I just booked a vacation, the kind of vacation I have never booked before… an all inclusive week long spa break. I have almost always gone away in search of something; adventure, creativity, exploration (of self and the world), romance, culture, learning… but now I know all this is available on my own doorstep.
This got me thinking and in a recent survey I did in my own head, it seems that many people reach a certain point, let’s call it a breaking point, and decide they need a vacay. The ten main reasons for going on vacation, according to the aforementioned survey, were as follows;
1) Need to get away from work/life stress
2) To relax
3) To get quality time with loved ones
4) Habit – “we always get away at this time of year”
5) A break from the norm
6) A new experience/different culture
7) To have some fun – nightlife, a sporting event, or just an adventure
8) To get some sun (so that you can feel happy)
9) It’s on my bucket list – “I’ve always wanted to go there”
10) Facebook is showing that everyone else is doing it and I need some new pics to get everyone jealous
The funny thing about vacations is that sometimes booking them seems to add stress. For example, people often book their two week break, and then spend months telling others (before and after) that they can’t afford anything else because they have just paid for/been on their vacation (which of course must include a whole new wardrobe and toiletry stock up).
There are also those that worry about their work, either before they go, desperately trying to tie up ALL lose ends (they can’t possibly delegate), or while away, or when they come back to hundreds of emails. This kind of thinking is what makes some believe they can’t take a break at all.
So how can you get the same results that a vacation gives you, without actually going on vacation?
Here are my top ten tips for getting away from it all, without actually getting away:
1) Make the most of your free time – don’t just come home on a Friday night and eat dinner in front of the TV. Plan a date night; a quick drink after work or a dinner date does not cut into your chill out time, it’s part of it!
2) Schedule in a couple of hours at the weekend or an evening in the week to do something for you. Get creative, read a book quietly in a cafe, or simply sit in a warm bath. Make sure other people are aware this is happening and it’s for you… not to get away from them, but to reconnect with yourself. Equally, schedule in quality time with loved ones – food shopping with your partner does not count!
3) Think good thoughts and you really don’t notice the rain… and share that with others, smile at strangers.
4) Have a themed night in. Mexico, Italy, France, Asia..get everyone to bring a dish using unusual fruit and veg, get dressed up, find some tunes, decorate the dining room, rent a relevant movie… bring the culture to you.
5) Once a month turn a weekend into an adventure – jump on a random bus, stick your finger on a map, make a list of places you want to go and can get to, put the ideas in a hat and pick one, or simply take a walk and get off the beaten track. The key here is to be excited about what you might discover.
6) Have a night out with the girls – slap on some false eyelashes and bust out the summer time tunes as you get glammed up.
7) Focus on what you have got – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, grateful people are so much happier than those always chasing something else. Write a gratitude dairy every couple of days and reflect when needed.
8) Relax – meditate, swim, do a yoga/mindfulness class, sleep in late… whatever works for you, do it… and do it often.
9) Really look at things around you in wonder – see things differently and you will find many wonders already in your world.
10) Be silly – letting your hair down isn’t just for children or when alcohol is involved. Go dance in the kitchen and sing in the street!
BONUS TIP – Love what you do. And if you don’t love what you do, get a coach. OK, so I’m biased, but some of the most successful people I know have had help to unpack their suitcase full of overwhelm and feel free without having to take flight.