Can you “turn it off” when traveling on vacation?
Vacation is stressful
Everyone needs to renew, relax, recharge and reenergize. It’s almost impossible to find time in this day and age to “chill”. Our schedules are so hectic between work, kids, family..…some days maneuvering through the daily grind is overwhelming. We live in a fast-paced, ever-changing world. Work consists of demanding bosses, looming deadlines, and fierce job competition. There’s the kids, spouse, school, house, and most of all, Bills! It’s not feasible to completely shut down. Here are some tips I find that are extremely helpful to detach myself, thus, allowing my luxury vacation to truly be that, a vacation.
So what’s the plan before Vacation?
The most important thing before you go on vacation is to pre-plan. That means making an itemized list of what needs to be done. Use a stick-um, notepad, even a roll of toilet paper, it doesn’t matter, as long as you do it. It’s imperative to have a checklist of each and every task pertaining to home or work that must be done before departure. I start my list a month prior, over a glass (okay, bottle) of Champagne. Thinking about my future vacation with a glass of bubbly makes me want to get the checklist completed. Point is, organization before departure is key. That means you need to work even harder before you can take off to the French Riviera, Aspen or Disney World. If you depart with too many things left unfinished, there is no way you can truly enjoy yourself. It all starts before takeoff. If you accomplish your check list, a calming peace of mind will allow you to relax when it comes time for your trip.
Finally on vacation? Now get to work!
Please do not stop reading! Every day should start with work. Ok, just hear me out. Our world is so crazy and fast paced, as an American, I wish we could simply unplug and take a month off as the Europeans do. I hope you can turn it off, but I cannot. So instead, I take my coffee, find a scenic, quiet spot, and spend 30-45 minutes on emails, phone calls, and whatever else I have to get done. Whether personal or professional, items pile up on my desk at home. In summary: Take 30 minutes for yourself every vacation day. (yes, away from the kids and/or spouse!). I truly believe this helps because: 1) your pile of work is less upon return to civilization and 2) you’ve cleared your head of any looming thoughts that might derail your plans for relaxation. Your “catch up” time is over and done, and now you can enjoy the rest of that day for sightseeing, bar crawl, jet ski lesson, you name it! As of 10:00am, you’ll be ready to dedicate yourself, body and spirit, to family, friends or you.
Give Yourself a Day to Recuperate
Yep, give up one day of vacation. I know, it sounds crazy. Of course you want to maximize your vacation, you also want to feel renewed for your first morning back to work. After all, isn’t that the point of vacation? I never understand how people can arrive home late at night after a day of traveling, get up early the next morning and head to work. Back at my office, I would call my employees upon their return and most would say “My trip was great, but I got home at midnight after my delayed flight and I’m exhausted”. Your boss or co-worker doesn’t want to hear how tired you are after 7 nights in the Caribbean. Take a day to unwind at home, get your laundry done, open your mail, play with the dog, and acclimate yourself back into the real world. Not only will your boss like to see you reenergized on your first day back, but you also will feel rested, relaxed, refreshed and ready to rule.
Even writing this I feel like a cliché. I’ve had a lot of changes in my life over the past year or so, and I’ve found that a few deep breaths can really help. Everyone can find one to five minutes to stop all that noise and chatter going on inside or outside their head. Close your eyes, no matter where you are. Even better, go into a dark room and just breathe for 90 seconds. Put the chaos around you in perspective. Get rid of those silly thoughts or anger at the guy who cut you off or who stole your idea at work. A few deep breaths can calm the moment. You’d be surprised what some oxygen circulating in your system can do to help make your mind calm down. Believe me, a few deep breaths can make all the difference in the world.
All you have is NOW
I am anything but a “self-help” guru and this article hasn’t told you anything you didn’t already know. But it’s the truth so I am going to regurgitate these important words. NOW. It’s all that matters. This last year was rough for me, and next year may be also. But right now, I’m sitting on this train from the French Riviera back to Paris and writing this article, I am happy. NOW. And that’s all we can really ask for, right?