The art of the mini-holiday

Monday is governed by the Moon and astrologically, the Moon is about emotions. It only makes sense that if we want Monday morning to go well as we’re returning back to work from the weekend, that we’ll need to pay closer attention to getting our emotions in balance.

Recent research suggests that we can do just that by treating our weekends like a mini-holiday or vacation. Even better, research suggests this can be accomplished by a change in mindset rather than by rushing off spending precious time and money on travel.

The idea is simply that you go into the weekend instructing yourself to treat it as a holiday rather than a ‘regular weekend’. This does not mean you completely neglect household chores but that you spend a little less time on them than usual. It also means that you’ll need to resist spending time catching up upon ‘work’ stuff that didn’t get finished earlier.

Stay in bed a little bit longer with your partner and eat a bit more, treating yourself to, say, a favourite breakfast. 

Mindset shifts such as these have a powerful effect.

Research shows that by slowing down and paying more attention to the particular activity at hand and the people sharing it with you, allows everyone to take more pleasure. Get creative; listen to your favourite music whilst running errands or sip a margarita whilst folding the laundry. Even if you can’t afford to take the entire weekend ‘off’ , you can still carve out a piece of the weekend to be fully in the moment, savouring a fun activity. 

Mind you, this approach is not for every weekend because if it were, then by becoming the new ‘regular weekend’, it would lose much of its therapeutic value. But when used judiciously, this simple reframing technique allows you to make more of your time off without a huge investment.

Oslo & a sense of community vs. me

Travel is a big eye-opener.

It’s a lifesaver too.

If we sit in one place too long, just like jelly in a mould we congeal and harden. We get to thinking that the world we see out of our window is all there is to see. This is the way things are. This is the way things have to be.

Of course that’s not true and at some level, we know it. But it takes something like a trip abroad to jolt us out of our purple haze.

My recent weekend in Oslo did just that. It not only was great fun, but it reconfirmed the world does not revolve around Oxford. Indeed, it got me thinking again that life might be a whole lot more interesting someplace else.

During an hour spent dawdling over a beer in an outdoor café, I watched a variety of people stroll by. Although their manner and dress wasn’t drastically different from that found on the streets of Oxford, there was something as fresh about them as the breeze off the fjord. Perhaps it was the way they regarded their companions – not as recipients of their own wisdom, but as individuals in their own right with something worthwhile to say.

This got me thinking about the way life used to be here (in both the US and the UK) even just twenty years ago. In those bad old days, while strolling the city streets, we used actually converse directly with our friends & acquaintances rather than remotely via a shiny gadget glued to our ear. What we took away from such personal interchange was much more than just  information. It was a sense of belonging to a community – i.e. something bigger – and perhaps even more important – than me!

This then got me thinking (and I bet I’m not the only one), that while progress may be necessary (and perhaps even welcome), it does have its drawbacks. Yet when like flies caught in a spider’s web, we’re enmeshed in the thick of it, that’s pretty hard to see.

The solution?  Peel yourself out of your mould and take a trip abroad. The open your ears and eyes and enjoy.