Take a break for your health is the advice psychologist and author MARGARET LAMBERT offers in the latest instalment of her regular column.
There is nothing like travelling to a completely different place to expand our thinking and take us out of our personal comfort zone.
I am writing this week from the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Travelling from coast to coast in a new country not only covers a great distance but also brings into our vision the great variety of landscape and people – individuals, families and groups from an array of countries, cultures and backgrounds, all with their own beliefs, experiences, burdens and joys.
What a change this makes from being immersed in our ordinary daily routines!
Of course it is not always possible to travel afar and journey in foreign lands.
Most of us battle along as best we can in our familiar circumstances at home base.
In our everyday lives we tend to become accustomed to our routines and live out of the familiar beliefs that we hold about life around us.
This makes absolute sense as we pace our living by making sense of the various factors that affect our immediate environment.
Whilst this is necessary in order to address the issues in our lives, if we never take a break from our regular routines, our focus and anxiety about home-based issues can become more and more intense.
We can become hooked up on family situations, health, work and local issues to the point that our inward focus becomes detrimental to our health.
We may rarely see beyond these close-to-home matters that are constantly influencing our stress levels.
So what are the options when we are not able to venture to exotic, different or foreign places in order to create some distance from the regular issues that confront our lives?
How are we able to broaden our perspectives and see life from afar?
Simply taking a couple of days’ break away from regular routines can help, or booking in for a retreat near or far away where you are immersed in self-care, leaving daily worries behind.
Doing something completely different such as seeing a fun movie with a great friend or lifting the spirits of others through some volunteering work can also create some distance from our own challenging issues.
A quote from Einstein may also help:
If you really cannot remove yourself physically from your environment and your circumstances, how about using imagination – finding that space in your mind that can take you anywhere you care to imagine?
Music, reading and meditation are just some ways can inspire the imagination.
Breaking away from regular routines and everyday issues that fill our lives is a great leveller, helping us to notice a wider world, and allowing us to breathe in the wonders that lie beyond our usual focus.
It is also a great health prescription, as respite from our regular focus reduces our stress levels and creates space for renewed perspectives in our lives.
Until next time…