Monday, November 19, 2007

Makin' Time

Here we are, Monday again - but this one marks the start of a long race to the finish line - the Holiday season. Aaaaargh. For any reader with a family, children, relatives, pets, neighbors - in other words almost every one of us - this time of year is about as stressful as it gets. (With the possible exception of tax time!!) You'll probably notice a lot of good advice everywhere on how to de-stress. From inhaling a variety of herbs (not those kinds of herbs) to singing, jogging and even giving your turkey a good solid smack when you're stuffing it. (Don't ask me, although the idea has merit...!)

My advice? Go on vacation. Okay, you can stop laughing! I didn't mean packing, airline tickets or suntan lotion. I mean a mini-vacation for your mind!!! And I'm gonna tell you how to do it!!!

Step one - close your eyes. Preferably not while you're driving. Behind the wheel isn't a good place for a mini-vacation unless you're stuck in traffic or you've actually found a place to park at the mall. (That deserves a party rather than a vacation!!!)

Step two - paste a "picture" in your mind of the most beautiful place you've ever been. A beach? A mountain? Someplace quiet maybe - a field at sunset - whatever your favorite memory is. This is YOUR vacation, no one else's!

Step three - go there for a moment or two. Focus on shutting out everything around you. Push your mind to remember the sights, smells, sounds of your favorite place and take a look around inside your head. Relax your body if you can while you're doing this. Just "be" in that place for a few short minutes out of this busy day. And relaaaax...

It sounds simple - and it is. But it does require you find those few quiet seconds. The shower works, or the time before the rest of your family arrives in the kitchen. Maybe when they've gone off to work/school and before you have to leave. Perhaps even while you're waiting for that load of laundry to finish the final spin cycle. Lay all the busy-stuff to one side and just "chill" for a tiny portion of your day. It's refreshing, relaxing, re-vitalizing and can help you wade through yet another stressful pre-holiday twenty-four hours. Trust me. It does work. I do it more and more as the stores fill up, the to-do list gets longer and longer and my patience thins out to a microfilament I'm hanging on to with my back teeth.

For anyone who can't think of a memory off the top of their heads, I'm tossing out this photo for you - it's the Reid Glacier in Alaska. One of my favorite mini-vacation places. The air that day was cool and crisp, the scenery - well, spectacular doesn't do it justice - it was quiet, just the sound of the water lapping around our ship and the cry of seabirds wheeling over the stark landscape...mmmm....I'm more relaxed already. Now I can get going. Where's that pastry for the pies?

Here's hoping you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love, laughter, family and friends. Oh yes...and some wonderful mini-vacations! No postcards required!

[Confession - sometimes I take George Clooney with me!!! Hey. It's MY vacation - why not?? Although those little trips sometimes last longer than five minutes. ;) ]


Ciana Stone said...

Fantastic advice Sahara! This is a technique I use a lot. No, George is normally not featured but I will admit to including Sam Elliot, Tom Selleck, Clint Eastwood (younger version) and even Tommy Lee Jones - all in cowboy attire - oh and never all at once. What can I say, a landscape that goes on forever, a horse and a cowboy? Now there's a mini vacation I can stretch out for a couple of hours!

Oh and the pic is beautiful! Never been to Alaska so this will be my image (me, a crackling fire and this image through the window). Yep, that works.

Happy Monday!

Sally Painter said...

Great advice! I love doing just that. And from now on my daydreaming is official called 'mini-vacation'. Have a great holiday season everyone!

Mary Winter said...

Awesome advice and beautiful picture. :) Hope you have a wonderful holiday season

Nicole Austin said...

Fabulous picture. Looks like a great place for a mental mini-vacation. Definitely a great strategy for surviving the holidays or any stressful time. :D

NathalieGray said...

I can never do that, just close my eyes and hang a pretty picture. I usually end up thinking about ways I could blow up a planet in my next book, or wondering how I could have my heroine scale a glass-and-steel skyscraper. Then a particulalry yummy idea strikes me and I'm frantically rummaging around for a scrap of paper before The Idea blows away. I'll take a vacation when I die.

And Christmas shopping is the work of the devil Didn't you know that?!

Shelley Munro said...

That's a great idea. I love holidays ;)
Alaska is beautiful. Hubby and I had a wonderful visit there a few years ago.