We all need a break from routine to let go of the stress of daily life and there is not doubt that being somewhere else helps that. Expedia Insider ask me for my tips on how to find your ‘zen’ on a short break. See the video here.
The concept of a short break (‘retreat’) has been around for centuries and has been an integral part of most religions and spiritual traditions. The modern notion of a short break is at the very least time out from our busy lives and is an opportunity to reconnect with yourself, your partner, family or friends.
In my experience of running weekend yoga retreats for the past 4 years, I’ve seen people turn up on Friday night stressed, frazzled and exhausted. They leave two days later – refreshed, relaxed, happier – their faces even look different and they tell me feel like a new person.
So I know that a short break can have a really profound effect on people and making the effort to travel somewhere ‘else’ for a short break is worth it. I even know a couple who went to Japan (from Sydney) for a long weekend and returned saying they got as much out of it as they would have if they went for a week or two!
Here’s my tips for how to get the most ‘Zen’ out of your next short break:
- Decide what you want to do and who you want to go with. After you’ve set your intention for what you want it to be (e.g. pampering, relaxation, adventure, romance, the opportunity to learn something new or a kickstart a cleanse or new lifestyle habit), you need to ask yourself: Do you with someone or do you want to go it alone? If you decide to go with your partner, a friend or family, make sure they have the same intention for the break as you. If you are going on your own, decide if you want activities planned for you or if you are happy to just go with the flow and find your own chill zone.
- Go somewhere where you can be in nature. Traditional retreats are often conducted in remote, rural or coastal locations and there’s a reason for it. We live such busy, frenetic lives that being in nature helps up disconnect from everything we need to get away from. Nature also feeds our soul like nothing else can.
- Unplug – literally. Leave your gadgets at home and if you absolutely have to bring your mobile with you, switch it off. The idea of reconnecting with yourself or the person / people you are with is to leave the world – and everyone else in it – behind. It’s the biggest sanity break you can get. That means no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram and no Googling!
- Spend some time on your own. Even if you are traveling with other people, try to find some time where you can be alone – in whatever form that means for you – it might just be some time on your own, journaling, walking in nature or just looking at it. And in your time of contemplation – ponder what you want to take back into your life back at home.
- Do what makes you feel good and as quickly as possible. As soon as you arrive, the very first thing you should do is something you love and that helps you chill out. I usually head straight for the day spa – and if that’s your thing, remember to make a booking before you arrive.
- Get up early and see the sun rise. No matter how tired you think you are, seeing the sun rise is awesome Go for a run or walk along the beach or through the bush, do some stretches, have a yummy breakfast and then do whatever you want for the rest of the day.