My husband and I are coming to the end of day 9 of a 10 day holiday in Bali. It’s been a wonderful time of real relaxation and reconnection with each other. I feel a softening and opening in us both as we truly de-stress and unwind. I suggested to JL this afternoon how fantastic it would be if a benevolent government made an annual short break away mandatory for each married couple in their country. There would be less separations and divorces in the world, I’m sure. Most of us these days are unconsciously in an anxious state that we believe to be the norm because everybody else seems to be in the same state. It is not, however, a healthy state and it’s not right that we see it as perfectly normal.
I have the privilege and the good fortune of having been a primary school teacher for most of my working life. This has meant long, regular, relaxed holidays spent with family which I hope have provided all of us with happy memories and greater bonding. JL has always been keen on photography and taking videos, even before smart phones made it the norm, so whilst I’m all for Being in the present, I’m also grateful when I get home that he has taken the time and effort to capture our special moments together.
I’m aware that in some other countries, employees are only granted 14 days annual leave a year. I am confounded as to how individuals can maintain a healthy, balanced state with so little rest and recreation. If we live our life continuously moving on a roller coaster, never taking the time to stop and smell the roses, is it any wonder that we feel run down, our relationships are fractured and we suffer accordingly. When we don’t fully appreciate what an important prerequisite relaxation is to our heath and happiness, we become unhappy and so do those around us. If we consciously take the time to relax, to unwind, then we become a more likeable version of ourselves, at least, that’s how it is for me. When I get stressed I become someone I don’t like much. I really dislike how I feel. I feel out of control. On more than one occasion I have said to my children, In life, if you have to chose between boredom and stress, chose boredom. Perhaps you don’t agree but stress for me feels so detrimental to everything I hold important – health, balance and inner calm.
Walking back along the beach this afternoon, I shared with JL my childhood memories of going away on our boat for about 2 weeks at Christmas time each year when I was a child. The joy of hanging out with the other families and kids during long, balmy days and swimming and relaxing each summer holidays set the scene for how I wanted to enjoy my holidays as an adult. When I was growing up, my parents always made going on regular holidays a priority for our family and I’m so glad they did. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, they were setting the stage for how I would view holidays as paramount when it came to bringing up my own children.
I believe that me, my husband, my children, my friends and my work colleagues all benefit from a Jen that is relaxed and happy with her inner world. By happy, I mean calm, at peace and at ease. I used to feel this way only during the holidays, but over time and especially after I suffered from a bout of chronic fatigue a couple of years ago, I found the relaxed feeling so important for my health and inner balance, that I made a commitment to only ever feeling this way; to not let stress even get a look in. The daily meditation practice I do with the apps 10% Happier and Calm help me to keep this commitment on track. I’ve made my inner mantra be, Life is too short to get stressed. These holidays JL and I have been putting the guided meditations on speaker a couple of times a day and enjoying the benefits of meditating together.
So, I hope I’ve convinced you that if it’s been a while since you and your partner have unwound and connected on a deeper, happier, more relaxed level, then it’s time to book a get-away together. You’ll both be pleased you did because spending quality, relaxed time together takes some beating.