Every summer we rent a house on Block Island for a week.  It’s only about two hours from our home, but it’s a world away.  There, it’s all about living stress-free and enjoying the simple pleasures of life.  Below are a few of my favorite mind-calming, anxiety-erasing vacation rituals.

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Outdoor Showers – I’m not an exhibitionist, but there is something wonderful about taking a shower outside in the warm sunshine and sweet smelling air.

An Early Morning “Run” – Each morning, I go out alone for an hour under the pretense of exercise. While I do actually run a bit, I really am more interested in walking along the quiet gravel road, taking in the views and enjoying the peaceful early morning.  I can’t think of a better way to start the day than listening to birdsong, observing changes in the landscape from year to year, and admiring the wildflowers in a meadow.

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Fashion and Beauty – The first summer that we spent a week on The Block, I packed cute outfits for every mood.  Now my wardrobe consists of three bathing suits, two pairs of shorts, and three t-shirts.  I trade my makeup for sun block and my blow-dryer for a baseball cap.

Play Time – “A” and I spend lots of time looking for hermit crabs and other sea life in the tidal pools (137 hermit crabs, 4 spider crabs, and 1 sea star collected and later returned to their aquatic homes), playing Kadima, and building drip castles.  Evenings are spent around board games (Monopoly, Boggle, Scrabble) which somehow I lose every time.

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Social Life Without Commitments – Our friends rent a house on the island during the same week.  They have three children in the same age group as “A” which is great for him.  Sometimes we meet on the beach during the day, sometimes we don’t – no pressure.  Once or twice we’ll have a potluck dinner consisting of whatever we can pull together, or we’ll roast marshmallows over a beach bonfire.

Ice Cream – Every evening, thank you very much!

Calm – As soon as the ferry pulls away from the dock, all the worries and stress of everyday life are left behind on the dock.  There’s more time for hugs, no rush to get things done, no worries.

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Sleep – There’s nothing better than being lulled to sleep by the sound of crickets and crashing ocean waves.

Connecting – Having time to focus on my family is precious…and the only thing that really matters.

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