I drafted this post relaxing in a camp chair, listening to the ocean and watching the sand and waves. By the time it’s published, I’ll be in thick of back to school preparation and the working year.
The calm will be a distant memory. It’s funny how that happens. We take holidays to relax and recharge and the recharge fades as soon as routine sets in.
I wish I could take the rested me into the stress of normal life. I wonder if I can.
Multiple ocean swims, hours of doing nothing, perfect views and weather, beers before lunch and random naps aren’t on the cards for the every day. But there are some holiday habits that I can replicate. Hopefully little physical changes can lead to a mindset change. Because I’m gradually learning that mindset isn’t something you can just think your way into.
I didn’t wear shoes much on holiday and aside from a few hot dashes across the sand, it was blissful. Apparently the practice is called “earthing.” I just know that it feels good for my soul to walk barefoot in grass or sand. And it’s something I can easily do every day.
Limited Social Media
Network strength was low, as was my battery most of the time. I uploaded a couple of pics and tried to read some very slow loading blog posts but that was about it. It certainly wasn’t the first thing I checked each morning. I checked the view and the horizon to determine whether rain was likely (it never was). It was a much calmer start to the day. In my year of less, this my social media use is something I want to curb. I’m actually better of not knowing what is happening in every other corner of the world, every moment of the day.
Play and Movement
While on Straddie, I slid down a sand dune, caught waves, swam in the ocean, struggled with an overgrown jungle track, rock hopped, flew a kite, watched dolphins play, ate gelato, built sand castles, played beach cricket, explored rock pools, watched the full moon dance on the waves and ran on the beach. I have little kids. Which is the perfect excuse to enter into worlds of play, wonder and fun. I should do so more often.
Beach holidays in the heat of summer mean that the hours between 11:30 and 2:30 are sedate ones. We spent the time in the tent, reading, playing and pottering about. Taking our time over lunch and just chilling out. A three hour siesta is fabulous but not exactly practical in the every day. But taking lunch is. I have a terrible habit of just working through lunch, or wolfing down a sandwich within five minutes. That middle of the day recharge is important.
Kids away from screens and into nature
We didn’t take the iPad and the kids had no access to screens during the time we were away. They did not care. They didn’t even ask. There were too many other fun things to do. As a parent, I feel guilty and a little skeptical when I read about the destructive effects of technology on our kids’s brains and behaviour. But, I have to admit, they were more helpful, more engaged and just more fun to be around without the screen.
One of my favourite things to do on a break is to read. Real life books. I never joined the kindle revolution. For me, reading is a sensory activity. The smell of the paper and the quiet turn of the pages, is an intrinsic part of the experience. I tend to read online in a kind of manic frenzy – how much can I cram into this space of time? I take my time over books. It’s another thing I can do every day – just a few pages and a small window of relaxation.
I am (slowly, ironically) realising that doing every activity with a confected sense of urgency is not helpful. It doesn’t result in more getting done. It certainly increases the chance of mistakes and definitely robs me of joy. On holidays, all the things that needed to be done still got done. I was just happier doing them. The dishes were a chance for some time on my own and thinking. Getting the kids changed and ready for the day was a chance to chat and talk about what we had planned. There was no rush, rush, rush, quick, quick, quick. I want to take this sense of measured focus into the working year. When I say I am committing to “less” it is not in the sense of achieving less, but reducing the distractions and engaging fully with what I am doing.
How do you take your holiday feels with you?