Getting away or going on vacation is a remedy often used for those that are tired and weary from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, work and the daily grind. Removing yourself from your everyday enviornment makes it easier to detach and reinvest your time in activities that provide rest, relaxation, family togetherness and the recharging of batteries.
This practice was modeled in the Bible by Jesus who often retreated to a solitary place to rest, pray and prepare himself for what lay ahead. Unlike Jesus though, for many of us, even when we do get away, we are distracted by cares and concerns and find it difficult or even impossible to unwind. The outcome? We return home in the same state we left. As a therapist with a busy practice, I carry the emotional burdens of many people on a weekly basis. Getting away with my family is a regular practice in my life. I have on a number of occasions found myself sitting in a canoe in the lake pictured above, surrounded by beauty and tranquility yet immersed mentally in the stories and challenges of my clients back at the office.
It is during those times that I have had to purposefully shift gears into relaxation mode, a skill I teach my clients who deal with stress and anxiety. It is a tool I borrow from an approach called mindfulness. Mindfulness brings into a persons awareness all of the senses, sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. To do so in the moment, creates a distraction from other competing thoughts and allows you to be present and appreciate the moment. For me, while sitting in the canoe, it meant noticing the looming mountains in the distance, the clear water beneath me, the loon swimming just in front of me, listening to his distinct call. I tuned into other sounds like the lapping of the water against the canoe and the sound of my children's voices laughing on the beach in the distance. I can go on and on and elaborate at great length what my senses were taking in. As I practiced this skill, the former thoughts and worries fell by the wayside and I was able to be present in the moment and enjoy my surroundings.
Regardless of where you find yourself, at the beach on vacation or sitting for a half hour during your lunch break, take time to disconnect from the stressors in your life and tune in to those things that bring you rest and joy because as you have likely heard it said, "there is no rest for the weary"!