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A Break from the Norm

A Break from the Norm

Step back from your daily calendar and think about what your weekend regimen usually includes. Do you catch up on chores? Go grocery shopping? Visit family? Pay bills? How much of the weekend is devoted to good old-fashioned R&R? That’s “rest and relaxation” for those of you who can’t remember because you haven’t had any in a long time!
To me, the weekend always feels like a game of catch-up, crossing off all those to-do list items that didn’t get done during the week. If there is time, I curl up with a book or watch a movie without multi-tasking for once. With the holidays approaching, you’d think some R&R would be on the horizon, but for many (myself included) the holidays mean running around to tons of family engagements. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays and I love my family, but come January, I don’t feel rested and I still need a real vacation.
Holiday time or not, more and more people are taking a break from the norm by making weekend treks to Buddhist monasteries and ashrams (an isolated Hindu community), as this New York Times article explains. Even though you will be required to do dishes, scrub toilets and sleep in dorms, the rigor of it all is surprisingly relaxing. Why? Because it’s all about getting back to the basics, and most activities are done in silence. Chores there are, but there is also meditation. What is notably absent is what makes the difference: Communication is kept to a minimum, which means no marathon internet sessions or cell-phone chatting.
As you finalize holiday travel and get-together plans, are you already contemplating the winding-down vacation you may need in the new year? What does your ideal vacation look like?
—Alicia Kachmar

Posted: 12/15/08

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Yes! Like you, I love the holidays and I love my family, but the trip home is always so jam-packed that it doesn't feel relaxing at all. And sadly, I won't have enough vacation time yet to take a "recovery" vacation from the holidays.