Vacation

OF THE IMAGINATION

Sometimes we need to take some time out from our day-to-day lives. Sometimes we need to take a well-earned break when doing so just isn't logistically possible. This is where a vacation of the imagination comes in! 

A vacation of the imagination can help us to quiet the mind and relax the body. It can enable us to boost our mood and carve out a space of sanctuary within an otherwise busy and hectic environment. It can lower stress levels by redirecting our attention towards a more calm and soothing space. This exercise is all about taking a moment of pause; a step out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life, in order to explore a place of inner calm of your own creation. 

You will need to find a quiet space in order to do this exercise. It doesn't need to be a big space; somewhere you can sit or lie down comfortably will do. Have a pillow and a blanket with you to make it extra comfy. Sit or lie down in a way that enables you to relax. 

Close your eyes and turn your attention to your breathing. Don't alter your inhale and exhale; just notice. If it feels comfortable to do so, try slowing your breathing down, inhaling from the diaphragm (from the belly rather than the chest) and exhaling in long, slow breaths. 

Imagine your ideal, soothing calm space. Maybe it is a forest, in which case, imagine the trees and the ways in which the light falls between them. Or maybe it is a beach, in which case, imagine the sun warming your body and the sound of the waves lapping gently. Use all of the senses to create your imaginary space. What does it smell like? What does it sound like? What does it look like? What textures and sensations can you imagine feeling on your skin? What tastes might you have in this space (the salt from sea air, for instance)? Build the image in your mind until it is vivid and clear. 

Explore your vacation space using your senses as you feel your body begin to relax. Remember that you can access this vacation space at any time; whenever you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. 

You may find it useful to have sounds to help you visualize your environment. Here are some that might help: 

Wave sounds for beach vacation spaces

Forest sounds for forest vacation spaces

Birdsong sounds for meadow vacation spaces

When you have finished exploring your vacation of the imagination, and you have returned to feeling calm and peaceful, write a poem or paragraph describing your vacation space. Explore it in all of its rich sensory detail. Describe what makes it unique to you; remember, it doesn't have to be realistic. It's your vacation space. 

If you'd like to share your vacation space on our website, email the results of this writing exercise to e.j.perry@kent.ac.uk