Now that summer is here and we are gearing up to get away we must consider if we are choosing the right kind of escape. Oftentimes we are on vacation autopilot, packing to do the same thing the same way over and over again. According to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, NYC based licensed neuropsychologist and teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College, our minds really get to recharge when we travel so it is important that we use this away time to nourish our minds.
Dr. Hafeez shared with us 5 kinds of getaways that recharge your mind and why. The best part is that you don’t have to travel too far or spend loads of money to accomplish the mental shift these getaways offer.
The City Escape
Travel to your nearest big city or one you always wanted to see. Research mass transit, walking tours, museums, restaurants, shops, theatre, sporting events, concerts, pretty much anything you always imagined doing in that city.
“Researching new places activates our imaginations and inspires creativity. Also when in a big city there is a lot of sensory stimulation. if you live in a calmer town then hit the city for just a day or two you’ll activate a different side of your brain,” explains Dr. Hafeez.
Hiking, Fishing & Camping
If you’re used to a daily commute and feel life is a constant routine with workplace and family demands, busy schedules requiring you to do the same thing each day, hit the mountains.
“Getting connected with nature and listening to the sounds of fresh streams, birds, wind in the trees and walking along a trail can be meditative. Also putting together a camp site, packing supplies and roughing it for a weekend will absolutely shift your perspective. You’ll appreciate a night sky full of stars and crisp mountainous air,” offers Dr. Hafeez.
The Wellness Retreat
Is it impossible for you to to relax? Are you someone who is defined by the demands everyone else puts on you? Do you feel disconnected with you?
“Understand that if you aren’t at peace or aligned with yourself everyone in your circle suffers. You’re not going to be sharp at work, your health may slip, you’ll find that you are curt and short tempered with loved ones, says Dr. Hafeez.
These days a wellness retreat can be customized to suit anyone’s needs. Some include yoga and meditation, others feature organic cooking classes, wine country tours and massages. The key is to listen to yourself and pick the wellness retreat that will make you feel good.
Life’s a Beach
Even a beach getaway can be action packed with surfing lesson, snorkeling, or paddle boarding. You can also get a lounge chair and an umbrella and read that book you’ve been dying to get to but can’t because you’re too busy. A beach vacation chills you out. You’re connected with the earth because your feet are in the sand. You taste the salt in the air, hear the sound of the ocean, see the blue sky and horizon line in the distance, smell the suntan lotion and fresh fruit, and feel the warm sun and wind on your skin. Studies have shown that engaging all 5 senses enhances our mood and calms us down. The beach is another great getaway because it centers us and forces us to relax as we see, hear, taste, touch and smell our surroundings.
The Classic Road Trip
Sometimes all it takes is a great music playlist and full tank of gas to have a fun adventure. Pick a city within 100 miles and don’t think, just go! These days you can rent cars affordably so if you fantasized about driving a convertible, a hot sports car, or a tough rugged Jeep, bring that fantasy to life. “Spontaneous getaways where you figure it out as you go really bonds people and calls upon the pleasure seeking side of our brains,” explains Dr. Hafeez. She goes on to say that road trips also have a meditative quality to them in that we are looking at the road and listening to the engine. We also can have fun playing games in the car which encourage a well-needed break from technology.”
Whatever you choose be sure to approach it as an adventure with the desire to have fun, and make memories. Have a total go with the flow mindset and watch what fun you attract.
About the Doctor:
Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is an NYC based licensed neuropsychologist. She is a teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and clinical director of the Comprehend the Mind Institutes in Manhattan and Queens. She was a long time child school psychologist. She specializes in providing neuropsychological, educational and developmental evaluations to both adults and children in her practice. She works with individuals who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, autism, attention and memory problems, trauma and brain injury, abuse, childhood development and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…) In addition, Dr. Hafeez serves as a medical expert for various news outlets and programs, and as an expert witness providing full evaluations and witness testimony to law firms and courts. Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or at www.comprehendthemind.com