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The best tips for getting away from it all, without really straying away

Just booked a vacation, the kind of vacation I’ve never booked before … a week all inclusive spa vacation. I almost always went looking for something; adventure, creativity, exploration (of oneself and of the world), romance, culture, learning … but now I know that all of this is available on my doorstep I need less vacations and strangely, I have some need need this kind of vacation!

It got me thinking and in a recent poll I did in my own head it seemed like a lot of people hit a certain point, let’s call it a breaking point, and decide they need a vacation. The top ten reasons for going on vacation, according to the aforementioned survey, are as follows;

1) Need to get away from work / life stress

2) To relax

3) To spend quality time with loved ones

4) Habit – “we always escape this time of year.”

5) A break with the norm

6) A new experience / a different culture

7) For fun – nightlife, a sporting event or just an adventure.

8) To sunbathe / tan (so that you can feel happy / look healthy)

9) It’s on my bucket list – “I’ve always wanted to go.”

10) Facebook shows everyone does it and I need some new photos to make everyone jealous.

The fun thing about vacations is that sometimes booking them seems to add stress. For example, people often book their two week break and then spend months telling others (before and after) that they can’t afford anything else because they just paid / were on vacation (which of course must include a whole new wardrobe and a stock of toiletries). There are also those who worry about their jobs, either before they leave, desperately trying to make up ALL the lost ends (they cannot delegate), or when they are away, or when they return to hundreds of emails. This kind of thinking is what makes some people think they can’t get a break at all.

So how can you achieve the same results that a vacation gives you without actually going on vacation?

Here are my top tips for getting away from it all, without really getting away from it all:

1) Make the most of your free time – don’t come home on a Friday night and have dinner in front of the TV. Plan a romantic evening; a quick drink after work or dinner doesn’t get in the way of your relaxation time, it is part of it!

2) Set aside a few hours on the weekend or on a weekday evening to do something for you. Get creative, read a book leisurely in a cafe, or just sit in a hot tub. Make sure that others are aware of what is going on and that it is up to you … not to distance yourself from them, but to reconnect with yourself. Likewise, schedule some quality time with loved ones – a lift for a soccer practice or grocery shopping with your partner doesn’t count!

3) Have good thoughts and you really don’t notice the rain … and share this with others, smile at strangers.

4) Organize a themed party in Mexico, Italy, France, Asia … bring everyone to bring a dish made from unusual fruits and vegetables, get dressed, find tunes, decorate the dining room, rent a relevant movie … bring the culture to you.

5) Once a month, turn a weekend into an adventure – hop on a random bus, stick your finger on a map, make a list of places you want to go and can go, put the ideas in a hat and choose one, or just take a walk and think outside the box. The key here is to be excited about what you might discover.

6) Spend a night out with the girls – don a fake tan and get out in the summer time tunes while you get carried away.

7) Focus on what you have – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, grateful people are so much happier than those who are always looking for something else. Write a gratitude dairy every other day and reflect if necessary.

8) Relax – meditate, swim, do a yoga / mindfulness class, lie down … whatever works for you, do it … and do it often.

9) Really look at the things around you in wonder – see it differently and you will already find many wonders in your world.

10) Be silly – let go of your hair isn’t just for kids or when alcohol is involved. Go dance in the kitchen and sing in the street!

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