Mindfulness on Vacation
By Kristen Roman, Psy.D. | Director of the Young Adult Program
Since going on vacation a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about how mindfulness can be used to help maximize our enjoyment of time away. Here are a few ideas for how to practice DBT mindfulness skills while on vacation:
- One-mindfully (doing one thing at a time with complete focus on the present moment)
This skill encourages me to slow down and enjoy one activity at a time. Rather than planning the trip while enjoying a meal or walking along the beach, take the time to just eat or just walk. It can also be tempting to let picture-taking take over a moment. Instead of trying to take in that beautiful sunset while also capturing the best shot for your social media feed, put your phone down for a moment and just take it in.
- Observe with the 5 senses (notice sensations without labeling or judging)
When something is very pleasant, tuning in to our 5 senses helps us anchor into the present moment and experience details that we might otherwise miss. For example, pay attention to the feeling of the sand underneath your feet, the taste of a new dish that you’ve never experienced before, or the colors of the landscape in front of you.
- Participate (fully throw yourself in, let go of self-consciousness)
Vacations and travel often provide natural opportunities to get out of our comfort zone and experience something new. On my recent vacation, an unexpected beach dance party broke out at an event I was attending. I thought to myself, what better time to practice letting go of self-consciousness than when you’re surrounded by people you will likely never see again. By throwing myself into the moment, I enjoyed myself much more than if I had sat on the sidelines.
- Be effective (do what works to achieve your goals)
As much as we might like to plan out a vacation, flights can be cancelled, weather can interfere, and obstacles that threaten our enjoyment may be thrown our way. The skill of being effective reminds me to let go of how I think things “should” be, and focus on what would help me towards my goals of enjoying and relaxing during time off.