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I got this is one of my email newsletters and thought I would pass it on…

-Paul

Sometimes you need to get away, but you don’t have the time or money. Don’t despair: A mental vacation can help reduce your stress.

By Diana Rodriguez

Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

take a mental vacation

Small stressors can quickly add up to major stress and one big stressful event can send you reeling, with no idea of how to start addressing it. If you could just get away for a little stress relief, you know you would be okay. But too few of us have the time — or the money — to run off on an impromptu vacation.

Well, you don’t have to spend a dime or go anywhere other than a quiet spot nearby to take a mental vacation.

Stress Relief: Take Off on a Mental Vacation

If you don’t find a way to reduce stress, your health will pay the price, both mentally and physically. It’s not necessary to get a lengthy massage or head to a beach to relax — you can unwind every day in simple ways and still get a major benefit.

"People who are under a lot of stress have physical problems related to constantly being under stress," says Sally R. Connolly, a social worker and therapist at the Couples Clinic of Louisville in Louisville, Ky. "And if you don’t find ways [to relieve it], even in small periods of time, you can have long-term consequences." It’s crucial to add stress relief to your everyday routine, she says.

Connolly suggests learning techniques to reduce stress and trying to sneak in one or two each day. "Even if it’s five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night, just find time to do that," she says.

Stress Relief: Six Quick Mental Trips

Visualizing a stress-free place and other relaxation techniques are quick and easy ways to help your whole body calm down and give you just the boost you need to get on with your day. Connolly suggests these six ways for you to slip away on a mental vacation to reduce stress:

  1. Read a book in bed. Connolly says this is a great escape and can leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to face whatever is outside your bedroom door. Your bed is warm, cozy, comfortable, and a peaceful place for you. It feels luxurious, and getting lost in a good book is a perfect way to forget, then refocus, your own thoughts.
  2. Visualize relaxation. Steal a few quiet moments to close your eyes and think of an image that relaxes you — such as the warm sun on your skin and the sound of the ocean, a big country field sprinkled with flowers, or a trickling stream. Connolly suggests thinking back to a time when you felt peaceful and relaxed, and focus on releasing the tension from your toes to your head.
  3. Look at pictures from a happy time. Connolly recommends pulling out snapshots from a photo album of a family vacation or a fun dinner with friends. Reflect on your memories of that occasion, and what made it so enjoyable. Spend a few quiet moments reminiscing, and you’ll find yourself more relaxed.
  4. Look out a window. Distract yourself by focusing on something other than what’s stressing you. Grab a steaming cup of coffee or tea, close the door, and take a mental break. Do a little people watching, appreciate any birds within view, or enjoy some fluffy clouds rolling by. Allow yourself to daydream for a few minutes.
  5. Listen to a relaxation CD. Invest in a couple of these CDs for a short daily escape, says Connolly. You may like to hear chirping birds, rolling waves, or gentle rain — whatever your choice, closing your eyes and listening to these soothing sounds while doing some deep breathing can help you relax and de-stress.
  6. Take a walk. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress because it’s a great escape for your mind. Head out for a quiet early morning walk or lace up your sneakers on your lunch break. Walking along a trail, waterfront, or other peaceful place when possible may offer even more relaxation.

Treat yourself to a 5-, 10-, or 20-minute mental vacation each day and train your body to relax and reduce stress — you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel after taking just a few luxurious moments all to yourself.

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Vacations are a wonderful thing, they allow you to see and experience new things, and they allow you to create new memories and to share them with others. They allow you express yourself in new ways, and to spread your wings over new lands. Vacations are a wonderful thing!

 

This will be my last blog until the 8th of July, because I am going to spread my wings over Mackinaw City in Michigan, I am headed off on vacation! And I am excited!!!

 

Each year I, along with my family venture off to Mackinaw, we return to one of our favorite spots in the world, Mackinaw City and Mackinaw Island.

 

In truth, Michigan is one of my favorite places to be. Yes I live here, but I have traveled the world and seen many places, some offer images and sounds that Michigan could never have, others offer beauty that is out of the world, but still to me, Michigan has it all.

 

I find peace in this state, I find the hand of God in the Great lakes and pine forest, and I see his playful side in the Sand Dunes of Lake Michigan. God created Michigan as a play ground, one filled with lakes and streams, forest and dunes. To me the sights, sounds and smells of Michigan are magical, they calm me, sooth my soul and make me at peace. I know it sounds funny, as if Michigan has a magical power of sorts, that it’s a mystical place, filled with wizards and dragons. In a way it is, it is a magical place, it’s a place the sooths my soul, invigorates my being, makes me whole.

 

I was born and raised in Lower Michigan, near Detroit, so Michigan is in my blood, it is part of my DNA, and it is who I am. I have a deep love for Michigan, and all of her beauties, I feel a connection to the state, a oneness with her. She offers me comfort and security.

 

When I travel the world, I always love to see and experience new places and things. To see cultures and new lands is an adventure I am always willing to go on. I have been gone for up to 2 months at a time, and always enjoy the experience, but I always miss Michigan, her sight and sounds are like a deep hug to me, she holds me tight, and brings me security and warmth like no other place hear on earth. Michigan is the womb that I return to after a long and weary trip; she is the mother land, offering her love freely.

 

So, ya, this vacation is one of comfort and security, one of deep hugs and motherly love. I am returning to womb to receive the nutrients of life, re-energizing my soul and taking in the sights and sounds of the land I love, allowing her to penetrate my being, to its deepest core, to infuse me with her lifeline.

 

I hold Michigan in high regard, because this is the home of my loved ones, the ground that holds my parents, comforts then and surround then, it is the land that I have experienced life, grew up in and has helped me define myself. It is here that I have experienced great love and profound hatred. It is here that I become who I am, and it is here that I feel the most conferrable and secure. Yes, Michigan is just a land mass who’s borders where defined my man, but to me she is mine, and I am hers.

 

Paul

 

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