Take a Daily Vacation everyday for 30-days.
"Huh? Daily Vacation? Siao ah, where got so much money!" Don't worry lah friend and read on! Introducing you to the concept of Savouring.
(Originally posted on www.kayatoastforthesoul.com)
Life can get pretty busy sometimes. So much so that we take for granted the simple things that make our lives really enjoyable.
As Singaporeans, we're always rushing through our work week.
Always trying to get as much stuff done as possible, we drink our Kopi's on the go. We get to work and straight-away dive into the Tsunami of emails that came through in the morning.
During our one-hour lunch break, we speed through our food or even tabao and have it at our desk. Very good hor, looks like you're working hard. Hopefully your boss will see.
Around 5pm, things start to look better. Almost home time! Cannot wait sia.
When it's finally time to leave the dungeon that is our offices, we chiong home on our buses and trains while also streaming our Korean dramas or playing our mobile games.
For the few precious hours we in the evenings, we get home, eat dinner, hang out with family, watch more TV, and go to sleep.
And that's it. Our working lives in a nutshell.
Well at least there's weekends and holidays right?
Yeah we might plan fun activities, like going to Sentosa, playing sports or having a nice meal or night-out with our partner and friends. We look forward to our overseas trips and count down the days till it comes.
But then BANG! The weekend or holiday is over in a flash. It's back to real life.
Over and over again, this cycle might start to burn us out. We might even feel like we've stagnated and begun to think "What's there to really look forward to anymore?"
Instead of rushing through our lives and only waiting Friday and the Holidays to come, why not create something to look forward to each day and enjoy it?
"Siao ah", you say.
Now I'm not suggesting you plan some crazy-ex Omakase dinner on Monday nights, and then a five-course italian degustation on Tuesdays.... your wallet will catch on fire at the rate you're taking out money.
Instead, it's about rethinking how we approach the little positive experiences that come and go each and every day.
For example, having a nice meal during lunch, or even having a relaxing Kopi break in middle of the afternoon. We tend to take these little activities for granted and allowed what could have been a really nice experience slip away as part of daily life.
Why not take the time to slow down and really, really enjoy it?
And that's what taking a Daily Vacation is all about.
It's about making plans and creating a Positive Experience each day, while learning not to take this time for granted. To purposely slow down and enjoy them deeply.
At the heart of this exercise, is a concept called Savouring.
You already know what word "savouring" means in a food sense. It's when you enjoy the taste of something so deeply that you don't want to rush through it.
Just like enjoying a magnum ice-cream or a nice piece of Wagyu steak, you want to take the time to enjoy every bit of it.
Slowly tasting each yummy lick or juicy bite.
Enjoying every moment of it.
The psychological concept of Savouring is same-same but different. And it extends beyond food of course.
Fred Bryant, a social psychologist, is the father of research on 'Savouring'.
According to Bryant, Savouring is about being mindfully engaged and aware of your feelings and senses during positive events.
Practicing this often can increase your happiness in the short and long run.
The Daily Vacation activity from Bryant goes like this:
Each day, plan a simple activity that you really enjoy doing.
Think of this time as a short vacation for yourself.
It can range anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes depending on the activity. During this time, make sure to put away your phone and try your best to minimise distractions.
The activities don't have to be the most glamourous activity in the world. Really, it can be anything you enjoy doing, with some possibilities being:
Enjoying a cup of tea or coffee
Listening to your favourite songs
Enjoying the view from the window
Having a nice meal
Taking a walk during your lunch break
Sitting at an outdoor cafe
Visiting a bookstore or the national museum
Watching the sunset at the end of the day
Even enjoying your train ride home
Pick an activity that allows you to relax and doesn't require intense concentration. Avoid activities like watching TV or scrolling through social media.
Now here comes the Savouring part. Don't skip this!
During the activity, try to notice and pay attention to what it is about the activity you find enjoyable.
Give each of your five senses a turn at finding enjoying experience. Take your time with each of your senses.
What do you like about what you can See?
Or even Taste?
Next, identify what are the positive emotions you are feeling, and explicitly label them in your mind.
Do you feel happy? Warmth? Excited? Optimistic?
Close your eyes if you have to, and let the feeling linger and swish around in your mind like a gentle wave. Actively build a memory of this experience, and all the stimuli and sensations associated with it.
Finally, you might notice how time slows down during this experience. You've taken some time out of your busy day to enjoy this present moment. Be aware of how you have the ability to slow down and simply enjoy a break in time.
Inevitably, some thoughts or problems you've been thinking about all day might creep into your mind during this activity. When you become aware of the thought, acknowledge it and bring your awareness back to experiencing the activity.
When you're done, thank yourself for taking the time to enjoy life today!
Here's a little example a simple daily vacation I do.
Right when I get to work in the morning, I make myself a cup of earl grey tea while listening to a good song.
I put on my earphones and pick a song (today it was 'Semi-charmed Life' by Third Eye Blind).
I start to breathe in the wonderful aroma of the tea, watching the steam rise from the orange tea as I swirl it in my cup. With each taste, I note a hint of citrus.
Fond music resounds in my ears and I can't help but bob my head to it, without a care of who's watching.
Right then and there, I feel contented and optimistic.
What a great way to start the day, I can't help but think to myself.
Take the challenge and try this out for 30 consecutive days!
I'm about to start on my 30-day daily vacation challenge. You can check out my story updates on my instagram story @kayatoastforthesoul.
Do give it a go too and let me know how it went for you! Drop in a comment if you like this exercise and keep on living happy!