Vacation Lessons

For most of us, getting away is all about avoiding the routine, changing it up, and not thinking about everything back home.  For that glorious time that we escape, we think that the way we do things on vacation is just for vacation and then we return home to the same life that sent us on vacation with all that stress and need to just relax.  The thing that we often forget is that vacations are a perfect opportunity to find new things to integrate into our everyday lives to make things easier and more relaxing day-to-day, hopefully meaning the next time you go on vacation, you aren’t doing it just to get away from your daily life.

So what can you take from vacation?

  1. Enjoy your meals. One of the best things about vacation is that you end up really sitting down and enjoying your food.  Now, it’s easy when the food is good, prepared by someone else, and you have the whole family together.  Although you may not get the “prepared by someone else” at home, you can have good food and everyone together at least some of the time.  When you don’t rush every meal, but dedicate at least one dinner a week to everyone being together and enjoying a meal like you do on vacation, you may find that you connect in a way that you thought was limited to vacation.

  2. Children need time to play. On vacation our children are often happier, less stressed, and therefore more cooperative.  One of the main reasons for this is that they are given enough time to just play – as kids are supposed to.  On a recent vacation in our family, my 5-year-old daughter summed it up perfectly when, after a full day out at museums and the local zoo, we got back to the hotel room and I asked if she wanted to go down to the gift shop with me.  She declined, saying, “No mom!  I need time to play!”  And she was right.  After a full day out, play was her way of unwinding and recharging.  It was also her way of integrating the various things she had seen and learned that day.  At home, it’s no different as our kids need time to relax and just enjoy the creative outlet that is play.

  3. Outside time and busy bodies mean better sleep. At home most of us spend our days at a desk and then rushing home to do more work.  Some of us might get some time in at the gym in order to stay or get in shape, but we don’t spend a lot of time being active.  Nor do we spend a lot of time outside.  These are two things we often get in abundance while away.  We may not get the intense workouts that come from a visit to the gym, but we are walking or swimming or biking and though it’s at a lower intensity, it’s often for a much larger portion of the day.  Considering we also tend to travel to warmer climates, we are outside for a large portion of the day.  Although we can’t move our desk outside, we can try to incorporate more light exercise and time outdoors for every member of the family.  Whether it’s a family walk after work, or everyone walking/biking to work/school, or hitting the local pool once a week for a couple hours, there are ways we can build in more busy body and outdoor time and this will inevitably mean better sleep for everyone.  And we all know that better sleep = better functioning during the day too!

I’m sure you have your own element of vacation that you love and wish you didn’t have to leave behind.  You may not be able to incorporate it entirely into your day-to-day life, but you can certain try to fit it in in a modified way.  Just remember: You’re often at your best on vacation, so why not take some lessons from your trips and learn how to bring out that best part of you or your family all year round?

By Tracy Cassels

March 14, 2016