Go to your local beach.
The beach is a time machine. While everyone is lost on Instagram or Snap Chatting their lives away, the beach is exactly as you remembered it. There’s a kiosk. A shower to rinse the sand off your rash vest. Sand and the ocean. It’s perfect. Amid the constant turbulence of the modern world, you will instantly de-stress. You will forget the suffocating walls of your cubicle. The dishes that are piled up in the sink will disappear (not literally).
I’ve always envied surfers/beach rats. Not just their perfect, tanned bodies and beach hair. But I want that laid back attitude. That unflappable nature when you roll with whatever the world throws at you. Meanwhile, I’m stressing out because someone is listening to Wham! at full blast on their smartphone and ruining my commute. It’s not 1984! Use your damn headphones!
Watch Ian Cole discuss the science behind needing to take holidays. (Post continues after video).
There’s honestly nothing better than sitting in the ocean. You can surf, swim or just fight the waves in your own way. I know this will sound corny, but there’s a lot to be said for communing with nature. Letting go of everything and forging your own path in the world, even if it’s only a few hours. I call it beach therapy. I’m not going to transform myself into Sigrid Thornton and have a sea change (although she is pretty great), but a trip to the beach did more for me than I could possibly imagine.
I got back from my day at Long Reef and my neighbour mentioned that something was different about me. “You look…happier, Jeff. You’ve got a spring in your step”, he said. I was not only walking on air, but the salt that covered my body magically renewed my spirit. I didn’t achieve anything the other day at the Long Reef. My family was the same as when I left the house that morning. My job is just as good/bad as it was yesterday.
Nothing has changed. Except for the fact that I spent a day on the sand and in the waves. It made a profound difference to my mental health, even though I wasn’t aware of the effect that the experience had on me. If other people can see that you’ve changed, then you need to take stock.