The Dreaded S-word: How to use travel to jump out of a slump
January is passed. The excitement of holidays, gifts, and new year goals is wearing off. The northern hemisphere days are still short, the evenings lingering with darkness.
Are you eating healthy and hitting the gym? How about getting outside and breathing deep? Are you taking action on your goals and dreams?
Or are you overwhelmed by the dreaded S-word?
Have you dropped into a slump?
The lethargy takes over. Negative self-talk dominates your thoughts. Creativity wanes. Goals start slipping by the wayside.
How do you climb out of a slump?
Traveling out of a slump is easier than you think.
The first step out of a slump is awareness. Rather than treading water in the blues, be aware of your energy, mood, and self-talk. Simply realize and acknowledge you are in a slump.
It’s ok. It’s temporary.
The second step is to take action. Even a tiny action is the first hop out of a slump.
Travel is one of the easiest and most fun ways out of a slump.
Here are 5 super easy ways to climb out of a slump.
1. Plan a bucket-list trip this year
You likely have several bucket-list trips. Don’t wait for just the right time to take your trip. All you have is now.
The energy you will gain from planning, anticipating, going on your trip, and sharing the memories will propel you out of the slump.
Sit down and start strategizing how you can make this trip happen this year.
Do you want to go alone or who do you want to go with you? What is the ideal season to go? How much time do you need for this trip? Can you use miles or points? What hacks can you employ to make this trip a go? What will make this trip unique to YOU?
There are so many ways to make a dream trip a reality. Start reading blogs and guidebooks on your destination. Make list of priorities for your trip. What are must-dos for you? What extras can be dropped from the list? How do you want to feel on this trip?
By taking action to start planning your trip, you now have energy and focus that will carry over into every area of your life.
2. Reset with a spontaneous weekend away
Sometimes you are overburdened with work. Or perhaps you’ve just lost creative momentum. Maybe you are tired. Or simply just bored by the routine of daily life. Sound familiar?
Time to take a quick spontaneous weekend. It’s just the reset you need to vault out of the slump.
Think of a place 1-3 hours from your residence. It can either be a place you really love or a place you’ve never been to before.
Next pop on a hotel app and see if there are any last minute deals. It can be basic or fancy, whatever suits you.
There only two rules: 1. You are not allowed to take any work/email/social media. You are allowed one book and a journal. 2. You must get outside or do an activity that stimulates your mind and body to rev up your creative flow.
Now just go. You will come home revived.
3. Enjoy a weeklong virtual vacation
Sometimes it’s not a feasible time in your life to travel but the modern-day internet puts the world at your fingertips.
A colleague of mine was invited on a private small ship cruise in the Mediterranean. This allowed access to ports not visited by larger traditional cruise boats. So, I asked him to send me the itinerary.
Each day while I ate lunch, I googled photos and information about the port of call for the day.
It turned into a fantastic virtual vacation. I looked forward to lunch everyday, virtually visiting towns I had never even heard of before. By the end of the week, I felt invigorated as if I had been on vacation myself.
Finding cruise or tour itineraries that interest you is an easy hack to create a virtual vacation. Or you can look at a map and plan out a trip you would love to go on.
Then pick a week on the calendar and write down the destination for each day. Dedicate an hour each day that you will virtually visit the destination.
You will be surprised how much fun you will have for free!
4. Go for a drive
This is where the stereotypical American comes out in me. I love to hit the open road and see where it leads me.
Driving without an agenda or schedule is good for the mind. It allows our thoughts to process and our spirit to become free. You will be surprised how many ideas and epiphanies can happen while driving.
If you live in an urban area with lots of traffic, this may be tougher. Alternatives can be to get on the train or ferry and just ride around for a while without an agenda.
I also find that exploring little neighborhoods or adjacent foothills can be just as cathartic and can also be done on foot or bicycle.
Simply going without a plan or destination is a ladder out of the slump.
5. Take yourself on a local date
It is so easy to get stuck in a rut that leads to a slump.
Usually there are a few places that you have never experienced in your hometown. It might be a restaurant or coffeeshop you haven’t tried, a show or art studio that recently opened, or a trail/viewpoint/historical site that you haven’t visited.
A local date serves several purposes. It not only supports local, but it breaks up your routine and stretches you into a new experience without traveling far. All of this beats the slump and stimulates new ideas and energy.
Recently, my friend and I had a fun rainy Friday afternoon visiting a local winery and cheese shop that we had not been to before. We got to meet the winemaker and we learned about the local cows and cheese making process.
It was a similar experience to the afternoon I spent visiting the town of Gruyere, Switzerland. But it cost me less than 4 hours and $25.
Kick the dreaded S-word.
Travel is your ticket to climbing out of the slump. Go virtual, local, road-tripping, or hop on a plane. Recognize your slump and take action. Travel leads to more adventures, new ideas, and less slump.