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My family and I just got back from vacation. I know, I know, most people are well into their school year by now. With three kiddos not yet in school, we decided to take our trip to the beach during Florida's off-season. (Genius move, by the way!) Of course, it was amazing. I mean, yeah, we still had the kids to take care of, but a week at the beach was just what our family needed.
When we got back home, the usual vacation hangover began to set in. Laundry. Chores. Bills. Work. The list of to-dos kept getting longer and longer. At one point, I said to my husband, "How can we make our real life more like vacation?"
It was a sarcastic, woe-is-me rhetorical question. But it got me thinking. What are the best parts of vacation? (Other than not working, of course.) Beautiful views, amazing food, margs for lunch, family time... I could go on and on.
While our normal lives can't be completely like vacation, there are some things we can do to enjoy life more.
Find the mountain tops - Vacations usually revolve around the destination—a white sand beach, a big metro city, historical attractions, etc. Find the "mountain tops" in your town. Whether it's a beautiful park or a quaint art museum, a hike in the woods, or a few blocks of small shops, take time every once in awhile to enjoy where you live.
Eat good food - Admittedly, our vacation eats are meticulously planned out. I always do some research to find the best food there is to eat, wherever we are going. Normal life should not mandate bad-tasting food. When you can, cook delicious meals. Grab take-out from your favorite local taco bar. Food is just as important for your soul as it is your body.
Find solitude - Probably the best part about vacation is the down time. Even if you're vacationing with children, you're still going to be able to slow down a bit while traveling. So make sure you carve out some alone time when you're back at home.
Carve out time for family - In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be easy to forget intentional family time. Pick one night a week to devote to family. Even if you only get an hour, it'll be good for everyone to have that time blocked out for each other.
Get some sun - Everyone who goes on vacation comes back with tan lines. The sun is good for you! Give your body the Vitamin D it needs and spend a few minutes outside each day. Whether you eat your lunch outside or go for a walk around the neighborhood after dinner, spending time outdoors will do wonders for your body and soul.
Unplug - On vacation, it seemed easier to step away from email, Facebook, and Instagram. It was good for me to enjoy certain moments for what they were, instead of checking for notifications or taking photos to post online. Set some rules in your house about computer and cell phone use. Whether you unplug during family meals or put your phones in a drawer after 8 pm, it's always refreshing to step away and enjoy your real life.
Earn your rest - My husband used to say this all the time and it sticks with me to this day: When you lay your head on your pillow at night, make sure you've earned a good night's sleep. When you work, work hard. So that when you do get a chance to enjoy a nice meal or explore nature with your family, it's well-earned and much appreciated.
Say "cheers!" - Confession: I consumed an alcoholic beverage everyday while on vacation. And while that is far from my normal, it felt like a luxury. No, I didn't go crazy. But I enjoyed a few of my favorite beers and cocktails.
Don't sweat the small stuff - At home, it can be so easy to get in a fit over nit-picky things your spouse does, something your friend posted on Facebook or the way the neighbor treated you the last time you saw him. None of that really matters. Do like Elsa and "let it go." Life is short, my friends.