Vacations are an essential time for us to refuel, relax, and recharge. With the busiest travel season here, it seems appropriate to spend a few minutes thinking about vacations. Some of my clients seem to never take them, and the others that do, often complain that they were not able to unwind. This summer, make your vacations stress free by using some of these ideas that have worked for others.
1. Make Time to Get Away and Stick to It
Karen found that the first step to enjoying vacation is to make sure you actually take them! Karen was like many of my clients. She would schedule some time off, and when it became time for her to go, she would stay and work, fearing that if she was gone, things would fall apart. Through the coaching process, Karen made a big change in her life by scheduling her vacation time at least four months in advance. Some of them were long weekends and other vacations were a little longer. Karen found by making sure she took time off, she was actually able to accomplish more at work.
2. Leave Work Behind
Christy and I were talking about her upcoming vacation to Florida. So, are you going to leave your laptop and work at home? Christy began to panic. As we talked, Christy realized that in order to fully enjoy herself, she would need to leave her work behind. Christy began to realize how much she needed to shut out these distractions for a short time. In her case, she didn’t feel like she could shut out his business world for a week, but she did decide that she would only check her messages every two days and she would then only spend two hours focusing on work.
3. Divide Responsibilities
Judy and her female co-workers were escaping for a long weekend. She was already feeling stressed from all of the planning and organization. One strategy we talked about was to write down everything that needs to be done to get ready for the trip and who can be responsible for each part. Each of them planned a different part of the trip. One was in charge of food, the other entertainment, another lodging. This new method left Judy feeling energized instead of drained during her vacation.
4. Add a Buffer Day
Getting ready to go on vacation always seems to create extra work both at home and at the office. In the past, Michelle had always rushed around to finish last-minute projects at work, which sometimes cut into her first day of vacation. This time, Michelle wrote down everything she needed to accomplish about two weeks before her vacation. She made a plan of how to finish everything and added an extra day for herself. That extra day, or “buffer day,” provided her with enough time to finish everything on her list and to enjoy every day of her vacation.
5. Design a Perfect Homecoming
Tara usually found herself dreading her return to home and work after vacation. This transition is difficult for most people, but it’s even harder when things are left in disarray. This time, we worked on designing a perfect homecoming. Tara visualized how she wanted things to be when she returned. She made sure her home was clean, and her office organized. Now, Tara felt a huge burden lifted as she returned from vacation.
6. Plan Your Ideal Day
Megan complained about past vacations filled with sightseeing and meaningless activities. This time, as Megan prepared to go to Mexico, we discussed what would be a perfect day for her. This is obviously different for everyone, whether they like adventure, relaxation, tours, or exploring. Whatever it is, make time for your ideal day! Megan found that her last vacation was more enjoyable because her trip wasn’t filled with “have-tos” but instead filled with “I really want-tos!”
These are just a few of the many strategies that have helped people enjoy their vacations and their lives to their fullest. All of these women quickly discovered how important it was to say yes to themselves, in order to plan a happy and stress free vacation.
Related Story: “Why I Love / Hate Vacations”