Traveling is how I relieve stress. Lately, I have had to scale back on my travels due to work commitments and while I try to build in stress reducing Pilates classes, massages, or explorations of notable sites in Johannesburg, these activities are never as relaxing as my weekends away. Away from my daily life, I give myself permission to relax. At home I can’t quite give myself license to do nothing. Even when all the items on my to do list have been checked off, unimportant, unanswered emails and undone, non-essential errands hang over my head. Even though these items can wait, I feel guilty not attending to them. In order to unwind, I have to recharge with a night away.
I have written many posts on this blog about the benefits of travel, but this past week I was reminded how necessary these respites are to my mental wellbeing. It was a tough week and I needed to get away. So I planned an escape to De Hoek Country Hotel located an hour outside of Johannesburg in the Magliesburg Mountains. My sole planned activity was consuming the gourmet five course dinner that De Hoek is known for. Otherwise all I wanted to do was curl up with a book by the fire. This is exactly what I did upon arrival. After devouring my book and enjoying a decadent and delicious meal, I crawled into bed; my room heated by a roaring fire. By the time I awoke, the stress of the previous week had dissipated. I enjoyed my coffee, scrambled eggs, and view of the garden before driving home.
It was a reminder that I don’t need a week long holiday or an expensive safari in the bush to recharge. We need to give ourselves permission to not feel guilty about indulging in doing nothing productive. For me, this means getting out of town. If you are feeling overwhelmed consider a one night away to a nearby motel with a large swimming pool for the kids or a bed a breakfast with a renowned spa. Perhaps you will find a one night respite, as refreshing as I do.