You know that moment at the end of the day when you finally take a seat on the couch, prop your legs up on the coffee table and let out a deep sigh? Maybe you have a hot cup of tea or you’re cracking open a cold beer (some days can go either way!),  but you know it’s time to freaking relax. You recognize that the work is done for now, and you can chill out.

notebook on the beachThat blissful feeling consumed me for 5 glorious days on our honeymoon in Riviera Maya.

Kyle and I delayed our honeymoon, and I believe I probably appreciated it more in January than I would have after our wedding in September. At that time, we got to experience the honeymoon phase at our house. The wedding left us in a euphoric state for days, I was transitioning to working from home – which was another type of honeymoon phase for me – and, it was still warm outside. We didn’t need to go anywhere.

Four months later, it was great to get out of the Iowa winter and go have a honeymoon on a beach.

I was ready for a vacation. Don’t get me wrong – I love my job and wouldn’t have it any other way, but I’m also the toughest boss I’ve ever had! I set strict schedules, constantly jump into new things and study like I’m a pre-med student. A whole week without a to-do list from Boss Michelle sounded delightful.

Nonetheless, I still set a goal for vacation. That’s just what I do 🙂

My goal was to take a bit of Mexico home with me, to learn how I could implement relaxation techniques into my work life and daily routine. To mix Vacation Michelle with Boss Michelle. Here’s what I came up with.

How to Implement Vacation and Relaxation into a Busy Lifestyle

In the first week back from our honeymoon, I’ll admit I missed the beach and the Mexico sun. But real life called for catching up on work and adapting back to the winter cold. This past week, though, I made a point to channel Vacation Michelle and bring her into my work life.

Here are a few ways I’m implementing the relaxed state of vacation into my daily and weekly routine:

1. Take time to do nothing

Like I said, Boss Michelle loves making to-do lists and scheduling out every minute of the day. I’m constantly writing, reading or listening to something, filling my head with all kinds of information.

Kyle always reminds me to sit down and do nothing for a few minutes. Lying on the beach was all about doing nothing, and I loved it. Sitting in stillness allows your brain the space it needs to wander, to reflect, to relax from everything you throw at it.

I recommend doing this a couple times for a few minutes in the middle of the day to give your brain breaks. Even scheduling “nothing” time can help enforce the habit. So far, I’ve been guilty of getting to the end of the day and realizing I haven’t given my mind a break yet. But hey, a few minutes of “nothingness” before bed is still making progress.

2. Get as much sunlight as you can!

Sunlight is so important to our moods, our mental state and our overall health. It’s easy to get the winter blues when the skies are gray and the winds are harsh. In the winter months, we have to be conscious about getting sun exposure when it’s available.

sunrise

One of the many benefits of sunlight is that it’s great for the immune system, which is probably linked to why so many of us often get sick during the winter months. Kyle and I were both sick the week before our trip, but that 80-degree weather and sunlight cleared up our symptoms on the first day! (The tequila may have helped, too.)

Even though it’s cold out, make the effort to bundle up and go for a couple walks during the day. That vitamin D makes for a nice relaxing break.

3. Simplify your life

Where can you simplify your life so that you do have more time to relax? How can you make your day-to-day less stressful and make time for quietness?

On vacation, we didn’t use our cell phones or the Internet. We didn’t pack our days full of excursions and places to be – mainly because I got sick, but that showed us how much we enjoyed and needed the simplicity of the beach. I didn’t even pack makeup because why bother with the hassle? All of these things gave us less to worry about.

honeymoon dinner
Enjoying our honeymoon dinner on the beach 🙂

Keeping it simple allowed Kyle and me to do more of what we love, which is talking to each other. I know, that sounds cheesy! But I love that about our relationship – we can be truly happy with nothing else but each other’s company.

Okay, we did have sunshine, 80-degree weather and unlimited drinks being served to us, but still! Without all that honeymoon stuff, simply making deep conversation is something we do as often as possible.

Think about the extra stuff in your life that distracts you from being able to relax. Take a few minutes a day to unplug and turn your phone off. It’s in those moments that the magic happens. 😉

4. Visualize the vacation

On those gray days when the sun hides away, visualize a peaceful scene to create a state of relaxation and happiness. In one of my favorite mindset books, The Power of Positive Thinking, author Norman Vincent Peale emphasizes how visualizing a relaxed setting allows us to stop fuming and fretting, to be more at peace.

“Spend a couple minutes thinking of the most beautiful and peaceful scenes you have ever beheld. In your memory, relive these scenes.”

-The Power of Positive Thinking

Kyle and I woke up early to see the sunrise almost every day of our trip. Those views were stunning, and I knew I’d want to keep them with me in snowy Iowa. Now I visualize this setting when I’m stressed.

beach visualization relaxation techniques
Visualize these moments!

5. Indulge regularly

coffee
Coffee and pastries – my favorite indulgence!

Vacation is veritably the time to treat yourself to things you otherwise don’t indulge on as often. Kyle and I got massages, we stopped for ice cream every day, and of course took advantage of the all-inclusive bar.

Sure, indulging can be bad for your health, spirit and your wallet when you do it too often. But why not make a time for little indulgences? When you work so hard toward your goals, knowing you have a little treat to look forward to can do wonders for your mindset.

Last week, I scheduled time on Friday to go to my favorite bakery in Des Moines. I planned to go by myself with nothing else but my planner and notebook. It was a crazy week catching up from being gone, but having this indulgent time slot in my sights kept me going, knowing that if I got everything done I’d be able to take that time for myself Friday without pressure.

And it was awesome. I ordered a coffee and a cute little pastry and enjoyed the crap out of it.

What is something you enjoy doing but feel like you never have the time for? Make the time for it! Look ahead at when you can fit it in and schedule time for a little indulgence.

Go Relax

Vacation reminded me to take the time to relax – do nothing for a few minutes, soak up the Midwest sun and plan time to indulge and treat yourself.

It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, but no matter how hard you work, there will always be more to do. The work will still be there whether you take a break or not, so why not give yourself a break?

Or just go all out and hop on a plane to Mexico 🙂

How do make time to relax? Share your suggestions by leaving a comment!

5 Things My Honeymoon Taught Me About Relaxing
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