WHERE ARE YOU ON THE HOLIDAY CYCLE?
Where are you on the holiday cycle? Are you counting down the days? Have you been already? Or are you having a stay at home holiday this year?
There are people who go on holidays during the same two weeks, to the same destination year-in, year-out. There are others who leave their holiday plans to the last minute. And more and more, there are those who are choosing to stay at home.
No matter what your plans, or lack of them, for the holidays, the break from routine that you get from a couple of weeks off once a year has a lot resting on it. You expect a lot from your annual leave, and the people you’re holidaying with expect a lot from it too.
In my work, I speak to people year-in and year-out who are left frustrated and disappointed by a holiday experience they’d hoped would be a life-changer.
…a time to recharge your batteries
Not just a time for re-charging your physical and mental batteries, holiday time is probably the only time of year when you spend so many hours of so many consecutive days with your family and loved ones While glossy magazines would have us believe that holidays are all sandcastles and looking stunning in swimwear, the reality for an awful to lot people is often a whole lot different.
If you’re stressing about a forthcoming holiday or feeling let-down by a holiday that didn’t deliver, the most important thing I can say to you today is that you’re not alone.
A tie of stress and tension for many, I want to help you make holiday time a fun and relaxation for everyone involved. No matter whether you’re staying home or travelling to the other side of the world. With a bit of planning, you can make sure you get maximum band for your holiday buck.
Here are my top tips.
Don’t forget you deserve a break.
Irrespective of whether you’re jetting off on the holiday of a lifetime or taking time off work to spend at home to get domestic things sorted and enjoy a different pace of life, you should take your well earned rest without guilt.
Work, family and friends are essential parts of life that are often fitted into busy schedules at top speed and leave you zooming from one social event or responsibility to another, getting home exhausted and slumping in a chair in front of the TV. Even if you’re getting nowhere during your holiday, take time to appreciate the break from the routine, to see things with fresh eyes and really play with your freedom so you get maximum fun from it.
Decide what you want from your holiday.
When planning a holiday it’s all too easy to get drawn in by the images you see in the holiday brochure, on the web page or what you see on the television. This year, throw out the rule book and make this year’s holiday all about you. Make sure you know what you want from it. Decide if you want to be busy or relaxed; to experience new things or re-engage with the familiar; if you want to meet new people or keep yourself to yourself. Everything you want it OK, but it’s important to approach your time off knowing what you want to DO, how you want to BE and what you want to HAVE. If you’re holidaying with others, this will ultimately involve some sort of compromise, but remember that you deserve what you want from the holiday as much as anyone else does.
Find a way to disconnect.
Disconnnecting with work or with your normal routine is a really important part of any winning holiday package. Whether disconnecting for you means not checking your emails, not answering calls, not worrying about social media engagement or simply not thinking of things that bog you down in day-to-day life, only you know. But disconnecting is essential if you’re going to get the max from your break. Take time to just be.
Invest in listening to music of audio books or reading; the choice is yours. But make sure you make time to gently, but mindfully disconnect from your usual routine.
A great way to make sure that both you and the people you’re going to be holidaying with (even if ti’s a stay at home holiday) are all on the same page about what each of you want is by communicating clearly. Being clear on what everyone wants and everyone expects from any sort of holiday is essential.
Approaching your holiday this way allows you to manage expectations and make sure everyone is signed up to the same ideas. It’s important to make sure that everyone gets their say in what activities take priority, but it’s also important to remember that not everyone needs to do the same things all the time.
In a situation where you find yourself or one of your loved ones getting stressed or overwhelmed, take some time out and then return to ask for more of what you want. A Top Tip here is to avoid analysing the upset or the problem and just focus on what you want more of.
Know your place.
Even if you’re holidaying with a group of friends, each one of you is likely to have a role within that group. Your role might be obvious or not. With families, it might be that Mum is in charge of certain elements, while Dad takes responsibility for others. But it’s important to make sure everyone has a role to play and everyone knows what’s expected of them. Sharing the load and asking for help is a year-long challenge for some groups and families but it’s something that’s at the core of a really successful holiday. Get the kids involved in necessities as well as decision-making. Let them amuse themselves from time to time. Finding the space for quiet time on holiday is essential for everyone.
Respect others’ wishes.
Everyone approaches holidays in different ways. It’s important to recognise that no one can be fully responsible for the happiness of anyone else, either on holiday or at any other time of the year. Let people enjoy the holiday experience in their own way. Remember, it’s neither your job to make sure people fit into your version of how they should be on holiday, nor to force yourself to fit into their idea. Compromise, communicate and chill.
Plan for stress-free travel. Preparation, planning, packing, travel, delays; holidays in general are as stressful as you let them be. Rather than rushing to get things finished at work the day before your annual leave, start the planning month ahead. Set the deadlines so that when the time comes everything more or less falls into place. Rather than rushing to the hairdresser or beautician last minute; or to the garage to get the car services the morning before you go in a panic with little time to space, plan your appointments into your diary well ahead of time so they’re stress-free and enjoyable. Plan your packing with precision. It’s worth remembering that there are very few holiday locations where you can’t either buy, beg or bother pretty much anything you might have forgotten.
By being as minimalist as you’re comfortable with, you’ll be able to focus on enjoying every part of your journey from planning to postcards.
Have fun, I’ve left this one to last but can’t stress it enough. Taking time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life is great for the heart and soul but you also need to remember to have fun. It’s only a small, three letter word, but we all sometimes forget to include it in our daily rituals. Seek out things you can do just for the sheer fun to it. Laugh lots. Do one thing every day that brings a big grin to your face. Laugh out loud and enjoy yourself. No matter what you’re doing there’s fun to be found somewhere - even if it’s not obvious, take the time to find it.
If you’re planning time away from your day-to-day and are feeling more stressed than excited right now, why not reach out? Or if you’re just back from what you’d hoped would be a great holiday and are more washed-out that wired, why not get in touch? I can help you get back to where you want to be.