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By: Dr. Joanne Z Moore, PT, DHSC, OCS

sun bed and beach

Everyone needs a vacation. There was a time when I thought that vacations were only for the rich, or something that you could do only if all your work was done. Then I read a book called, Sabbath, Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives, by Wayne Muller. It became clear that the Third Commandment, “Keep holy the Sabbath”, was indeed a commandment, not just a suggestion. According to Muller, The Buddists believe that when we act from a place of deep rest, we are more capable of cultivating “right understanding, right action, and right effort. Muller further explains that Sabbath is time consecrated with our attention, our mindfulness, honoring those quiet forces of grace or spirit that sustain and heal us. The term, Sabbath, used broadly, is a practice to find that balance between work and rest so that we may do our work with greater ease and joy. With that in mind, how can vacation be considered superfluous? It is indeed necessary to the care of our emotional and spiritual health.

As a widow/er, you have been through a lot. You’ve been responsible in caring for your family, home, and finances. You need a break from it all to rest and to think clearly. It makes sense to me that our vacation should be very different from what we do every day. If our days are full and hectic and stressed, then vacation should provide rest; it should rejuvenate our creativity; it should lower our blood pressure. If our days are routine and easy, then we can seek more challenges in our vacation.

Though you may agree that we need a respite from our daily routine and stresses, you may find it difficult to vacation alone. If you go back to where you’ve always vacationed, the experience may be bittersweet with memories. It might be a good idea to try something new.

staycation2staycationThe easiest vacations are done right from your home. It’s become a popular strategy, and has developed the name, stay-cation. Even without going far, you can have a true vacation. There are probably places within 50 miles of your home that you’ve always wanted to visit. If you can’t think of any offhand, peruse a regional newspaper or magazine for featured activities. Or check out the local towns’ or Chamber of Commerce websites. Plan well a week of day outings. Your planning will guide you to museums, theaters, shops, and historical sites. Other days, you can hike in state parks or do other active things, like kayaking or snow shoeing, Get tickets to a ball game; see if the stadium offers tours. Visit a nice library in the region, and peruse the magazines. Perhaps try an art class or a cooking class. End the week with a spa day, getting a massage or manicure. If you find a museum that you like, join. They’ll send you information throughout the year about special events. It might grow into a volunteer activity. Arrange to connect with friends on some of the outings.

Just as if you were out of town, refrain from household chores and worry. Avoid phone calls unless they’re from fun people. Maybe even hire someone to clean your house while you are out one day. Eat out as much as possible. This sort of vacation is very satisfying, and is quite affordable.

Once you’ve done this in your own geographic area, you’ll realize that the same strategy could be implemented from a hotel or bed and breakfast anywhere. Have some fun selecting a city or resort area, make a hotel reservation, and then plan day trips there.

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