This week overloaded me with difficult emotions, troubling situations, and disappointments. After a rather stressful Christmas break, I looked forward to just seven more days until school resumed. However, even anticipation for returning to college could not improve this week. Several friends canceled on me, tension heightened in my house, a dear friend ended up in the hospital again, Toastmasters was canceled, my university flagged me as a “bad student” because of past health issues, and the whole fiasco with my therapist has caused me to be without counseling. Instead entering this spring semester eager and rested, I feel drained and anxious.
On Tuesday, however, I used a brand new coping skill which worked wonderfully. After all of my plans for the day fell apart, my schedule went from packed with exciting events to nothing. Normally, time alone at home is a treat. Yet, that is where I have been most of break. I needed to get out of the house and do something – anything really – else where.
Thankfully, my parents agreed to let me go once despite my heightened emotions. Although they did not fully understand, they trusted that leaving for a little might help me to calm down. So I went off alone to have a date with myself or a mini vacation.
Sometimes, you need to have a change of scenery and people. Life seems impossible to deal with at the moment. Instead of trying to solve the problems, you might need to go away for a little while.
But the money and time to take a huge vacation are not available. If this is the case, a mini vacation like I took might work for you. Doing this lets you leave your normal environment for a little while before returning. This can calm you down, raise your mood, and help you to deal with difficult situations at a latter time. Sometimes, a little space and time is needed to solve a problem.
Mini vacations usually are a few hours to an entire day. Sometimes they can even be only 10 minutes. Whatever amount of time you need and can fit into your schedule can work. Be sure to leave long enough to feel better, but do not use it as an excuse to run away and never solve important issues. This coping skill does not involve avoiding difficult emotions or situations but learning to deal with them more constructively after you are better prepared.
After you have decided how much time you have, figure out some options of different things to do. On Tuesday, I went to the library for a short time, bought some items for my family at the grocery store, and then saw a movie at a discounted rate. Overall, I spent $5 (not counting gas money) and had a wonderful time. There are many cheap but exciting options for mini vacations. Here is a list that I am going to try out sometime. Maybe you can give me suggestions as well.
- Go to a matinee or discounted movie.
- Window shop in stores you have not been to before.
- Take a walk in a nearby park.
- Shop for your family.
- Read in the library.
- People watch in a busy area.
- Take pictures around the country or city of things that you normally would not notice.
- Ride a bus to a random location and check it out.
- Visit a free museum or zoo.
- Attend a church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious service that is different than yours.
- Hang out at a coffee shop.
- Put uplifting notes around public places (but do not litter).
- Buy little gifts for loved ones at a dollar store.
- Clean up litter in a park or other public place to make it more beautiful.
- Have your hair cut or nails done.
So those are some ideas of mini vacations. Although not expansive or elaborate, these little trips out alone can be helpful and life-bringing. I encourage you to treat yourself to one sometime. You might enjoy being alone and soaking in a new environment.