The past year and a bit were rather a long, arduous journey in unchartered territory. It is not over yet! The prospect of this pandemic lasting for many more months is genuine.
What is also very real is that my brain could use a vacation at about now for my well-being. Any break would do, be it short or long; beach or tour; domestic or abroad. I feel I need to wake up my brain, my senses. I need to focus on my well-being and that of my family, indirectly, as the pandemic drags on and drags us down.
There is a noticeable vacuum in our lives. We are missing out on valuable Vitamin D;
stimulation of a new environment: family time and de-stressing from what surrounds us.
We could all use a short get-a-way to boost our brainpower and energy.
Psychological research shows that new experiences, such as unique scenery, will “turn on” the brain and make it more resilient, especially in our later years. Going through planning, researching and booking a vacation are good boosts to our imagination, brain and senses. It’s the combination of moving around, engaging our imagination and fresh, new scenery that is highly effective in lowering the inactivity and stress levels in our lives.
A real vacation, however, will have to wait until more specific times. For now, my backyard will have to double for a vacation. I am blessed with a lake, many nature paths, bird sanctuaries and woodlands. A walk in any of these places is a vacation on its own. Even though it’s repeated many times over, the difference now is that I look at my surroundings with fresh eyes and motivation to find pleasure and stimulation from the richness of nature surrounding me. I have not logged any distance on a bus, train, plane or my car, but I have logged many steps in my daily walks. A different route every day. A stroll by the lake nurtures the soul, as my senses come alive with the pleasure of little things.
I gaze at the lake, calm down, observe the walking paths, and slow my speed, I scrutinize the hiking trails and enjoy the bustle of squirrels and chipmunks all around me, and I feel alive! I breathe the fresh air, close my eyes and pretend that I am on vacation. I hear the soothing sounds of the waves and feel the breeze on my face. I feel a layer of stress melt away, and my steps are lighter, bouncier and more purposeful.
For now, I am content to enjoy my backyard vacation as I experience it through fresh eyes and a positive outlook.