5 ways to switch off when travelling

Woman looking at the sun set over an old city

Travelling is one way which people try and ‘escape’ their normal. For some it is super easy to be present and mindful of their surroundings when abroad, but for other workaholics it may be a challenge. Here are 5 tips for quieting your mind and zoning into the here and now.

Turn off all notifications

This is the first thing you should do in your destination if you are addicted to your phone (like most of us). A notification is a cry for attention, a message to react rather than relax! No! You are in an awesome destination in a completely unique moment that you will never relive. This is no exaggeration. Sure, you can return to a place you have been before, but it will a different time, you will be older, your circumstances will have changed, you may not be with the same people, and so on. This moment in time is yours and irreplaceable, do not let this be intruded upon by work or friend drama you can address later. I’m not telling you to forgo tech (you will need Google Maps) but limit yourself to an hour in the evening where you answer your messages and check your emails.

Think of 3 things you like in your destination that you do not have at home

Giving yourself a thought exercise of this nature will allow you to focus your mind and attention on where you are. Sometimes I find myself wandering around new places and missing the details. Challenging yourself to reflect on the place you are in can help you tune in to all the characteristics that make it so special.

Be still and people watch

People watching is a brilliant way to learn about the customs and culture of a place. A destination is not just about the natural beauty or tourist hot spots, but about the inhabitants! A good hour of watching passers by also means you have to be still for an hour which will encourage your mind to be also. Whether it be sipping a coffee at a cafe or sat on a bench, how often do we actually permit ourselves to be calm and not constantly in motion either physically or mentally? When you are travelling you hopefully have left behind the time pressures and responsibilities of your everyday life, so spoil your soul and sit still! In this day and age it is a luxury and one of the things I look forward to the most when travelling.

Wander without a particular destination

This works particularly well in cities or towns where you are staying. If it is safe to do so, meander around the streets without necessarily having a destination. If you are not distracted by getting somewhere you need to go you can discover hidden gems and most importantly be more aware of what is around you rather than following that Maps route.

Move that body

The benefits of exercise for mental health and focus are still very much the same wherever you are in the world. Hopefully, your destination may offer opportunities to be active in ways that are a little bit different from home, but do not forget to move whether that be swimming, windsurfing, hiking, or yoga. The more it diverges from your normal activities the better!