These days, it’s not unusual to feel sad or stressed from time to time. The modern world can be tough to deal with. However, when those moods start to happen more frequently, you need to do something about it.
For many people, that something is a vacation. You know that traveling is fun, but it can also improve your mental health well after the trip has come and gone. Here’s why traveling can help your mental health — and how you can make the most of your time off.
You Need Some Time Off
Stress is a normal part of modern life, but it can cause some damage to your body and mind. As Psychology Today explains, too much stress in your life can lead to problems like insomnia, depression, and illness. What’s worse is how this can lead to a downward spiral where getting stressed makes you ill, which only makes you more stressed.
This is where traveling can help. When you head out for a vacation, even for just a few days, your stress level starts to drop. Seeing new places, exploring new restaurants and bars, even just staying in a hotel can all help improve your mental health.
This is especially true when you are in addiction recovery or need some time for self-healing. Getting away from your usual behaviors and haunts can help you revive your inner peace while keeping away from bad habits.
Getting The Most From Your Vacation
But not every trip is the same. How can you get the most from your precious vacation days?
The first thing you need to do is plan. Explore your travel options, including different locations and amenities. If you love the ocean, a trip to the beach or even a lake can do wonders for you. If you prefer the city life, pick a city you haven’t been to before. In fact, TheMuse.com explains that the anticipation of vacations can improve your mental health.
Smarter Travel also has a list of five ways to make your vacation wonderful, such as:
Bringing Your Pet
Going somewhere special can really improve your mental health, but what if you’re worried about leaving your pet behind? Believe it or not, many people can bring their pet along for the trip. In fact, one great idea is to visit nature with your pet. By combining the healing effects of nature and spending time with your pet, you can improve your mental health.
Start Planning Your Trip TodayThere are a lot of mental health benefits to traveling — if you do it right. Start by planning your trip and picking a great destination. Don’t overplan, and go where there aren’t so many tourists. You should also consider enjoying nature and bringing your pet. When you finally get back home, you’ll be rested and ready to get back to life.
Author: Henry Moore; Fit Well Traveler
Hello my friends….I am so grateful that I am able to sit on my sofa and write to all of you….last week at this time I was not confident that I would have a home, let alone a sofa, to come back to. Now that the storm has passed and I am settling back into my life, I am allowing some time to reflect on what this experience has given and not what it took…for me it is a tremendous amount of gratitude, love and compassion…..gratitude for each new day and with it the opportunity to contribute to my community in some meaningful way, love for my family and friends, and compassion for those who struggle to face each day due to poverty, sickness, loneliness, or devastating loss…..after the storm passed, for a few days I was inconvenienced because I did not have power……not having the luxury of electricity allowed me to spend quality time with my family…..to be in the moment, just as is, to practice non attachment and radical acceptance. During that time, there were moments of tension and stress, but we were together and it was authentic, and real and honest, and we accepted each other as is…So my friends I may have lost power for a few days, some shingles from my roof, and a few trees…..in return I have been reminded of just how precious life is and what matters most…family and friends, my beloved dogs, love, community, kindness….and to be present for it all….for the joy and the stress…..in any given moment what’s wrong is always available…..but if we allow ourselves to be open to the experience, we can also find what is right.
With peace & love,
Three ways to be present....
1. Observe. Take a moment to look around...notice your coffee cup, your phone, or a book sitting on your desk. For 60 seconds just notice it, feel it, observe it without judging it. Don't think about whether you like it, don't like, want to move it, just notice it and observe it for what it is in this moment...
2. Count to 10. Close your eye, take a deep breath and slowly count to 10. Repeat this a few times throughout your day...thoughts will creep in...that's ok, don't try to stop them....just notice them for what they are...just thoughts...let them pass....without attaching to them...just watch them as you would clouds passing through the sky....leaving nothing but clear blue sky....
3. 60 second meditation. Take a comfortable position, close your eyes and take a deep breath....noticing the natural rhythm of your inhale and exhale...like a waves washing against the shore...slowly coming in....slowly going out....just observe....
Try one or all of these over the next week....you might be surprised by what you discover...be well my friends...
