This past weekend I took a mini-vacation to Newport Beach (about an hour and a half from where I am in LA) and it was much, much needed. It was nice to be so close to home, yet far enough away to feel like I get to explore somewhere new.
Over Thanksgiving just a few days ago, my family and I were talking about how people don’t take the time to be fully present in the experiences they’re in. All too often we see the person in front of us at a concert who won’t put their phone down and just listen. Just take in the moment that they’re in. Taking this little “staycation” was a little reminder to soak up my experiences, even if I’m close to home.
It doesn’t have to be an international vacation to make you stop and notice how great life is. Soak up your friends, the laughter, the music, the sunshine, whatever it is just soak it up.
Here are 5 ways you can stay in the moment and take time to be grateful for this life we have.
- Plan ahead. I thought about this and it could go either way. Maybe staying spontaneous makes you feel more free, but my thought is that if you plan ahead you won’t have a need to be on your phone. Let’s face it, we use our phones for everything. We Yelp the best nearby restaurants, we Waze our routes, we Google what to do, etc. Planning ahead could keep your phone in your pocket a little longer.
- Put your phone away. You probably saw this one coming. I’m a fan of capturing the moment don’t get me wrong! But snap a picture at the beginning of dinner (or at the end) or get a quick photo of that beautiful sunset and then just take time to actually enjoy it. Just like the concert thing I mentioned above, we get so concerned with showing everyone that we’re watching an amazing sunset, before we know it the sun has set and we can’t recall any of the details.
- Inhale positivity, exhale negativity. Focus on the present instead of worrying about the future. Have you ever been somewhere trying to relax and you keep thinking about your to-do list? Or stressing over something that doesn’t matter? I do that a lot. When I’m trying to be in the moment, I have to just take a deep breathe and not care. If it won’t matter in the next 5 years, don’t spend 5 minutes of your life thinking about it.
- I know I said plan ahead…but to a certain extent. I’ve found one of the best ways to truly be in the moment and soak up my travel experience is to get lost with the people I’m with doing something really fun and having a great time. Just like when you get lost creating something you love, or how I get lost writing something I get into that flow state and lose track of time. You can still plan ahead what you’ll do but no one needs an itinerary.
- Be open to exploration. Not only within the environment you’re in depending where you’ve traveled to, but be open to discovering a side of yourself you didn’t know existed or to doing something you didn’t think you’d want to do. Don’t force anything, but if you have the urge to do zip-lining and it’s available, why not! There’s nothing that forces you into the moment than doing something that scares you just a little.
- Okay here’s a bonus one: stop and take it in. An exercise I’ve done for writing in the past is to take a walk up the street and write down every single sound you hear. What’s crazy is you don’t realize all the individual sounds until you list them. The birds chirping, your shoes on the pavement, the leaves in the trees, cars driving down the street, dogs barking in the distance, you get the idea! Try doing this mentally on your next trip. Just stop and list everything you see and hear. It might sound weird but this truly gets you in the moment and I guarantee you’ll be able to go back to that moment in your mind because you were so present and mindful.
What do you find are the best ways to stay present? Tell me in the comments below!