I was talking to a friend the other day about feeling the need to get away for a few days.
"Holidays are for people who don't like the life they are living everyday," she said.
I don't strictly believe this to be true. I think you can love the life you're in but still want to expand your awareness by seeing different places, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. However, I do know people who go away frequently because they have stressful jobs. They never get to unwind at home as they are constantly checking emails and working.
So how do you create a life from which you don't want to escape?
1. Create technology-free time
If our minds weren't so busy, always darting from one thing to the next, we wouldn't need meditation. Our minds demand constant stimulation and they want it NOW. How many times have you said to yourself I am going to relax for half an hour, read, play with the kids, but then find yourself replying to emails, social networking, or writing a report? Aim to have a set technology-free time each week. Completely switch off those laptops, tablets and phones. (It's too tempting to have them on mute.) I love "Silent Sundays." A chance to down tools, get the kids off their consoles and really connect.
If you're the one that has no time for meditation in their schedule then guess what? You are THE one who most needs to meditate. Even 20 minutes a day can make a huge difference to our ability to cope with everyday stress. Many centres offer lunchtime classes. For improved clarity, enhanced productivity and the ability to be in control of your thoughts allowing you to switch off when YOU choose, experiment with different forms until you find one you like.
I know, I know, this is HUGE but take time to consider whether this could be an option for you. Moving out of the city, working less hours, or retraining to do something that really does make your heart sing can be massively scary but often worth it. My partner gave up his successful business to become a holistic therapist. Financially, it's been tough but the lifestyle adjustments have been worth the happiness he now feels.
4. Reconnect with your childhood self
When was the last time you time you did something just for the pure joy of it? I used to love creating things when I was small and although I am the least artistic person I know I still love cutting up magazines and making a silly collage just for the hell of it. Time wasted doing something you enjoy is never time wasted at all.
5. Schedule time for yourself
It can be hard to find a work/family/you balance. Regularly schedule some "you time," or it's easy to just keep pushing your needs to the back until you run out of day. Tonight I am due to have a bath at 7pm and have the scented candles and do not disturb sign ready.
6. Practice gratitude
What are you grateful, really thankful for? Keep a journal and the list will probably surprise you. Listening to the birds sing, getting out into nature, it really is the little things. Start to notice the small stuff and it is easier to stop pursuing the big stuff.
Clear your home and office of junk. A clear environment really does contribute towards a clear mind and you will save time not frantically looking for lost items. Bonus.
8. Guard your social time
I used to make plans with friends, work ridiculously long hours, and then cancel evenings out because I was so exhausted. It's so important to spend time friends and family and a change of routine can really give you a boost. Fun. Remember that?
9. Be clear on what you want
Are you frantically working towards something? Do you know absolutely what that something is? We are all busy, but busy doing what? Sometimes we need to recognize that we don't need to get there. There is here and it has been all along. Relax and enjoy the Now.
10. Clear out energy vampires
This is a toughie, but most of us have people in our lives that we just don't feel good to be around but feel a certain sense of obligation towards. I had an old school friend who always complained about every aspect of her life, each time we met, which left me feeling drained and dreading our next meeting. I had to accept that we no longer resonate at the same frequency and made a conscious decision not to see her again. I have since made a new friend I felt an instant kinship with. When you subtract the negative, the positive will automatically be added.