Last year Matt and I did a huge big Europe trip. It was really fun but very busy and full on every day. The trouble is, when you’re travelling so far away from home, you don’t want to waste a second. You plan each day to be packed with sight seeing and make sure you also do side trips to ensure you’re maximising your geographical location.
A few weeks ago Matt and I escaped Wellington for a holiday - a proper holiday. After 10 days, I came back feeling better than I had all year. So what was it that we did that was so transformative? Was it meditation? Yoga classes? Drinking green juice? No, oddly enough, none of the above.
Our recent trip really showed me the power of truly doing nothing for 10 days or so. I am such a doer it can be hard for me to give myself time off. Life just gets busier and busier and juggling wedding planning, work and house-sitting/ living with the in-laws this year has been tough.
While we went away to a bach up north, much of what made the trip lovely was things which don’t cost anything at all.
Here are 5 things we don’t nearly do enough of, which can be useful to bring you greater happiness, no matter where you are:
1. Bin the Wifi, TV etc
Our bach at Ngunguru had no wifi or television. We had a small DVD player with a limited collection of old discs. This meant that apart from a few Jamie Oliver episodes and a hearty dose of Poirot, we were left to our own devices to entertain ourselves. It also forced us to use our phones less and for me to stop blogging. If we had had wifi, we would absolutely have streamed movies and tv shows instead of reading books, watching a few linear old murder mysteries and playing scrabble. By the end of the week, the reduction in internet seemed to have worked wonders for my peace of mind.
2. Drink Lots of Cups of Tea
Drinking cups of tea together in bed? Up there with my favourite couple activities. There’s something so homely about sitting together and lightly bickering over who’s turn it is to do the kettle. I love a cup of tea and having a quiet time, where you are primarily enjoying some hot tea, rather than drinking wine or beer, never hurts as a detox strategy. Plus it keeps you warm in Winter!
3. Read Books
Both Matt and I read books all week. I re-read ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert and ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama. Matt finally finished ‘Capital in the 21st Century’, ‘American Psycho’ and ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’. Reading is one of the best things you can do to help remedy mental health. The more I spend my days on a computer for work or blogging, the more I notice how focusing on one piece of material for an extended period of time leaves me feeling refreshed and relaxed. Plus, I am a serial book buyer which means I still have lots of books I haven’t yet read. Now my goal is to read all my current books before I buy new ones. Let’s see how I go!
4. Go for a Drive
Going for a drive feels very old fashioned; something I used to do with my Dad at high school if my Mum needed to help my brother with study. One afternoon it was raining heavily and Matt and I decided to hop in the car because we were cooped up. We ended up driving around all the bays to the deep countryside before ending up at Hikurangi. I loved going for drives with Matt because there’s always the thrill that you don’t know where you’ll end up. With a full tank of gas and nothing else to do, it felt like going on an adventure.
5. Spend time together
This year has been really hard in many ways with so much change at once. It was absolutely amazing for Matt and I to spend 10 days together uninterrupted which was EXCACTLY what we needed. When life gets stressful, it’s easy to take it out on your partner or end up freaking that life won’t stop being overwhelming etc. Instead, a break away gives you the chance to talk and rest together, laugh together, play together, and generally do all the things which life gets in the way of. I am so glad Matt and I had a bit of time out of this year to drop out and refuel. We felt much happier and closer by the end.
Sleep is really important for me to feel positive about life. If I am tired, I’m grumpy. Matt and I slept heaps on holiday and it not only helped us feel happier and sort our thoughts out but it also meant that we lost a teeny bit of weight. It’s 10:12 pm as I write this so I am keeping it short so I can finish and get some zzz’s..which leads me to my final point.
7. Be in Nature
New Zealand is truly one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The far north is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. Ngunguru is a gorgeous spot for a holiday, at any time of year. In the off season, it was lovely to explore the beaches, rocks and coves of this gem. With deserted beaches and quiet streets, it felt like a treat to explore this natural paradise by ourselves.
What’s your favourite free way to unwind?
Photos all taken on a Kodak Disposable Camera.
Top photo: Wearing all Witchery.