With love & peace,
Without becoming consumed by anger, bitterness and resentment......Thich Nhat Hanh articulates beautifully how to live a life of peace, compassion and openness in spite of life's cruelty...please watch as he shares, with such love, how each of us can respond to pain and injustice without perpetuating more suffering.
Please feel free to share your thoughts....be well my friends.
With peace & love,
Kindness doesn’t cost a thing…..I heard those words expressed from a women for whom life has not been all that kind. Over the years I have heard that message articulated many times, in many ways, from many people. Yet, this time I experienced it differently…..I met her briefly, during a visit to New England, and we ended up chatting for a while…the conversation veered towards anecdotes concerning the state of human affairs and her response to life's injustice was to "meet it with kindness, it doesn't cost a thing"…I knew next to nothing about her…though she had shared a little about her life….it was a hard life… you know how you can just look at someone and see their story in their face? Well, her face told a story of a life of struggle….not just the normal day-to-day struggles, rather the struggles that come from great loss and heartache, not always having enough, needing to fight just to be seen….struggles that can eat away at the soul…..it wasn’t the words themselves that got me, as I’ve said I have heard those same words, often spoken by honored sages and mentors, it was her deep commitment to live those words..…and I could feel that….just being in her presence I could feel her genuine warmth of spirit….
I most likely will never see this women again….yet her words and her presence will remain with me….I truly believe that her ability to survive is rooted in her ability to continue to meet others with kindness and compassion…as I have reflected on that brief encounter it has compelled me to look at my own behavior…how I meet the world and those in it…do I exemplify the power of kindness and compassion in the face of hardship, discomfort and perceived injustice? The honest answer is no, and I can often justify my behavior with reasons why this person or that situation didn’t deserve it. It’s easy to be kind and compassionate when things are going well…when we like the person we are extending acts of goodwill….I can’t honestly say that whenever I have made the choice to respond with compassion to some perceived slight or injustice, that it has never cost me anything…. However, I can tell what it has cost me when I have made the decision to instead respond with self-righteous indignation….it has cost me peace of mind, self-respect and the respect of others, and has damaged some relationships, both personal and professional. So I leave you with this…..
“Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle….” J.M Berry
With Peace & Love,
With the welcoming of each New Year we look ahead with anticipation of the possibilities that lie before us. We begin to make resolutions and set our goals accordingly; committing that this year is the year” I lose ten pounds, make more money, be nicer to my spouse”….the list goes on. On the surface all of the goals sound admirable and worthy of pursuing, yet they are often so hard to achieve. Why is that? Because, goals are future oriented, focusing on a fixed outcome that we either achieve or fail, very black and white. As most of us know, life is not black or white; there are many shades of gray. Many starts and stops on our journey towards self-improvement.
A kinder, gentler approach is to set intentions rather than goals. Intentions come from the heart, they are rooted in the present moment, they are a guiding principal of how we want to live and be in the world. Intentions help us clarify our heartfelt aspirations and values; they serve as a guide to living consciously and joyfully. It is not something you attach an outcome or expectation to….regardless of the outcome we gain confidence and wisdom that aligns with our heart and spirit, this begins the transformation.
Our intentions create our reality and then become our guide as we move through our day. So instead of saying “I will lose 10 pounds”, instead choose the intention “I will nourish my body with healthy foods and engage in activities that promote physical well-being”. Instead of saying “I will be nicer to my spouse” instead choose the intention “I will practice kind speech and behaviors in all of my interactions”. Be well my friends….be kind to yourselves and each other on this journey into 2017. Happy New Year!
With Peace & Love,
The holidays are often accompanied with feeling tired and overwhelmed; too much to do and so little time. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to buy the perfect gift, cook the perfect meal, be the perfect host, leaving us feeling exhausted. Make this holiday one of rest and rejuvenation instead of weariness and stress. Take time for yourself to reflect on all that you have accomplished in the past year and time to look ahead with anticipation of what is to come. Remembering always to enjoy what is…below are some ideas to help keep your spirit whole and open through it all:
With Peace & Love,