And so another holiday season is upon us, if we are fortunate enough to be able to take time out!
Then again, if you have the finances to take a holiday here or abroad, it’s just as important you do so, and in the right mind! If you haven’t the finances, you can still ‘take a break’… from your daily routine, and that can be just as meaningful.
Whether you stay at home, have a holiday abroad or within your own country, thought really does need to be given to some basic elements in order to avoid the usual stresses and aggravations a holiday often brings – because we fail to prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally.Are you really going to leave the smartphone off? Click To Tweet
Yet we prepare for the most part to pack, to have the in-date passport, any currency, stop the papers being delivered… We work our tails off to make sure ‘everything’ is done, the desk is cleared before we leave our place of work – on the premise that we can then relax while we are away.
Who do we kid?
In reality we do work hard to cover off as much as possible, and it’s probably well intentioned, but c’mon… are you really going to leave the smartphone off’?
Are you really going to be able to ‘relax’ – having just put in four weeks work in one day – on the premise that you will then be able to relax? It will take you the first four days of ‘leave’ to get to anywhere near ‘normality’, let alone holiday relaxation!
Then there’s the relationship thing!
Twice during the year, families or couples might typically be together for more than a couple of days – Christmas and a summer holiday. So are we emotionally prepared for having to engage with each another?
“Christ, I married you, I didn’t think I’d still have to talk to you outside of – do you want a cup of tea or coffee?“
Okay, let’s say you have managed to change your stressful routine and planned a holiday. How can you make the most if it, and get the most out of it?
Professionally, I suggest counselling before you start – but then I would! But we really do often need to give some time to skilfully preparing for this change in routine if we are to come anywhere close to having a break and recharging our batteries and those of our relationships.
All of this leads nicely to the art of ‘mindfulness’, with a healthy dose of positivity.
In preparation for your break in routine, the ‘holiday’:
- Stop trying to clear the world’s problems that are just the same whether you go away from the workplace or not – immediately prior to going. I’d bet you could be away FOR 6 MONTHS, delete every email when you returned and very little harm would be caused!
- Instead of the above, ramping up all your efforts to try and subdue your ‘guilt’, slow everything down gradually at least a week prior to your ‘leave’. Manage expectations by gradually slowing (or ceasing) your routine responses to the nonsense emails you have been cc’d into and which are an arse covering exercise for others.
- Start thinking and imagining the holiday at least a week before. ‘They’ say, quite rightly, that you should always have your next holiday booked before the current one ends! Maybe a little optimistic with that but the principle is correct to provide you with something of value FOR YOU to look forward to!
- At least a week before the holiday, start talking, yes, actually talking to your significant other about how great this holiday/break will be.
Hurray, you’ve adopted some or all the advice; you haven’t been fired and all is well. You are on vacation! Now comes the best bit! Continue to be mindful!
If you’re travelling!
This aspect needs as much mental preparation as the aforementioned! If you are at the airport, it’s because you’ve chosen to fly! There will be lots of people who who will be grumpy, stressed, and very intolerant trying to remain in control and be first getting wherever they think they can get to, sheep mentality abounds!
But the reality is that this is another paradigm shift in your routine and way of life. You ARE going to have to trust in others! The check-in, the baggage handlers, the passport control, the boarding staff, the flight attendants and god knows, even the pilot! Get over it!
When you are finally ‘in holiday situ’, at home or abroad, this is the most perfect time to gain more out of your holiday than ever before. Because you really can use your five senses to actually hear and listen to sounds in the environment – and register those sounds, (not judge!). You can smell the air and actually acknowledge the smells, even in your own home! You can notice that which you can actually see, really look! You can actually touch and feel the sand between your toes or even the carpet under your feet… actually registering the texture, etc. What can you taste? Perhaps you just had a continental breakfast, or simply your favourite meal at home.
Being mindful is a year, and life, long practice that really will alter everything for you in a positive way.