Let us take a mental holiday
“Holiday is a feeling /commitment to wind down and not the hustle and expenditure about the changed physical location.”
Last week,I met my friend who was back from exotic holiday trip of Switzerland,indeed a beautiful place to chill and relax . However , she was pretty upset to share that her holiday was not as relaxing as she expected it be , when I inquired why did anything wrong happened ? She told everything was just perfect but she could not relax.
Has it ever happened to you?? How often do we feel not being on vacation, even when physically there? Majority of us eagerly wait to plan the dream holiday, but are we really able to enjoy it, as much as we expect. Even if we do, question is, can we have a holiday without spending a fortune or a few days at some distant place to be at peace or just be happy?? Can we make our happiness and peace more affordable, more accessible? The answer is YES, we can. We can have it in the middle of a stressful day, we can have it when we are shuffling between work and family responsibilities, and we can have it when we are trying to meet the deadlines or we can have it during long metro trips.
So before making your own itinerary let us understand what does “Mental Holiday” mean here. “Mental holiday is consciously choosing to slow down, to be aware of what is keeping you on edge and regulate the same, to make your moments fulfilling, to manage your overwhelming self, to explore and invest in daily happiness domains, to be in present moment and just be at peace within oneself, without judgments against past criterion or comparing it with ideal future.”
To explain it, people on mental holiday lies at the middle of NPC, they are different from the people who are on one side of NPC; workaholics, always under stress of some kind. Also they are different from people on other side of NPC, characterized by lethargy, binge watching, doing nothing productive, but at the end of the day they get as stressed as workaholics. People on mental holiday are within the moment, with a responsibility for self, family and work. They keep it balanced, not getting to the extreme of either work or leisure, which helps them to work happily and relax effortlessly.
Mental holiday is achieving work life balance in the most subtle way possible and making it a daily exercise / habit. For a conventional holiday i.e. a physical holiday, we know how to plan it and we are always ready with our checklists. Similarly to go for mental holiday it is important to have our own checklist and a map.
Below is a sample, but if you want to truly enjoy, design your own plan.
1) Dress for a mental holiday – Several studies point out, our emotions affects our clothing choices and vice versa.
Once such study was conducted by the Professor Karen Pine, who found out 62 percent women would put on the favorite dress when happy and 57 percent would put on baggy top when depressed.
So to go for mental holiday, to disconnect from your workaholic and cribbing self, it is important to wear comfortable clothes, well-tailored, made from bright and beautiful colors. You can have your mental holiday clothes which makes you feel comfortable, happy and at peace.
On the other hand, if you want to work in a relaxed manner, get your office clothes well-tailored, use your favorite color, and if possible use bright colors which will keep your spirits up. And during the stressful work, when you feel little down, go to the washroom, look yourself into the mirror and compliment: Hey You look Smart! , Hey Gorgeous! This dress really suits you!
And in a moment you will be holidaying, at work place.
2) Digital Detox- For majority of us, smart phones have become as important in our lives as food and water. We jump for our smart phones, once we open our eyes and we take it with us while going to bed, this habit keeps us always on the hook. So, to go for mental holiday, we need to “consciously manage our screen time”. We can make our plans for that. Start digital detox with small habits, “no phone – family time”, “no phone -lunch”, and “no phone –half an hour of morning” or “no phone-bed time”. At work, we can practice, “no social media –before lunch” or “No Sending email for work through phone.” We need to be mindful, digital detox does not mean discounting usage of smart phone, but it means, no phone-daily moments, accepting the initial frustration and giving your time for gradual change of habits, of enjoying life outside gadgets in social connection, in real world.
So, for a mental holiday log out of your phone and login to yourself and the real world.
3) Break The Monotony- When we were young, it was a challenge for our parents to set a proper routine for us and more challenging was to make us follow that. But, surely we had fun and were more happy experimenting different things every day. As we grew up and start settling for stable jobs and life, we get bored with same 24*7 routine, and gradually become so worked out and exhausted that start losing interests in daily lives, we feel empty, and our life becomes tasteless.
Now, to bring back the lost joy, mental holiday can be utilized, it can be practiced as break from routine. That break does not really need to be an exorbitant investment. It can be as simple, as going for a walk on different route, going with a new colleague to office, giving yourself a different hair style for work, talking to your school or childhood friend or to experiment with your routine food. It needs to be simple, imperative thing is that you take a holiday from your conventional 24*7 schedule.
4) De clutter Your Mind-In 2005, the National Science Foundation (Europe), published an article, summarizing research on human thoughts per day. It was found that the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thousands, 80% were negative,and 95% were exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.
So, the way we do not carry unnecessary clothes or things to holidays, similarly for a “Mental Holiday” it is important we travel light or with necessary things only. We can do that by being mindful of our unhealthy thinking patterns. Once identified, visualize, send them away or imagine yourself deleting the ‘unnecessary thoughts’ folder with a click in your mind’s system. Once we have removed the unnecessary stuff, we can pack our bag with necessary ones i.e. more healthy thoughts, positive thoughts. Practice positive self-affirmations, send or write a positive note to your family, friends and colleagues, or be more creative and find your own technique that works best.
5) Plan Daily Shots of Happiness Hours- When we go for physical holiday, at a new location, we usually enjoy the moments by having a few shots of our favorite drinks or we explore different cuisines to satisfy our taste buds. However, on a mental holiday it is entirely different, in mental holiday we keep happiness hours. Happiness hours are those hours in our daily life which we actually dedicate to the activities which makes us happy, these can be anything talking to your best friend, playing with your kids, writing your blog, watching your favorite show, dancing on your favorite music or singing at the top of your voice.
During office hours also, plan your happy breaks, you can do that by committing to yourself, you will listen to your favorite song (obviously with your earphones plugged in), at a particular time of the day or you can savor the happy moments of the day by noting them right away in a pocket diary. The critical thing here is say “no” to excuses and say “yes” to mental holiday in the land of happiness. Make it a daily habit.
We, now have a map to plan a mental holiday. A holiday where you can be at peace and happy mentally, where you can capture small moments and capitalize them to the fullest for a healthier life and happier you!