Let’s assume your doctor has prescribed seven days off work for you to refresh, relax and de-stress. It seems that you haven’t been yourself lately and your late nights at work and networking events have finally started affecting your immune system, your energy and your mood. Your doctor has decided to hold off on prescribing anti-depressants, even though you are presenting with a few signs of depression like fatigue, lack of motivation, weight gain, low libido and restless sleep. Although you’re grateful for the week off, you’d rather just take a pill, and if it wasn’t for the side effects and dependency factor, you would have by now. Well, I think you should thank your doctor for the note and start packing your bags. The prescription you’ve been given can amazingly shift the way you feel in as little as one week, but it must be taken as directed. Grab a pen, get ready to purge (aka detox) and let me help you plan your next vacation.
Dr. Sara’s Vacation Prescription
Step 1. Pick a destination and make sure it’s some place you haven’t been before. Your mind carries plenty of stored memories (both good and bad) and you don’t need any triggers on this trip. Pick a hot spot where you know you will be able to make healthy choices and experience a deep sense of relaxation. You will be leaving your condo, your work and your Blackberry/iPhone behind. That’s right. This trip is for your own well-being and you need to fully escape, not partially. Don’t worry, I’m sure people will manage while you are away. If you are reading this thinking there is no way you can detach from your desk, perhaps you are right. Just make sure you don’t wait until it is too late – adrenal fatigue, also termed burnout syndrome, is a serious health issue and it’s on the rise. So, when you decide to put your health first and hit a beach down south or a spa up north, select an appropriate destination that resonates with you. Avoid Las Vegas at all costs. The goal is to come back energized, lighter, calmer, and inspired.
Step 2. Choose a non toxic travel buddy or go by yourself. That’s right. No toxic people allowed! This means you can’t invite any negative friends or family members – especially no complainers who constantly talk about themselves. You either go by yourself or invite someone who is committed to the same goals as you are. Prior to inviting them, explain to them the purpose of the trip, and if they are on board and up for the journey, they can come. There is one rule that you will follow on this trip: for every negative comment made, five dollars comes out of your pocket and goes into a jar. Make sure your travel buddy is aware of this part, because it applies to them too.
Step 3. Before you embark on your seven day cleansing journey, you must resolve unfinished business that is weighing you down. If you have been holding onto something or someone, it is time to make peace and move forward. Make that long overdue phone call, send an email, donate stuff to a local charity, or write an unsent letter. Your heart chakra is relying on you for this, so before you get on that plane, wrap up all unfinished business and do whatever it takes to let go of stuff that is no longer serving you. No baggage allowed on this flight!
Step 4. Commit to eating regular, healthy meals on this trip. No processed foods, no food additives, no artificial sugars, no red meat, and absolutely no fried foods. This isn’t a detox juicing retreat, but it is a cleansing vacation, so please make health conscious food choices. I suggest you consume three liters of purified water daily and mainly eat a light, vegetarian diet. Since this is a vacation, comfort food is recommended, but limit your treats to once per day – sparkling wine or dessert anyone?
Step 5. Each day, set a soft sounding alarm clock for no later than 8:00 a.m., and immediately upon rising, drink one cup of warm water with lemon. Set an intention at the start of your day and write it down. How would you like to feel throughout the day? Use positive descriptive words such as energized, clear, balanced, happy and complete. After you’ve washed up, rub one drop of eucalyptus oil under your nose and step outside. It is time for yoga, meditation and stretching. Take numerous deep cleansing breaths during your early morning practice and throughout the day. For those of you who are new to yoga or meditation, I suggest you choose a destination that offers classes or download intro videos to get you started. After your morning practice, spend the day doing what you love and listen to what your body needs. You may want to relax under the sun, go hiking or read a good book. Whatever you decide, stay away from the phone, email and the rest of the online world. It is only seven days – you can do it!
Step 6. Reflect and journal every single day. Sip organic coffee, fresh squeezed juice or herbal tea and write. Get all of your feelings and thoughts down on paper. On day 1, you will write about your past experiences, your disappointments and your frustrations. For days 2 – 7, you will focus on the future, your goals and your vision. This isn’t the time or place for you to replay your victim story and look for sympathy. I’m sure you are aware that staying stuck in your story isn’t healthy and it definitely isn’t helping you move forward. Stop this toxic pattern immediately. Next time you catch yourself ready to tell your story outside of your therapists’ office, simply talk about something else. You keep the feelings of sadness, disappointment and anger alive every time you replay your story. The more you share your vision, your passion, and your goals, the faster you will progress.
Step 7. It is so easy to talk the talk, but are you really committed to doing the walking. Put a plan together with baby steps and start implementing them. Wearing your exhaustion and busyness like a badge is no longer in style and you aren’t doing yourself any favors by operating in overdrive. Adrenal fatigue is bound to set in if you don’t slow down. Ask yourself if you are addicted to stress or the rush that comes from the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol? If the answer is yes, you’ve got some serious work to do.
A recent study showed that the highest performers within companies took regular vacation time. This is no surprise. Fully escaping work, home and your day-to-day routine is essential if you want to live a fulfilling, healthy life. I just got back from my own personal cleansing vacation with my travel buddy – one week of emotional detoxing, letting go and planning ahead. Now it is your turn my friends. Make relaxation your reality.