Travel & Destinations

How to Make Every Day Feel Like a Vacation

Have you ever wished you could hold onto that vacation bliss long after returning home? Me too.

After a recent trip with a friend to Cancún, Mexico, I explored stunning sights like the mesmerizing Cenote Saamal: Cenote Saamal. Cenotes are cavernous, water-filled sinkholes hollowed out of the rock by underground rivers.

With its wild limestone walls, beautiful blue-green pool, and cascading water, Cenote Saamal made me feel grounded, vibrant, and alive. I found myself craving that same sense of vibrancy and vitality in my everyday life.

But is it possible to maintain that vacation glow even amidst daily routines? Absolutely!

Entrance to Cenote Saamal Near Valladolid, Mexico
Entrance Cenote Saamal near Valladolid, Mexico. | Photo by Elena Miliaresis

Here are five steps I’ve discovered to infuse everyday life with the bliss of vacation:

1. Take Your Time

At Cenote Saamal, our tour guide encouraged us to savor the moment and take our time, an idea that felt divine and novel. This permission to slow down allowed me to settle into my surroundings and fully appreciate the present. Changing my relationship to time enhanced my trip and shifted my outlook.

2. Breathe Deeply and Focus on the Power of Breathwork

With the freedom of “taking my time,” I found myself inhaling the beauty of the scenery with each deep breath. This synchronized breathing brought a sense of relaxation, enhancing my well-being and reducing stress.

Focusing solely on your breath can significantly improve your well-being, uplift your mood, and lower stress. A recent Stanford study on focused breathing showed that five minutes of daily breathwork can reap significant wellness benefits. 

Now, I intentionally incorporate deliberate breathing into my routine. Whether waiting for food to heat in the microwave or during other moments, I slow my breath and imagine the serene beauty of the cenote. These brief practices offer mini breaks of renewal and relaxation, seamlessly fitting into my day.

Cenote Saamal Water Falling Near Valladolid, Mexico
Cenote Saamal near Valladolid, Mexico. | Photo by Ashley Crary

3. Activate Your Senses

The ethereal beauty of Cenote Saamal awakened my senses. I savored each detail—the shimmering ribbons of sunlight on the iridescent blue-green waters, the melodic symphony of falling water, and the energy of this enchanted realm.

In my everyday life, my senses lay dormant. For instance, I scarcely notice the color of my toothpaste when brushing my teeth. Do you pay attention to your toothpaste’s hue? 

Previously, I would have described mine as white. Yet, it’s a pastel powder blue, evoking memories of birthday celebrations and confetti.

Now, I engage my senses by asking, “What kind of blue is that? This simple practice adds dimension and technicolor to the simple things.

Morning Walk Blossoms
Morning Walk Blossoms | Photo by Elena Miliaresis

4. Anticipate New Delights

I must confess, just the idea of visiting a cenote filled me with giddy anticipation I pictured myself jumping into a magical natural swimming pool in a tropical paradise. This anticipation brightened my days long before getting on a plane.

An Applied Research in Quality-of-Life study found that imagining an upcoming positive event improves mood. There’s even a name for it: “vacation anticipation.” Experts say planning for good times is like planting a seed of excitement in your brain. This promise of future delight boosts happiness. I certainly experienced this anticipation for Mexico…

Now, I approach each day like an upcoming vacation. As I walk my dog in the morning, I anticipate delightful surprises waiting outside, like the sunrise painted across the sky, sunlight streaming through the trees, and the dew sparkling on the grass. My neighborhood is now a must-see destination to explore.

5. Keep Your Trip Alive

I was determined not to let my transformative experience fade away. So, I integrated my “re-entry” into my vacation by planning post-trip activities when I returned home. I shared the flavors of Mexico with my family through treats, exchanged stories and pictures with friends, and documented my favorite moments in my journal.

Research shows that savoring memories and sharing the experiences with others prolongs the positive benefits of vacation. Prolonging travel bliss involves nurturing the energy that excites you.

Consider the core feeling you want to enjoy. Is it peaceful relaxation or exhilarating fun? I wanted to sustain the grounded, vibrant aliveness I felt at Cenote Saamal. Following these five steps, I’ve basked in the afterglow for months. Trust me, this approach allows you to cultivate bliss and infuse every day with the spirit of a vacation.


Elena Miliaresis

Elena Miliaresis is a writer, filmmaker, and journalist, now focusing on transformational travel and wellness. She is a multimedia storyteller who brings her passion for life and Greek-Italian DNA to all her projects. Throughout her career, Miliaresis has written, directed, and produced documentaries, lifestyle, news, digital marketing, and entertainment shows for ABC News, public television, E! Entertainment, the Style Network, the History Channel, and more.

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