You wake up in a hot box (otherwise known as a van) on a neighborhood street. You crawl out of bed, sweating, and awkwardly kneel to put on pants so you can drive off before folks start to get weirded out by you making breakfast in front of their house.
You drive around for 20 minutes trying to find a private shaded spot where you can start your day. Finally you settle on brushing your teeth and eating breakfast at Starbucks so you can get to work (which involves sitting on your computer for a greater part of the day).
Vanlife (and travel in general), requires a LOT of thinking. Strategizing. Planning. Especially if you are working for yourself on the road. And if you spend a lot of time in your head already — worrying, planning, setting goals — this lifestyle can completely exhaust you.
I've totally experienced burn out the past few months because of this.
So I started making a few daily grounding practices — little things I can do whether I am in a Walmart parking lot or national forest that take me out of my head and back into my body.
Here are a few essentials to mine (for now; it changes in different environments):
- Sweeping out the van every morning and keeping the space organized and clean
- Creating a soothing environment through a homemade room spray, lavender candle, and burning sage
- Being intentional with taking supplements every day
- Drinking looots of water. Every time I refill my water bottle I challenge myself to drink it all within one hour.
- Appreciating my skin and body and turning off all mental stimulation, like music or podcasts, when I am putting on lotion, oil, etc. I also moisturize my whole body before getting into bed.
- Sweating outside every day, even if it's just five minutes of sprints up a nearby hill
What takes you from being in your head to your body? Think about all the senses
- Touch — stretching; rubbing oil or lotion on your skin; cuddling or hugging someone or an animal; putting your feet on the ground; touching nature
- Taste — lemon water in the morning is a common one; eating whole, alive foods; mindfully drinking tea or coffee
- Smell — essential oils; perfume; literally stopping to smell the roses; lighting a candle
- Sound — soothing instrumental music; listening to the sounds of your environment; being silent and embracing the quiet
- Sight — watching the sun rise or set; taking in the local foliage; looking at someone you love; smiling in the mirror; making art
The most important part of this practice is intention. They're kind of pointless if you're not present.
Silence is an entryway for presence. I used to listen to podcasts while doing my skincare routine, but it's much more soothing when I just *pause* the episode for five minutes.
Start small and build. Nothing is final — your practices can adapt with you between seasons, environments, and lifestyles.