It doesn’t matter whether you have a month, a fortnight or a long weekend. Vacation is a state of mind. That’s why, so often, you come back from what should have been a wonderful week in a lovely place without feeling as if you’ve relaxed, energized or re-connected in the way you hoped you would.
There are four things you can do to transform any downtime.
Plan your entertainment in advance. Choose books, movies and music that will be inspiring, joyous, educational, uplifting. And vet them to make sure they are. There’s nothing that will be more of a downer on vacation then a really sad or dark novel or film.
Next, be really clear with yourself and anyone else who’ll be with you, about what you want out of this time. If your hope is you’ll be left by the pool to read a novel, say so. If you’re dreaming of spending your time in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, be clear about that. And how do you want to feel? If you’re hoping to feel reconnected with your partner or friends, or if you just want to feel re-energized in your own body, set that intention.
It’s hard enough to fulfill your intentions even when you do communciate them clearly, but when you keep them a secret, I promise, you haven’t got a chance.
Do not, whatever you do, take your office with you on your downtime. I know this sounds glaringly obvious, but all the functions of a 1990s office, the fax, the wordproccessor, the filing cabinets, the switchboard, are now on your smartphone and if you take it, you won’t de-stress at all.
If I could trust you to be disciplined, I’d say you could of course switch your phone to airplane mode. But will you stick to that? If not, I suggest buying a cheap non-smart phone and use it for these getaway occasions. That way, your boss or your mom can get in touch by phone in dire emergencies, but you will be free and unencumbered by emails.
I also urge you not to work on your social media. No posting, no taking selfies. If you want to record the nature, bring a digital camera and post later. Being plugged into snapchat and insta will play to all your neuroses and you might as well never have had any downtime at all.
Remy Blumenfeld is a creative life coach living in London. He empowers leaders to play the game of life with purpose, grace and ease. Before training as coach, he launched a TV Production company which created dozens of ground breaking, TV shows.