- Terri K. Lankford, LPC, NCC, LCAS
3 Steps for a Successful Vacation
March came in like a lion and April Showers have brought May flowers. Spring is powering through and I just realized it was past the middle of May already!! I mean, did anyone realize that Memorial Day weekend (the unofficial kickoff of summer) is at the end of this week?!
With that, Summer is well on it’s way and if you live here in the Carolinas, there have already been days that were up in the 90s because if you blink, you have missed the Spring season here. With all that coming along comes time off from school for the kids, the desire to get out and about, get outside, and… take a vacation.
But how do you do that successfully? How do you make the most out of your time off?
Some of us have are very go with the flow attitude and don’t take home their work, others live in their jobs, and then you have the in-betweens….
Having just taken a whole week off from work as a business owner was well, an adventure. And no matter which type you are these tips can help even the most anxious of us.
3 steps for a successful vacation
1. SET UP A VACATION MINDSET
Most of us believe that taking a vacation means zero work. And while I agree that a vacation is for doing the opposite of work — that might mean different things for different people. If you’re someone who is going to stress out about what you’re going to come back to or getting that weekly post out on time you're not there for this week then you’ll have to decide what would work best for you. Do you need to set up your away auto-response for your email? Can you schedule that post via some sort of web service that’s available ahead of time? Don’t schedule clients. Don’t schedule your auto-pilot “tasks” or appointments. If this is a staycation: don’t do housework… plan to get it done beforehand or know that it’s just not that important for the next several days on your priorities list. Take a bigger picture look at your calendar for another time those things can be penciled in. Think about: What do you want to get out of this vacation? Is this a disconnected week for catching up on reading and fun and time with family or friends or is this a trip of sharing your adventures
2. COME FROM A PLACE OF GRATITUDE & SELF CARE
Why are you here? Whatever you’re doing for vacation - whether it’s the dream trip or setting up shop on your couch all week… can you come from a place of taking the time to think about what you appreciate about your experience and WHY do you appreciate it. What is it doing for you? How does it serve you well? -- All of those things you never get around to doing. Whether it’s journaling, hitting the yoga studio you’ve been thinking about, treating yourself for a massage, flipping through the magazines that have been piling up, or just getting out into some sunshine, how are you taking care of yourself during your vacation? This is especially true for parents or caretakers… I KNOW it’s all about them most of the time… but you don’t want to need a vacation from your vacation. We’ve all experienced that before. What do you need to do to get some alone time? Are you comfortable learning to love the alone time you get after being with another individual ALL the time?
3. MANAGE THE TRANSITION
While you can squeeze every last drop of vacation time by coming back late Sunday night, this can make Monday morning feel even more chaotic than usual. Have you allotted time when you get back to catch up on that things you know will pile up while you’re away? Maybe you plan this back into how you start back to your work week or you come back a day early so you can check on anything urgent that happened in your absence, get groceries, and get the laundry going. Let yourself down easy by planning something low-key but fun for Monday or Wednesday evening. A quick get together with a friend after work gives you something to look forward to during what may be a brutal day. Taking a vacation doesn’t become much of one if you aren’t able to tune into the present moment while you’re worrying about what isn’t getting done. If you hate that frantic feeling, then come back Saturday or early Sunday.
Overall the Keyword here is : Expectations.
You have to manage them so they don’t manage you. Mindset, Gratitude, Energy, Self Care… No matter what your’e doing and where you go, being present in connections, learning to love alone time, and setting the expectations are crucial in creating a successful vacation for yourself and your loved ones!
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