The 24-Hour Mental Health Vacation

“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.” – Earl Wilson

I know the positive benefits that a night away has on my mental health.  No hubby, no kids, no pets, and a bed all to myself equals a good night’s sleep. Most importantly, the one or two nights of freedom without any responsibility enables me to focus on selfcare without any interruptions.  I am able to fill my cup and recharge.

Here are 4 vacation suggestions that will help you feel refreshed and restored.

  1. The Zen Seeker
  2. The Creative
  3. The Outdoor Enthusiast
  4. The Lover

The Zen Seeker

This 24-hour vacay is the most challenging of the four.  It takes a lot of commitment on your part but will be the most revealing.

  • Disconnection
    • Technology break for 24 hours (no TV, Radio, computer or phone)
    • Book a manicure or pedicure – or both!! (yes, guys can do this too, you can thank me later!)
    • Call the local yoga studio and sign up for a free trial – take you first yoga class
    • Go out for dinner and/or brunch with your friends
  • Movie Madness
    • Watch 3-4 movies in a row that you have on your wishlist
    • You can do this escape with the hubby or a group of friends
    • Pick a theme is you want – romance, horror, comedy, favorite actor/actress director.
    • Do not answer the front door until the take out guy arrives – this is the only exception…
    • Take note of what you enjoyed about the movie or have a discussion if you are doing the activity with others.
  • Ladies of Leisure
    • Get a bunch of you girlfriends together and hunker down at someones house or rent an air B&B for the weekend.
    • Your goal is to do some or all of the following:
      • Stay up late talking, reminiscing and joking around
      • Eat your favorite candy
      • Sleep in
      • Shop til you drop
      • Enjoy great food – Plan a menu or pot luck that everyone can contribute to
      • Connect with your tribe!
  • Bookworm
    • Grab a book you’ve been wanting to read – read it without interruption from cover to cover.
    • Find a great place to read – the park, a local garden, poolside or cozied up with your favorite blanket.
    • If you want a connection and ability to discuss the books you are reading, check out online book clubs or set one up with your book loving friends or coworkers!

The Creative

  • Dancer, Dance, Dance
    • If you don’t like a late night but still love dancing with the girls, then invite your besties over and get dressed, do hair and makeup and much on some great appetizers with a glass of your favorite cocktail.  If you prefer a mocktail – try this one (LINK)
    • Hit your favorite club and dance until your tootsies hurt
    • Sleep in the next morning and spend the day in your PJs recuperating.
  • Beautiful Artiste
    • Visit a local gallery, take time with each painting and absorb the creativity required for each piece of art.
    • On you way home, visit an art supply store and choose an inspiration project to paint, sculpt or draw
    • If you have kids, then include them in the art project and display everyone’s work at the end of the day.
  • The Foodie
    • Sign up for a cooking course and learn some new culinary skills.
    • Explore the local outdoor market and treat yourself to a new ingredient, fruit or delicacy.
    • If you prefer to consume more than create, enjoy Breakfast, lunch and dinner in a new city.  Do you research, read some foodie reviews and let your appetite me your guide.

The Adventure Seeker

  • Explore your own city
    • Visit your own backyard with fresh eyes – Make a list of places or activities that you have not visited in the city where you live.
    • Attend local events or festivals
    • Visit the museum, aquarium or walk the canal
  • Learn something new
    • Whether its a single day course or over a few weeks explore:
      • Skydiving
      • Water Skiing
      • Glass-Blowing
      • Pottery
      • Horseback riding
      • Rock climbing
    • Immerse yourself in the pursuit of your new skills as you made need a change more than some extra rest.
  • Into the wilderness
    • Grab a tent, sleeping bag and enough food for 24 hours and find the nearest campground to explore. (if you are not a camper, many locations have cottages or teepees you can rent)
    • If you forget to pack something, no worries, you can do without for 1 day!
    • Hike during the day, float in the lake, cook over the fire and soak up the stars in the nighttime sky.
    • Breathe in the fresh air and nature sounds.

Share your favorite mini vacation spot or getaway idea in the comments below and inspire the Tribe.

Share a pic to Instagram at #violetbuddhatribe

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Zen Your Way to Work

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.

Steve Jobs

Getting up and going to work can be a real challenge. When you are returning to work after an extended leave or illness can be overwhelming but it doesn’t behave to be! There are small changes or additions that you can incorporate into your routine that will help keep you in a positive mindset and create a comfortable work space when you arrive at your desk.

