How many times a week do you utter the phrase “Boy I need a vacation”?
I went to Florida for 10 days in March. I spent the last 4 days of that trip being sicker than sick.
At work I have been going non-stop on some major projects with extremely tight deadlines.
So yeah, I probably exclaim daily that I need a vacation.
Also, I live with anxiety disorder. The great thing about anxiety is that it does not need to be triggered by anything. It can just appear because. As in for no reason at all. Stress can definitely exasperate it. But it is not a necessary catalyst.
A trusted adviser (i.e. therapist) reminded me that if I don’t practice taking care of myself every day then it would be that much harder to deal with the anxiety monster when it rears its ugly head. She suggested taking daily 15 minute vacations.
A 15 minute vacation is basically when you shut out the thoughts and practice mindfulness for that short “vacay”.
An example is to go on a walk and concentrating on one sense at a time, being mindful of what you are experiencing through each sense. So for instance, if you were to go outside for a walk right now, what would you see? As you keep walking, what do you hear? And so on…
The first night I tried to do one of these 15 minute vacations, I went into my bedroom equipped with my iPod and was ready to do this. I shut off the light, laid down on my bed, and searched for my guided imagery meditation podcast. After a few minutes of searching with no results, I remembered that I had deleted all my podcasts. So I lay there thinking that I would turn it into an awareness of breath mindfulness exercise. But my mind kept wandering. I tried to bring it back to the present, but it was not that easy.
So to make things a little easier for myself I went and bought those adhesive glow in the dark stars and stuck them on my ceiling. Now when I go in there and turn off the lights, suddenly I am stargazing. It makes those 15 minutes go by very quickly.
Another thing I do is very relaxing. A while ago Todd bought me a little massaging foot bath. I fill it up and take it into my special room (another blog post about this room at a future date), turn off the lights, turn on some music and turn on the bath, And it is blissful. It is 15 minutes of melting into the seat and releasing tension.
Whether you suffer from anxiety or not, chances are you deal with stress. We all do. We live in a crazy, fast-paced, instant gratification type of world where it is impossible to avoid stress. For that reason, I think everyone should practice taking care of themselves every day.
How would you spend your 15 minute daily vacation?