Summer vacation is a perfect time to start practicing mindfulness. It is the period that most of us take a break from the daily routine and unwind. Time is created for other things than work. We are more open to new experiences. Why not combine this with practicing being mindful? In this blog I will give you five practical tips to get you started.
Do you remember exactly what you had for dinner yesterday? What did it taste like? Remember the long drive you had in your car yesterday? Do you remember the landscape you passed through in any detail? No? You were probably on autopilot. You were not mindful.
Autopilot can be very useful. It is a survival mechanism that helps us to automate simple tasks so we are able to focus on things that need our direct attention. It helps us to get the job done. But when we forget to switch it off we have the risk that most of our life will be lived on that comfortable autopilot. Someday you will wonder ‘where did the time go?’ and regret it. Summer vacation is a perfect time to switch that autopilot off.
Five tips on how to be more mindful during your summer vacation:
1. Be aware of your autopilot
Recognize when you are on autopilot. Then realize you have the power to switch it off at any time. Practice switching it off and living in the moment. When it happens again: repeat. It will get easier the more you do it.
Practice breathing mindfully a few times a day. You can do that anytime: when you are in the car traveling or when you are walking somewhere. For a minute: breathe deeply and visualize your breath coming in and going out.
Make a habit of meditation. Find a quiet place once everyday to close your eyes and meditate for a short while. Clear your thoughts and make room for the ‘now’.
4. Use all your senses
Look, listen, taste, smell and touch mindfully. Not all the time and not all at once. But alternate between the senses. Taste the great food, listen to the summer sounds, smell the fresh air, watch the beautiful sights and touch the sand on the beach with your hands.
5. Look back
When you get into bed at night just play the video of the day in your head. What did you do? Where did you go? What did you experience? And how much do you remember the little things? The more details; the more you did things mindful.
Try mindfulness during your summer vacation. What do you have to lose? Chances are you will enjoy your vacation even more. It is also a great way to switch off the autopilot and loosen up. Maybe you are even able to maintain the new habit and stay more mindful when your vacation is over?
Have a great vacation!