I work a lot with busy executives and high performing people and I am always taken by how often, after returning from a vacation, I hear them say, “Wow, I need a vacation from my vacation!”
Truth is that this is far too often the case and in my viewpoint there are two fundamental problems with this statement.
First up, why do people live lives where they feel like it is necessary to have a vacation where they completely go off the rails? Shouldn’t life in general just be full of moments where we throw caution to the wind, and moments where we re-gather ourselves and prepare for the next adventure? Why do people feel like they have to pack it all in to one or two weeks a year?
Secondly, why DO people loose it completely on vacation? Why eat, drink, party, go over the top every single day and then fall down and go boom at the end? Only having to figure out how to recover once back at home?
The truth is that they get into this rat race called life where they have a limited bandwidth for establishing best practices that support success and fulfillment.
Wake up, hit the snooze button a few times, get up, go slam a big cup of coffee, eat a couple of pieces of toast, check social media, hammer out a couple of comments, get everything done that’s gotta get done before walking out the front door, move through the mass commute to the office, bang out a full day of work (could be another paragraph of points here!), maybe eat a lunch or a couple of crappy snacks during the day, drive back through the evening commute, scramble to create a tangible dinner, do more work not done during the day, invest more valuable time on social media, and then crash. Or perhaps don’t crash but stay up thinking of things that need to get done or other useless or painful stuff, only to wake up to that pesky alarm again!
This story of life could be reproduced in many forms for parents, working mom’s or dad’s, stay at home mom’s or dad’s, the point is, many are living lives of judgment, self judgment, judgment of friends or colleagues, or judgment of people unknown. How busy are they, and what trinkets they have, who do they hang out with, how many friends or followers do they have, judge or be judged. This approach to life, with little time allotted to personal well-being and best practices leads people to go overboard when they’re off the reserve so to speak!
So when someone goes on vacation, and effectively reproduces the same life only replacing work with over the top play, all-you-can-eat buffets, open bars, and nights that end when the sun is rising, or if kids are involved, when the kids are going to bed! In one instance they’re up all night, in the other, they’re sleeping way too long, but probably being woken up multiple times by the kids, or by their bladder!
Vacation should fundamentally be about changing venue. The chance to live life in a new place, see new things, feel new feelings, and experience other cultures or opportunities.
If you have established tried and true structures and traditions in your life that act as the foundation on which you can thrive, then these foundations should be linked in to your vacation. Eating well (especially now that you’ve eliminated that age old excuse of “I have no time to cook”) and experimenting with new recipes and new combinations of food in order to refine a healthy regime would be one of the most effective and valuable elements of a vacation.
Getting various exercise experiences into every day would help you stay in a good place energy wise and help you recover from the day to day stresses of life, and on vacation you can try all kinds of new things, whether its hiking, walking, biking, you can use it to see new things and transport you throughout your journey. It doesn’t have to be a gym where you train, the great out doors will serve you well, and now you have even more time than normal to plan and integrate other experiences into the mix.
The chance to journal and reflect on life each day, something that is a great personal practice for anyone who wants to thrive in life, is an excellent component of a vacation when you once again have maybe just a little more time to engage in such thought.
But the true life lesson here is that if these corner stone elements of life are a part of your day-to-day, they should be a part of your day-to-day on vacation. And if they are not part of your day-to-day, then a vacation may be an excellent place to start.
When you bring these practices on vacation or introduce them into your life while on vacation, you can use that unloaded time to invest in raising the quality of your dialogue and your efforts so that your program for success is established or becomes even sharper when you return. Instead of feeling like you need to recover from your holiday, make the vacation take you to the next level!
Originally published at medium.com