As I sit here on my parents balcony, drinking coffee, listening to the birds singing, the ocean breeze across the road, the busyness of the cars driving past getting ready for their Easter long weekend with family as I am with mine, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to really sink in and write an organic in-the-moment blog post, something I actually haven't done before as most of mine are pre-planned, pre-written and pre-scheduled due to my full time job taking up most of my week, so I write content in advance whenever I can.
I am though a lover of blog posts that I read where I can feel the environment of the writer in that moment, their emotion and their purpose behind the writing, I love feeling like I'm there with them, a part of their story.
Is there anything better than the smell of the ocean? I feel incredibly blessed to wake up to it when I am home visiting my parents. Each morning I will wake when my body tells me it's time to get up, make a hot coffee and then walk across to the beach to enjoy it, slowly, in peace and quiet, just me, the ocean, sand between my toes, and my fresh cuppa.
You may be wondering why I'm writing about my little solo morning beach dates or why the title of this blog post is what is it, it's because from my own personal experience (let's say past experience because my ideals have changed a lot over the years), not a lot of us take holidays to slow down and just be, so many of us, myself included, for whatever reason end up filling our days to the brim with catch ups, and to do's, more catch up's, and more to do's, in order to feel like our holiday is 'fulfilled', but have you ever gotten to the end of your holiday and felt absolutely exhausted? I don't know about you, but I raise my hand high for his one.
Sometimes it's hard to slow down when the only time we get to spend with our families might be over holidays like at Easter, but it's the moments in between the catch ups what need'nt be filled up, it's the fridge that's already filled, or the esky that is already overflowing with drinks, that need'nt be filled up (again), it's the need not to do's that I'm talking about. It's also how so many of us go away on these beautiful holiday's, only to be caught on a gorgeous beach or in a beautiful little cafe glued to our phones, admiring what we could be admiring in person instead for a little longer. I am a blogger yes, I do use my phone and my computer while I am away, yes, but in fact, I don't use it like I would on a normal day to day basis, I make a strong concious effort not to, I put it out of sight when I'm done doing what I need to do and carry an actual camera with me to take photos on, because what's important are the people that are in front of me, beside me, and all of the little moments in between that become the fondest memories.
I thought I would share with you some of my favourite ways to slow down while on holiday's (and yes, all of these include putting your phone away)
read a book, actually read a book, even if it's a chapter or two a day, in the morning and then one in the evening, there is no reason you cannot finish a book on your holiday's (it's amazing what you can actually accomplish when your phone is out of sight and out of mind)
make a cuppa in an actual coffee cup and go somewhere with it, even if you take it and sit on the grass in the yard, soak it up, bask in the sunshine, coffee can most certainly be enjoyed in more places than just a chair or the couch (I love the looks I get when I take mine to the beach of a morning - because why not, I mean I can't explain it, but it's strangely exhilarating sitting on the beach with a ceramic coffee cup for some reason)
leave the car at home and go for a walk or a bike ride, and make a special effort to notice nature, all the different birds, flowers and trees, for me this is such a grounding experience, noticing life without expectation (it's amazing what you notice when you aren't looking down at a screen - though if you really want to take photos I highly recommend putting away your phone and opting for a traditional camera, this way you can still be present whilst making hard copy memories)
search your holiday area for a group class to do like yoga, I've done 2 since I've been on holiday's, and it will be 3 by the time this is published, I've made new friends and even been invited for coffee with them post practice (stepping out of your comfort zone is always worth it - you'll never regret a workout)
if you're tired.. take a nap! Something that we tend to avoid when we are in the chaos of our lives, but when we are on holiday's why should one feel guilty for wanting to rest and dream and rejuvenate (this really is the ultimate way to slow down and turn off - I highly [highly] recommend naps)
Even with all of the above said, still I'm not perfect at slowing down, not even close. Sometimes I still find that when I am on holiday's, every now and then I can find myself feeling a little tense, because I'm not go, go, go all of a sudden, and then I question myself if maybe I am bored and then feel like I need to go out and do something to fix this tense feeling, but trust me, doing is not the answer, spending money is most likely not the answer either (and bored is an awful word - when doing nothing is actually a blessing). So these days instead of doing when I'm feeling like this I force myself to stop, I will take a deep breath, take a step back, and if I am feeling up to it only then I will do something of the above or alike, my two favourite things 'to do' when I'm feeling tense being reading and taking a nap (two of which that I find the hardest to get myself to do at the time - but seem to be the most beneficial).
There is no reason that we should feel guilty for not doing 'everything' on our holiday's, there is no reason to feel guilty for not catching up with every single person whom you promised you would, you are important too, you know? In fact, you are a priority just as much as anything else in your life, and believe me when I say that slowing down, even if only a couple of times a day during each day of your holiday's will benefit you and your family more than burning yourself out, on your holiday (it's a thing trust me - overdoing holiday's, I've been there..).
I hope this organically written blog post inspires you to try to slow down on your holiday's, by choice, to not fill your days up so much that you have no space to breathe, to make time to breathe. Holiday's don't automatically equal rest, you have to choose to rest.
All my love,