Making Vacations

Each weekend a new “Brunch” post will feature thoughts about balancing family and self care with working in an always-on Internet environment. This edition is by Elizabeth Able, owner of AbleReach.

Elizabeth AbleWhat can you do after your Broadband goes on the fritz, hosting is wonky, a hard drive takes a final bow and the neighborhood’s electricity goes out just before saving a nice, long article? Playing catch-up is a given, but what about the headaches, the sleepless nights and that quicksand dread when the next set of hassles hits?

For one thing, I’ve been more purposeful lately about planting good things where I will naturally experience them on a regular basis. Relief is sometimes active, sometimes passive, and I can help with both.

Beauty can Bring Peace

I have fuchsia baskets hanging outside my bathroom window, by which I inevitably need to sit, and where I will inevitably look. Humming birds like the fuchsias – aren’t humming birds magical?

Bird Watching with Otter

My cat has figured out that a trip to the bathroom is an opportunity to bird-watch with Mom. Now he chases me into the bathroom and perches on the window ledge, having his cat fantasies about the birds. A happy cat is fun to watch. I like that I don’t need to make my little birdwatching moments happen. I stacked the cards in my favor and now I just need to remember to be happy.

Stretching is Healthy

The Mayo Clinic has an illustrated series of sensible stretches you can do in your office. I like to get up and turn around before stretching – a little odd, but it seems to make my muscles be more willing to stretch.

Walking Time is Good Thinking Time

I like to go for walks in between tasks. Tip: tuck a small notebook in your pocket, because a change of pace can help turn problems into a flow of ideas.

Dance Makes You Breathe and Feel

Do you work alone at home? What a great opportunity for dancing like a fool! Disclaimer – these examples look more foolish when I do them.

Sometimes I unwind the stress by sort of vogue-ing while I stretch, or by flat out pretending I can dance up a storm. (And my daughter thought that living with my singing was a challenge!)

Singing is Good Medicine

Breathing deeply changes your chemistry by getting more oxygen in the blood… and there’s nothing like a sing-along with dangerous Nan McGrew to change one’s perspective.

Why, I pull a train right off the tracks
And for perfume, I use shellac
When mad dogs bite, I bite ’em back
Grrrr! ‘Cause I’m dangerous Nan McGrew!

Mini Vacations Freshen Outlook

Everything I’ve described above can be a mini-vacation, but to get some of the same benefits you don’t need to stretch, dance, sing, garden or take the time for a walk. Relaxing takes the edge off, and doesn’t have to take long.

Have you ever had one of those days where “a moment’s peace” seems to be too much to ask, and the logical truth is that problems won’t be resolved quickly or easily? A mini vacation may hit the spot. Close your eyes and relax, breathing slowly and deeply, and visualize… nothing. Or visualize a meadow or a beach, whatever will give you a moment’s peace. A few moments of peace can change your outlook, maybe not 100%, but certainly enough to sidestep a head-on collision with full-on frustration.

A few minutes later, take another mini-vacation. Practice will shorten your inner commute to a delicious pocket of no-strings calm.

Wait Just a Minute!

Don’t even tell me you skimmed to the end without checking out the song and dance links. Back up and click on some joi de vie. Verve is good for you.

When I’m not writing or experimenting with WordPress I like to help to moderate at Cre8asite Forums, admire my plants and Stumble like a fiend.