It’s officially summer here in H-town (aka Houston, Texas) and that means summer adventure time!
So, who doesn’t love a good summer adventure?
Imagine yourself sipping on your fave flavored sparkling water in a chilled glass with those cute and colorful umbrellas for all the aesthetic appeal, sitting in your beach chair, book in hand overlooking the beautiful blue ocean.
The sound of the seagulls cawing with the splash of the waves is so rhythmic that you teeter between reading the latest Oprah worthy beach read and dozing off into complete and utter relaxation.
You have no worries. No stress. Nothing scheduled or to do other than make permanent body imprints on your lounge chair.
Yet, the reality of getting to your summer adventure and trying to invoke that blissful feeling state may sound more like this scenario.
You and your family get in your packed and beach-ready car, drive off feeling excited about the freedom you are going to feel once you step your feet into the sand, already feeling the sand lightly squishing between your toes, and the cool ocean breeze flowing through your hair…
And, while lost in this vision, something happens.
Your younger one screams at the top of her lungs because you forgot to pack her favorite stuffed animal, so you turn around only losing 30 minutes beach time, but you added a few hours of stress time to your life with that one incident.
Or, perhaps you get moving on the road and all you can think about is work!
You promised to keep work at work and family time with family time, but now you feel pressured about all the to-dos you are leaving behind.
The story cycles through your head.
You start sweating profusely. Your heart speeds up.
Suddenly you feel worried. Anxious. And… really frustrated.
You don’t want anyone to know so you snap at your family for the slightest infractions. Now… everyone wants to go home and no one wants to go to the beach!
Maybe you have so much to do (or you think you have a lot to do) before you go that you stay up all kinds of hours trying to get things finished, but once your vacay day gets here you are exhausted, cranky, and depleted!
How in the world can you adventure in that state?
First, know that these scenarios happen to all of us and they canget the best of us.
But, we are going to change that with a few mindfulness tips under your sunhat.
Mindful Travel Tip #1 – Space
Give yourself space before your adventure in order to shift your mindset.
If you are like me, a good scheduling crammer, you can take an empty calendar and fill it up with all kinds of productive magic!
It’s a good skill to have, but saying “space” to people like us can leave us feeling lost, directionless, and moody.
However, space is exactly what you need to transition from one type of energy and environment to another, like work to vacay adventure!
Perhaps you might think you will get the space there, on the beach, but you must create a transition space to really attune to the vision you have of actually relaxing on the beach instead of sitting there thinking about work.
Create space by not loading your calendar.
Go for a walk without listening to music or podcasts so you can process what you are putting on hold and what you want to create in your chillax time.
Or, sit in your ultimate relax chair while sipping your fave beverage, take deep intentional breaths, let go of the things you can’t get done before you go, and get fully present to the new space you will create on your adventure.
Mindful Travel Tip #2 – How do you want to feel?
The vacation vibe is all about how you are feeling on the inside in the moment you arrive!
It matters what feeling you bring to the summer adventure.
If you are stressed out when you leave for vacation, it’s quite possible you will bring the stress with you.
So ask yourself the simple, but powerful question, “How do you want to feel?”
Do you want to feel joy? Peace? Complete relaxation?
In order to get to those pleasant feeling states, you must declare them before you go on your summer adventure. Remember, you cleared the space so you can create in a new space.
Not sure how to get there?
Use this technique from my friend Mitzi Henderson from Namatzi Yoga. Get out your journal and write down how you want to feel on your trip. Describe it as if it already happened.
Not into writing?
Then talk it out with your family or your partner or friend and describe how you want to feel on the adventure.
Do this and you are well on your way to the ocean bliss!
Mindful Travel Tip #3 – Use your ocean breath
Bring the ocean to your mind by using your breath.
Ocean breath is another word for ujjayi breath. It’s a special way to initiate breath control in a mindful/yogic breathing practice.
Here’s how you do it: take a long, slow, deep inhale through the nose, then engage (or contract) your glottis muscles (the muscles in your throat) while you take a long, slow, deep exhale out of your nose. Do this 3-5 times.
The sound you create with your breath will also keep your mind extra focused!
So, when you are prepping for your adventure or you are in route and stress arises, bring the ocean to you and get centered before your centering gets out of control.
Summer adventures are meant to be stress-free.
They are meant to be fun and enjoyable.
Before you go out trying to create the vacay vibe, make sure you create the space to let go; be okay with where you are in life, work, and relationships, etc.; and tune into the feeling that you desire to bring with you along the way.
When you get stuck or things get a bit tough (like traffic or airline delays or kids screaming), bring the ocean to you and breathe in all the sunny and salty bliss.
Your mind and heart will be better because of it. Oh, and so will your summer adventures.