DaVita® Stories

Keep Your Vacation Peace

This post was originally published on the Family Talk Blog on June 29, 2018. It was republished with permission on DaVita Stories.

I’m just returning from a lovely European vacation—lots of sun, new experiences, awesome landscapes, wonderful food, and exposure to different cultures. It takes some time to decompress from work, day-to-day life, and the hurried pace of family life. But after a week or so, most of those cobwebs have cleared away. What’s left is a sense of peace and tranquility. It’s not hard to relax after a couple of weeks away from the daily treadmill. After all, the big decisions on a vacation—what to eat and where to go. No wonder I feel so good!

Fortunately, Diane and I get along very well on vacation too. We have the usual places where we bump into each other. But they aren’t much different than the edges we have when we’re home. On vacation, we fall into a comfortable pace. I become more agreeable and she becomes less concerned about seeing all of the sights.

After the 10-hour flight from Paris to Seattle (on none other than one of our homegrown Boeing 777’s), as the plane descends below the clouds, our own beautiful landscape comes into view. In my humble opinion, we live in one of the most gorgeous spots in the world. Our majestic evergreens salute the water and the mountains. And off in the distance, holding court over this magnificent countryside, stands majestic Mt. Rainier. It’s no wonder that visitors from all over the world come to visit.

As we transition into summer, many of us will be taking vacations—visiting the mountains or the islands of the Pacific Northwest. We will have an opportunity to reconnect with family, friends, nature, and hopefully, ourselves. The longer days of summer create an opportunity for us to refresh and repair.

But for me, the most important question is not how to relax when we are away from our lives in a beautiful place, but how do we keep our peace when we get back onto the hamster wheel of modern life?

Find a weekly oasis.

Sometime during the week, find an hour for yourself to simply be. Take a walk, sit in your backyard, read a book or magazine, listen to music, or find a peaceful spot. Don’t do—just be. Mostly every week, on Saturday, I go by myself to my favorite Chinese restaurant and have noodle soup. It’s a comfort meal for me—but it’s also an opportunity to take a little vacation from my home and work life.

Take a moment of pause every day.

I have been a long time meditator, so most every morning, before anyone is up, I meditate and then perform Tai Chi Chuan, which I have been studying for some years. The 4-5 hours a week that I meditate equals about 200 hours a year, or the equivalent of 5 weeks of vacation. I need it! For others, prayer, attending religious services, or simply taking some quiet time may fill this need.

Turn off your smartphone, your computer, or your tablet.

Take some time every day to turn down your connection to social media, texts, or email. Take a mini vacation on a daily basis from the world of media.

Spend some time with your significant others—friends, family, or partner. Get a babysitter and go on a date with your honey. Spend some time with a friend. Keep it simple. But make it a regular part of your life.

Spend some time in nature.

While I love to visit cities, it’s important to take time to smell the roses, literally. A walk in the woods restores us to a greater state of balance.

It’s all about keeping our peace….

Dr. Paul Schoenfeld

Dr. Paul Schoenfeld

Dr. Paul Schoenfeld is a clinical psychologist with The Everett Clinic, a DaVita Medical Group, and the Director of The Everett Clinic’s Center for Behavioral Health. He specializes in working with children, families and adults. In his spare time, he’s a second degree black belt in Aikido (a peaceful martial art) and teaches aikido to children in Seattle. In addition (like many Pacific Northwesterners) he likes to hike, bike, and play in the sun (and rain).