If to travel is to be in motion and to do nothing is to be still, is it possible to do both at the same time? No matter how much, we, the planners of one-week vacations and weekend getaways, understand the concept of “vacation,” is it inevitable that our multitasking, bucket list-loving selves get involved with the planning?
R&R Doesn’t Always Stand for “Rock and Roll”
Americans in particular face an uphill battle when resisting the pressure to multitask our so-called “vacations.” According to the International Labour Organization, American workers work more hours than workers in any other industrialized nation. Not only do we receive fewer paid vacation days, but we aren’t very good at taking those we have. Well-trained lovers of the multitask we are; it’s no wonder that many of us struggle with the concept of “doing nothing.”
But how about if we really need a “real” vacation this year – one where we travel somewhere, near or far, but then choose to be still? Here are some tips to plan what may turn out to be your best real vacation yet. Adhering might not be easy, but the benefits to your overall well-being and outlook on life can be substantial.
Pick the Right Place, for the Right Amount of Time
Nearby beaches or mountains are often the best choices. Often they can remind us of our childhoods, when the living was easier and naturally slower paced. Besides, no expensive plane ticket is needed, which not only will make your vacation less expensive, but will take the pressure off of feeling as if you “should” somehow maximize your vacation’s value by doing more. Not ready to do nothing for a whole week? Perhaps start with a weekend getaway.
Prepare Ahead Mentally
If you’ve always wanted to learn to meditate, perhaps now’s the time. Imagine doing all those things you’ve always said you wanted to do that fall in the rest and relaxation category, but have a hard time doing when the time comes. Imagine sitting in a chair looking at a view or what it feels like to swing in a hammock. Latent and wannabe journal keepers and artists would be well-advised to purchase a blank book and colorful pens so you’ll be ready to jot, doodle, and scribble.
Some physical activity is fine for your vacation, but if you are prone to being overly aggressive or competitive with physical activities, such as tennis and hiking, make up your mind ahead of time that you will resist any urge to make them the centerpiece of your time.
Have a doable plan in place for how to deal with all the distractions that come with the territory of our mostly over-connected lifestyles. Set up the auto-reply feature on your email and plan to check voicemail once a day or less. Resist the temptation to check email every time you upload a picture to Facebook or rent a movie from Netflix, and better yet, plan to only check email as few times as your work situation will allow. Most importantly, remember that for the most part, the world will get on just fine without you!
Prepare Ahead Physically
Gather books, knitting or craft projects, and make a list of movies you want to rent. Pull out those board games and puzzles gathering dust somewhere in your home to take with you.
If your “do nothing” vacation includes physical activities you haven’t partaken in in a while, take small steps towards preparing your body. For instance, if you want to play some tennis, swim laps, or play volleyball, be sure to get into shape physically ahead of time. Although not the intent and if done in moderation, these kind of vacations can have the side benefit of kick-starting not just your mental, but overall physical well-being to a higher level.
Pick a Couple of Special Indulgences You Wouldn’t Do at Home
Schedule a massage or mani/pedi at a salon in the area you will be visiting. Check local calendars of events for festivals and lectures to see if there is anything you’d enjoy. Pack the ingredients for a new cocktail, or print out a recipe you’ve collected on Pinterest. We are professional pursuers of the indulgence here at Plum Deluxe – you don’t have to look far for new ideas.
Don’t Let Your Family Stop You
We’ve all got them; we all love them. And being the primary caregiver to children or other family members makes planning to get away and have a “do nothing” vacation even more important. Depending on your unique situation, as well as your personality, it may or may not be a good idea to have them with you or leave them behind. Whatever the case, be sure to make secure arrangements ahead of time that will allow you to best enjoy your time.
Remember the Longterm “Payoff”
How wonderful is it that you can have a “payoff” for something that involves “doing nothing?” I’m not saying it’s going to be easy; I’m not saying that there won’t be set-backs here and there, either self imposed or coming from the outside world. But the benefits to your mental and physical well-being from “do nothing” travel we can almost guarantee will be huge, in ways both big and small.