Planning My Next "Mental Vacation"

I recently turned my calendar to August. This action usually causes a deep sigh as I realize that Summer is more than half over…Ahhhh! School will be starting soon, my “Hey, it’s Summer!” excuse will quickly become invalid, and the time for “buckling down” will be at hand.

I wonder if I can slow the pace of these passing days? Maybe not in a temporal sense, but can I seek to create some moments of carefree living, relaxation, peace and joy? My answer is “Yes,” and I am reminded that I am the one responsible to bring these things into my life. Gratefully, I have learned that if something is my responsibility, that is terrific news…because that is something I can influence (such as what I choose to dwell on, how I handle and express my feelings, how I respond to people or situations).

In the past, I have wasted many hours trying to control other people, other places, other things. Today my efforts are focused more often on what I can do to take better care of myself and my responsibilities…then I can be of service to others as well. One of my needs right now is to enjoy the refreshment of the remaining Summer days and to seek serenity (the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled), despite some troubling and ongoing family concerns.  

As I plan my approach, I am reminded of my Dad’s encouragement to take a “mental vacation.” His favorite example of this is to get lost in a good book for a short time each day. Other options are to engage in something creative (I have always loved to color so I bought one of those “grown up” coloring books!), to get out into the air and sun for a bit, or maybe to walk gently or briskly even if I am tired.

Whatever the option, the idea is to choose to center my attention not on pressures or concerns but rather on something that nourishes me, maybe stills my mind. This “mental vacation” usually leaves me feeling relaxed and energized at the same time, similar to how I feel after a swim in cool water. I will take several mental vacations as Summer winds down and then plan to continue this habit to help me navigate the daily challenges of Back-To-School.