One day at a time…

Below is a list of zen ideas to help you transition back into the office:

  1. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual – allow yourself time to press the snooze button, ease your feet to the floor and lift your head off the pillow.
  2. Take time to sip your favorite morning drink. Whether it’s a cup of hot water with lemon, a fruit smoothie or a steaming cup of coffee, let that first sip be a moment of self care for the day.
  3. Dress the part – keep the goal in mind. Of course there are days that I wear my jeans to work with a nice top but for the most part I dress like a boss. The key to incorporating some zen into your wardrobe is picking out the articles or accessories that make you feel good. Wear a comfy pair of colorful shoes, a funny pair of socks, stacks of bracelets or your favorite printed scarf. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual – allow yourself time to press the snooze button, ease your feet to the floor and lift your head off the pillow.
  4. The commute to work can be quite stressful as we need to do drop offs at school and/or daycare, make our way through traffic and various weather conditions. With a little advance planning, you can create a playlist of tunes, download some podcasts or listen to audio books to shift your focus elsewhere during the commute.
  5. Add 1-2 family pictures to your desk area along with a green plant ( or more of you have a green thumb!) occasionally bring in flowers to freshen up your desktop.
  6. Keep your work area clean. Remove piles of papers, extra office supplies. Make a point of dusting and wiping down the desktop at least once a week.
  7. Get an ergonomics assessment done to ensure you have all the office furniture and supplies you need to be comfortable, productive and efficient.
  8. Consider a happy light! If you are in an office with no natural light, a happy light for seasonal depression can be your savior. Even if you have a window office, it can be a great tool for those dark Fall and Winter days that are part of many time zones.
  9. Determine if music helps or hinders you. I have never been able to study or work In silence – I need background noise. I have a small radio at my desk to energize me with some tunes to keep me on task.
  10. The sense of smell is connected to our emotional center, so adding a scent that evokes pleasant memories can calm your nervous system. My personal favorites are fruit incense stick in grapefruit, lemon and strawberry. Peppermint, cinnamon and rosemary can help with energy and focus. If you share an office and can’t have essential oils or candles, you can make a cup of tea with these ingredients have the benefits.

I hope that some of these ideas will help you while you start your progressive return or restart your daily work routine.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

The Power of Breath

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” ~Thích Nhất Hạnh

Anxiety and panic can arise at the most inconvenient and unconventional times.  I have found myself on many occasions in the midst of an attack when I am all by myself, with no apparent trigger or intrusive thoughts but for some reason my body reacts.

It took some time and several entries in my journal marking down the environment, what I had been doing or thinking prior to the attack and compiling my symptoms to come to the realization that I had a warning sign every single time – my breath.

As I start to feel overwhelmed by thoughts or feelings, the first thing that changes in my body the speed and depth of my breath.  My breathing starts to become quick, shallow and uneven. My nervous system goes into overdrive and with each breath I escalate my fight or flight response from my nervous system. I needed an antidote that was quick, easy and available at all times – the key was breath.

Calming Mind and Breath

Learning to be conscious of my breath through bost meditation and my yoga practice has been particularly beneficial to my anxiety disorder. Having the instinct to breathe slowly and evenly through my nose while engaging my diaphragm has improved my posture, lowered my blood pressure and significantly decreased my stress related pain points.

Whether you are trying to improve your health, or seeking a bit of zen, pausing several times a day to breathe deeply promoted relaxation, concentration and improve mental clarity.  Another positive result that I have noticed is when I do my deep breathing throughout the day and then about 30 minutes before bed, I have much improved sleep. As someone who has struggled with insomnia for years, this has been the most amazing side effect.

Deep Breathing Basics

Here are two easy exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine.

  1. Lie on your back, bend your knees toward the ceiling and keep your feet flat on the floor.  Put a hardcover book on your abdomen (just under your belly button) and watch how the book rises and falls as you breathe deeply, slowly and evenly.
  2. Lie in your bed, with a pillow under your head and both hands resting on your stomach.  Watch you belly rise and fall with each breath. Try inhaling for 4 counts, hold for 2 counts and then exhale completely for 5 counts. Repeat this 5 times or until you feel the tension in your body release.

If you prefer a little more guidance and flexiblity to do your breathing practice at any time, then try the OMM app…..

App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/one-moment-meditation/id873255555

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.onemomentmeditation.omm1&hl=en

Inhale.  Exhale.

Violet Buddha