Back and Better.

After almost 4 blissful weeks recharging (and traveling!!), I'm back, refreshed and raring to go. 

Unplugging from my phone, reconnecting with my hubby and seeing new sights (London! Paris! Italy!) was exactly what the doctor ordered. 

I learned a few things on sabbatical that can be applied whether you travel far or near - even if it's just to your backyard.  

1.  Mindfulness

I know, I know.  You've heard how good it is for you, but I'll be damned, "they" were right.  While traveling, I was constantly accosted by new sights, sounds and smells.  That kept me in the moment and not thinking about the chores I had to finish or the emails I needed to return.  

So how to recreate that in our daily lives?  By changing it up a bit.  

Take a different route to work, so you have to pay attention to the directions and the act of driving.  Leave the car at home and use a different mode of transportation to run errands.  Bus, BART and bicycles can all give you an adrenaline rush with their novelty - and adrenaline keeps you focused on now.  Or maybe, instead of the 6 o'clock news, you play a game of cards with your kids or partner.  It doesn't matter what you do, as long as it's different from routine.  You can trick yourself into mindfulness, no meditation required. 

2.  Unplugging

Yeah. So just do it already.  For one day, use that "Do Not Disturb" feature on your iPhone.  The phone is blissfully silent for as long as you have DND active (go to Settings to enable).  If you're worried about family not being able to reach you, add them to your favorites list and their calls will still go through.  

For bonus points, turn off your Facebook and text message notifications in settings, under Notifications. 

3.  Reconnecting

If you unplug and stay in the present moment with someone you love, I bet $10000000 you'll feel more connected to them.  Head to that back yard and spend some quality time with them.