander... more time to roam. Of course my work brings me to beautiful locations. And this year I will be in the Berkshires for 2 weeks at Kripalu where I will be leading two retreats (weekend and 5-day formats) as well as presenting in the Narrative Medicine Conference. But I'm also carving out some true down time for myself as well including a long awaited family trip to Italy!
But remember you don't have to travel far for relaxation or be on retreat for rejuvenation. In fact, you can take an instant retreat right in the middle of your day, any day, even at work. Here's an example of just how easy it is.Take your lunch outside or make time for a slow walk around the block and be ware of the sights, smells, movement of your body, and air moving in and out of your lungs. Mindful walking can truly feel like a vacation.
Or, take a whole day, stay home and turn off your cell phone, computer and television. Spend time doing yoga, journal, create art, meditate, write a letter or cook. Or take an at home retreat with Sharon Salzberg:
If you are planning a summer trip my friend and travel guru Linden Shaffer, author of the #1 book Living Well on the Road, has put together some of her best tips to help make your summer journey nourishing and more zen.
Here is her Top 5 Wellness Travel Tips for Planning A Summer Vacation:
Daylight hours are expanding and summer is just around the corner. The idea of being cooped up indoors for the next few months is not on the agenda. As it is we work too many hours thus far. You are not alone, 42% of Americans did not take a vacation day last year. Many of us feel on the verge of burnout. In order to change direction, boost happiness, strengthen our relationships, increase creativity and up our total life satisfaction, it’s time to hit the buy button on a summer escape. These 5 wellness tips will ensure a less stressful, more interesting experience that will leave you changed by travel.
1. Choose Your Destination via Instagram
Technology can be used for good and Instagram is one of the best wanderlust inspiring options out there. Spend a few hours searching popular travel hashtags #welivetoexplore and #traveldeeper to find new destinations that visually excite you. Make a list of those places and determine which two or three could be ripe for a visit based on your timing and budget. Then head back to Instagram and post questions in the comment section of your favorite images to learn more. You’ll open your eyes to new parts of the world and may end up some place that wasn’t on your radar before.
2. Avoid Traveling on Holiday Weekends
It may sound obvious, but holiday weekend travel, by train, plane or car adds additional cost and stress to a vacation. The simple math of supply and demand means airfare and hotel rooms will cost more, routes and itineraries may be sold out and traffic will be worse. Save yourself the hassle and book the weekend before or after peak travel times to enjoy the benefits of less crowding and more quite. If you cannot avoid travel during summer holiday weekends, then embrace the fact that you’ll most likely pay more, be delayed, and not get your first choice for tour activities or restaurant reservations. Acknowledging this in advance allows your mind to move through these challenges and begin to view them as adventures instead of impediments.
3. Book a Workshop Led by a Local
Sitting on the beach doing nothing as a form of recovery has its appeal, but after a day or two most of us end up on our digital devices to combat boredom. Instead, stimulate your creativity center and book a workshop led by a local. Find a low cost option such as a nature hike led by a naturalist, tap into your inner foodie with a cultural cooking class, get your hands dirty in a printmaking session or discover an unknown area in your destination with a photography workshop. The added bonus: being able to make real life connections with new people, which boosts your confidence and happiness level.
4. Schedule Nap Time
Our bodies crave sleep and start to shut down when we don’t get enough of it. Vacation is the perfect time to get back to a natural rhythm and/or pay back your sleep debt. When you dedicate time to sleep – treating it like an important vacation activity – you feel rested, it improves your mood, immune system, and eating habits. Schedule time in the mid-afternoon to dose off for an hour and wake feeling refreshed and ready for the evening. If for you naptime leads to poor sleep habits at night, then skip the afternoon snooze in favor of turning in an hour earlier at night.
5. Create Digital Rules
Most days we go from our smart phone to the computer to the TV in an endless relationship with our digital devices. The constant connection these devices provide have become the biggest source of stress in adults and children alike. Summer vacation is the perfect time to return to IRL experiences and limit everyone’s screen time. Now sure where to start? Ban devices from the bedroom and wake up with the sun this summer. Insist all meals be sit-down screen-free time where you can lose yourself in conversation. Be bold and leave everything but your phone at home. Involve the whole family when creating these rules and you’ll find that each member is more likely to stick to the plan.
– Linden Schaffer
Wellness travel expert Linden Schaffer writes about more life and travel hacks in her new #1 bestselling book, Living Well on the Road.