“Launch Right Into Leave” is a phrase a client shared with me recently. She noticed she was unable to enjoy her leave until about a week in. Many people find this, so I reminded her that she is not alone. We go on holidays/leave/vacation and it takes us days and days to unwind and relax. Before we know it, the end of the vacation is looming, and we have only just unwound.
On reflection my client decided that the next time she had time off scheduled, she would “Launch Right Into Leave”. “Why do I wait?” she asked herself. “Why not enjoy all my vacation days? Why only enjoy the last ones?” This is something we investigated and have been thinking about ever since. Below are some of the situations that may prevent you from relaxing from the get-go:
- Busy busy mind that can’t shut off
- Logistical hassles (ie: lost luggage, kids club failure, transport delays)
- Worrying about issues/people back in the workplace
- Fear of the unknown
- Over eating/drinking and then feeling flat/guilty/sick
- Overwhelm at all the things to do on vacation
- Unmet expectations
- Worry about all the emails/work to manage when you get home
- Simply not noticing that you are not yet relaxed
- Add your own barriers to relaxing earlier here…
Being aware of not unwinding earlier is a strong start to do it differently the next time you have a vacation? So how can you approach your next holiday differently? What about focusing your attention on your intention? That is, become intentional:
- Make a commitment to yourself/your coach/your partner/your team, that you will not get sucked into checking up on work (be offline for all or at least a defined part of your vacation)
- Pack earlier and arrive earlier at the airport/station/accommodation – notice if you are energised by adrenaline. If so ask me (live link here) for the Adrenaline Lifestyle questionnaire
- Commit to eat and drink for pleasure, not for escape/excuse
- Choose what to read wisely. Consider reading for pleasure, not for work. Switch right off by reading fiction, which I know this is a stretch for some readers!
One intention that I set before I go on vacation is to arrive home healthier than when I left home. ie: exercise, eat well, re-create, rejuvenate, relax. Just because I’m on holiday does not mean I don’t have to look after my body or my mind. If I meditate at home, then I meditate on vacation. If I exercise at home, then I exercise on vacation.
Remember the two luxuries of the 21st century are space and time. This is usually what we crave, and our annual leave is an opportunity where we can be intentional about enjoying these luxuries.