MINDFULNESS WHEN YOU PACK YOUR BAGS FOR YOUR SUMMER HOLIDAY
The holiday season is upon us: a time of anticipated pleasure and relaxation for ourselves and those we share our lives with, but also an opportunity to reconnect, recharge and invest in our wellbeing. The excitement of a holiday is often in the unexpected that delights and engages us with the change of routine. As we compare the differences with our familiar everyday life, it excites our curiosity and good humour. We feel lighter and relieved of our usual burdens and stresses. There’s a real sense of adventure in the air.
Smile, you’re on holiday
Whenever you find yourself not smiling, just smile, not like a Cheshire cat, but more like the Mona Lisa and see how that brings you back to the present moment, really engaging with all your senses. Allow yourself to feel your face relax, mind brighten and your body come back into balance. This smile is not about happiness, it’s about being present.
Enjoy all there is to be seen
Really allow yourself to see what is around you. Take your time to look without judgement, be aware of colour and form, tone and hue, shadow and movement. Whether it’s a ruin, a busy market or the reflection off the swimming pool, each is unique.
To avoid sightseeing overload, recognise there is more to life than sight alone. Choose to soften your gaze every now and then and tune into smells and sounds. Enjoy seeing the things you missed. There is a whole new landscape to be experienced.
Is anybody listening?
With the pressure off away from our usual routines, take the time to really listen to those you are sharing your holiday with without finishing their sentences either aloud or in your own mind. Don’t give 95% attention, but 110% and notice the difference in their response.
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At least once a day take the opportunity to eat slowly, really slowly and in silence. Savour the smell, sound, texture, taste and in the slowing down, witness the reaction of your mind and body. Even familiar foods will become fresh and different and you may find yourself satiated sooner than expected.
Resist the temptation to be resentful when the unfamiliar presents obstructions; driving on the wrong’ side of the road or in a strange car. an unfamiliar diet or problematic plumbing. Instead choose to smile at the re-igniting of curiosity in these everyday tasks and activities. Notice how that transforms your mental state as you feel lighter and your sense of humour returns as you start to live each moment again. Perhaps you’ll even feel a sense of gratitude for how some things are at home.