If you are not already aware, I am returning to the U.S. this week from an incredible five month journey in Europe. This blog could not come at a more crucial time because I want to remind myself the ways in which I preserve my "vacation mode." I also want to share this with you since it is summer time and many of us are traveling or beginning to wrap up our summer escapades.
There are reasons why vacations are so relaxing. We are in new places, usually free of the responsibilities of work and "real life," and doing fun things. Once we return to our routine-based lives, we may keep riding the high for a few days or maybe a week, but generally we let everything that was great about that vacation start to slip away.
I totally get it! It is easy to do, especially if you are not intentionally hanging on to some of that magic vacation energy. So why not try? Why not implement a few things to keep you feeling great and create a life that you do not constantly need a vacation from?
Step 1: Identify what you love about vacations. I will give some common examples:
- disconnectedness from work/responsibilities
- less stress
- exploration, seeing new things
- connection with yourself/your travel companion
- special vacation rituals
Step 2: Understand your "vacation self." We typically wear different hats for different areas in our lives. I try to encourage us all to be our true selves as much as possible, but I understand that it might not always be possible. How you are on vacation might be a little more free, relaxed, light, and calm, for example. This makes a lot of sense because vacation self is generally a more liberated, carefree version of our work selves. When we understand what makes this side of ourselves great, we are able to better understand ourselves and harness this energy when need be.
Step 3: Know when you need to invoke "vacation self" by doing special "vacation activities." This may be right when you have felt the vacation high wear away or you might even begin incorporating certain routines into your daily life. When we can destress and create fun moments that are unique to us, the day to day becomes less strained.
Step 4: Know when you need to plan your next getaway. Although the goal of this is to preserve your vacation mindset, I know better than anyone that sometimes people just need to get away. Preparing for a future trip brings out excitement and peace, knowing that you have something to look forward to. This is completely okay as long as you are not solely living vacation to vacation. If that is the case, maybe think about ways you can make that in-between time a little more enjoyable.
Here are some things I do to create a life that I do not "need" a vacation from:
- I say "yes" more. I love the adventurous spirit that I have while I am on vacation so I try to fear less and say "yes" more in my daily life to get out of any ruts I may find myself in.
- Daily cappuccino. Italy has my heart and as a tribute to the love I feel for my time spent there, I enjoy a cappuccino a day. This means every morning, without fail, running late or not. It allows me to set myself up for my day and gives me a little Italian spark that I enjoy so much.
- Trying new things. This one is super powerful for me because it automatically shakes things up. Whether it is hiking a new trail or exploring a new town, doing something new always refreshes my inner vacationer.
Follow steps 1 through 3 to get the most out of your vacation, even after you are home. And when all else fails, step 4: travel more. Happy exploring!