Every few years, I go on a digital fast for two weeks while I am on an international vacation with my family. I don’t use the Internet, email or social media. It can be scary because, with technology, many of us have FOMO – the Fear of Missing Out! It’s a drastic step but leaving all of this behind once a year is the only way I can actually get away for a vacation. Creating these types of oases in your life is an effective method to relieve the stress that invariably builds in your life.
But you don’t have to go on some exotic trip to get away. You can create a relaxing oasis right here in Chicago. Here is where to start:
Exercise. Workouts are a proven stress reliever. The problem is that many people start out with a routine that puts more pressure on them. Begin by exercising 15 minutes at a time a few days a week for the first month. If you are able to stick with this schedule, then go either a bit longer or more frequently the next month (but not both at the same time). Gradually build your exercise routine so it becomes an enjoyable habit and not another pressure filled chore.
Planned Dinners. Too many of us rush through prepared meals on the go. The process of cooking a meal with family or friends can create a space where you can slow down, talk and eat together. By focusing on the food and the conversation, the stress of the daily world can stand still for at least one evening.
The Work Vacation. If you are not able to leave calls and emails behind on a vacation, then start by doing work for a few hours each morning. However, for the rest of the day, have the discipline to not look at email or take calls. In this way, you still get some work done and still have a peaceful vacation while you are away.
Weekly Massage. I have always used a weekly massage as an hour-long vacation in the middle of a stressful day. The relaxing aromas, dim lights, and soothing touch of a massage therapist can help melt everything else away for a short, but meaningful, period of time.
Meditation. It can help relieve a lot of the stress that comes from the constant critical talk in your mind. Just like exercise, meditation is effective when it becomes a habit. If you’re new to this technique, use a smartphone app like Headspace that can offer a guided experience as a way to get started.
What techniques have you used to create an oasis in your life?