self-care

The Mental Health Benefits Of Getting Away

There is something so therapeutic about a vacation getaway.

We don’t get away a lot, especially as a whole family, but this summer Tamara, Edgar and I got to spend a few days at a beach house in Oak Island, NC, with family.

One of my favorite parts of being on vacation is the possibility of losing track of time. When you’re relaxing or playing or lounging or doing what you do, and you have no idea what time of day it is, because you don’t NEED to know, because you’re on vacation. That’s magical.

We take days off from farming/writing/working from time to time, but there’s something particularly beneficial about having time off while we are physically away from our home. This is especially true for people like Tamara, who work at home. When she sits down to relax, all the stuff she needs to do for her job isn’t out of sight in an office building twenty minutes away – it’s right in front of her. Everything on her to-do list could be done at any moment, even if the purpose of that moment is supposed to be relaxing.

It applies to everyone else, too, even if they don’t work at home. When you’re in your home, there are always so many things that need to be done. The to-do list is staring you right in the face when you’re trying to kick back and relax. But when you’re on a vacation getaway, you can’t tackle the items on your to do list. (Not all of them, at least.) And if you can’t get them done, it’s silly to be worrying about them at all. The work, the errands – they’ll get done, eventually, when we’re back to real life.

I also enjoy vacations as a reset of sorts. This vacation, in particular, felt like a great reset with regard to food and exercise. Each morning, I ran on the beach – my favorite kind of running. And swimming is one of my favorite kind of exercises. And diet-wise – I’ve been feeling confused about my diet recently; I don’t know what to eat and when to eat it. I sometimes realize at noon that I haven’t eaten anything all day, and then I’ll eat something random or unhealthy that isn’t particularly satisfying. But this vacation week was full of delicious home-cooked meals and healthy snacks. I know a lot of people use vacations as times to indulge, to treat themselves – but I actually find them a great time to reintroduce good habits that I want to foster. Particularly when it comes to food, I make better choices when I am away from home than I do when I’m in my regular routine.

This particular vacation was far away from home, but I often see the same benefits with just a day trip or an overnight camping excursion. When we get OUT of our regular routine, away from our regular environment, we can escape the stresses of everyday life, and we all need that – even homebodies like me.

I strive to remember how much a getaway can energize me, even when I am burnt out or stressed from everyday life.

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