Tag Archives: vacation

Time Out! Change scenes. Shake it up!!



I am noticing my breathing again.  Sounds in our beachfront room appear seemingly out of nowhere:  waves, birds, wind, voices floating in and out.

I am on vacation, and I feel like I’m checking back in with the world.  In my everyday life, habits and schedules seem to rule, and time just clicks by.  November, December, January . . . February already!

I have my tools for taking time out on a daily basis, but it is so hard to keep nagging thoughts from interfering!  At home, I sit and take a deep breath, and the washing machine stops suddenly, reminding me to switch the laundry.  I begin to read a magazine, and my phone lets me know another e-mail just arrived.  And then I remember I really should check my voicemail messages.

I’m not saying that relaxation at home is impossible.  It is necessary, because I spend a lot of time there.  Still it amazes me how much easier and more deeply I relax on vacation.  The change of scenery is key:  fewer work reminders and less compulsion to stay busy.

It makes sense that when I have trouble unwinding at home, I find it much easier to do so when I leave the house (or work).  A change of surroundings really helps!  I can consciously focus on the new things around me.  A walk outside is the best, because I really enjoy focusing on the natural environment.

Unfortunately, this is not the best time of year for me to enjoy walking outside – it’s cold in Wisconsin!  That’s OK though.  A trip to the grocery store or the mall works too.

You can use a change of scenery to help break momentum when eating starts to spin out of control.  If this is a frequent challenge, try just stopping and leaving your space.  I realize this isn’t always possible, but if it is, it can be a powerful tool.  Leaving creates a valuable delay, and new surroundings break the momentum.

Once a binging habit starts to play out, eating becomes mindless.  What is really needed is a jolt back to present time, a break in the pattern of the habit.  This is precisely why a change of scenery helps.  Habits play out effortlessly in familiar situations.

Shake it up – get out – and see what happens.  It may not work every time, but at least it will put you back in the driver’s seat of your decisions. This is one of the many tools that can help with in-the -moment eating challenges.

In the Moment – Mindful Eating, the phone app I created to help my clients and others bring more mindfulness to eating, is now upgraded (version 1.1.5) and works on all iPhones that are 4s and newer.  An Android version is available as well.

I Am An Addict

Hi, I’m Kim and I am an addict.

My substance of choice?  The constant chatter of my own thoughts.

This may not seem like much of a problem.  After all, thinking is intellectual, right?  Thinking is creative, right?

True, and true again, but like many addictions, a moderate amount can be good, or at least OK (for example, food or alcohol), but too much is a problem.  While there is a positive side to my active mind – I get good ideas from time to time – I am beginning to realize how unproductive chatter seems to continue almost nonstop.  While it does not really get in the way of my daily life and I function at a high level, there is a price to pay in terms of optimum contentment and the effects of stress on the body.

I only recently began to see this as a problem.  Yes, there have always been annoying times when thoughts have kept me up at night and I can’t seem to shut them off, or a song would stick in my head.  A little bit of neck and shoulder tension does tend to creep up on me too, but that’s normal stress, right?

Yes, all of this is what we label “normal” for human beings, but I have become less and less tolerant of mere “normal” standards for my happiness and contentment lately, ironically as I find more and more of both.  A recent trip gave me more of a slap than a gentle nudge in the right direction . . . Continue reading

“Take Me Away” Roasted Shrimp with Tomatoes and Garlic

You don’t need a vacation . . . when there’s nothing to escape from.  Jason Mraz

I was craving a Spanish dish, something to remind me of eating outdoors near Barcelona.  This dish took me back to the rugged beauty and fresh seafood of the Costa Brava.  If I squint a little and eat out on our deck, I can almost see the cyprus trees and smell the sea . . . . ahhh.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place 1-1/2 pound of large peeled, deveined shrimp into a casserole dish.

In a medium bowl, combine 1 can reduced sodium diced tomatoes, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons dry white wine, 1-1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, a bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of saffron.  Pour over shrimp.  Roast without cover for 30-40 minutes, or until shrimp are just cooked and liquid is simmering.  Serve over brown rice.  (Make enough rice to have leftovers for the stuffed pepper recipe to follow.)

View from Begur, Spain – a medieval town


One of the tiny beaches along the Costa Brava