Proclamation: I want to make my whole life feel more like I do on vacation; I shall call this Vacation Life. You see, I returned two day ago from an 8 day stay at the beach. While away I discovered that there were a couple of things I did each day that I can bring into my “regular” life to make it less stressful, more productive and less like I’m, for lack of a better phrase, running-around-like-a-chicken-with-my-head-cut-off.
The big thing: BE INTENTIONAL with my day. I know you’re thinking “on vacation, the only intention I have is to not do work.” And, you’d be right. But, what I’m saying is that I want to be intentional about certain practices that I did while away that I can bring into my regular life to make it easier.
There’s much to say regarding rituals. I recently listened to the book The Power of Less by Leo Babauta and he talks about creating a morning “that gives you solitude, quiet, or stress release”. Focusing on tasks like email and scheduling create an urgency that squash creativity. I’d rather start my day with as little stress as possible and complete calming activities like reading, meditation and writing while sipping a well prepared cup of coffee.
Find what works for you. Here’s what I like to do in the mornings:
- Wake up before everyone else
- Make a great cup of coffee
- Write a journal entry
- Read while enjoying that great cup of coffee
Being alone at the start of my day is something I’ve been working on for awhile now – I’ve set my alarm clock to go off before Adam wakes up and I’ll go downstairs to be alone. There’s something about being the only person awake that makes that time feel stolen – that no one else can have it. Since I crave alone-time, starting the day like that is special and gives me the good-feels and energy to take on the rest of the day.
Since I wake up earlier than pretty much everyone that’s close to me, I’m consistently the first one up. While away on vacation this held true and it was in these moments in the morning that I came up with this blog topic and realized the power of these early morning moments. Taking a time-out in the morning is helping my creativity and stress levels: this. stuff. actually. works.
It’s true, though – I’ve met more people that like to stay up than wake up, so I can hear you when you say that waking up earlier than you do now is IMPOSSIBLE, all caps. Truth be told: when I started doing this I was pretty tired. Until I realized that I could get into bed earlier. It’s my goal to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night, 8 being ideal, so in order for me to get up for my alone time I need to get into bed between 9 and 10 pm. I crave this time so much that I make sacrifices to get to bed on time. I’m pretty extreme with this, aiming to be up between 5 and 5:30, but that doesn’t mean you have to be that extreme and start with a 90 minute sesh. I started by waking with Adam and being alone for 10 minutes while he was in the shower and it’s evolved into this glorious morning routine.
Virtual Communication Be Damned
A major component of Vacation Life is limiting email, Facebook, Instagram, texting, Pinterest, Twitter, Periscope, etc. All of those icons on my screen create an urgency that can’t be resolved unless I get rid of them and scroll through some social media app for 20 minutes, ok let’s be real 30 minutes. Doing this many times per day rushes the rest of my life because I’ve squished an hours worth of work into the remaining 30 minutes, causing me to be less creative and rushed. There is a time for social media – come on, it’s a part of my business, but the time for it isn’t when I’m writing, creating, and reading.
While away I literally threw my phone onto the bed and left it there for hours. I didn’t feel disconnected and the phone wasn’t making indentations in my hand on the beach or during dinner or while reading…or watching a movie…or playing a card game. When I chose to do something, I did it and did it with intention and not distraction.
The power of putting your phone (general terms for all virtual communication) away is great. For one day after returning, I’ve felt lighter and have a sense of control over things. Instead of using my Google calendar (on which I rely for telling me where to be), I printed it out. Now, I don’t have to get my phone out to check Facebook and email to see my appointments on Google Calendar. Get it? I’ve also chosen to close out my email while on the computer unless I’m answering them. That way when the unread messages pop up in the tab, I’m not constantly checking to see the latest Banana Republic deals.
I still plan to be active on these platforms, but I don’t plan on being constantly attached to my phone or email all day long. It’s given me a feeling of liberation and control over my time.
Limiting virtual communication couples with an Easy Morning: my email definitely isn’t the first thing I reach for first thing – it’s a cup of coffee and my journal or book. I’m not starting my day with someone else’s stuff, I’m starting the day with my own and continuing ownership of my time throughout the day, being intentional about what I’m doing and when I’m doing it. Sometimes it sounds silly – that I’m saying that someone else or something else has taken over my life, wreaking havoc with abandon, calling my name to read Facebook! Oh no! But, a habit is like that – I’ve let myself mindlessly go through motions that aren’t working for me…until now. Now, I feel like I’m in control and creating practices that will help make my life less stressful and more productive, making room for creativity, mindfulness and ease. Basically I want to feel like I’m living a Vacation Life.