Take time out to reconnect in a more meaningful way
Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothingOscar Wilde
Have you ever heard yourself saying how you need to get away and switch off?
When it comes to holidays, the temptation is to zone out and switch off, only to switch on once the holiday is over and continue in exactly the same way as before – busy, stressed and lost in life.
Time off work can be ideal, not just to disconnect from the external busy-ness, but to in fact reconnect with what’s important to us and to help us live better on our return.
This is a time to reconnect with your values and your priorities and check that what you are doing day-to-day is actually aligned with them.
A lot of the time we are focused on doing – getting things done and achieving objectives, so we can easily lose sight of who we are and what really matters to us. We need to remember that we are human ‘beings’, not human ‘doings’ and some well-needed and well-deserved reconnection time is key to an authentic, balanced and successful life.
It’s time-out time
Time-outs are used in sports to ensure best performance and results. You can use them too. A time-out is when you stop what you are doing and give yourself time to think and readjust your strategy. Holiday time is perfect for making a stronger come-back.
Spending time alone in your own company reinforces your self-worth and is often the number-one way to replenish your resilience reservesSam Owen – Author of Resilient Me
A holiday isn’t just a change of location. In fact a ‘stay-cation’ (stay-at-home holiday) is equally valuable. It’s how you spend the time that matters.
This needs to be quality holiday time. The saying “a change is as good as a rest”, originating in the Victorian era, is not always one to strictly follow nowadays, especially where the well-being of our over-stimulated minds is concerned.
Ironically, knowing that our time off is precious can lead to anxiety around how to make the most of this free time, leading to more stress. For example, travelling straight after work on Friday afternoon and return late on the Sunday before work.
This should be about reducing stress to give us the mind space to reconnect to deeper things instead of being a slave to superficial stimuli.
Here are some ideas to help make holiday time quality time.
First disconnect from everything else
- Delegate anything which may need dealing with while you are away.
- Ensure that your key contacts (family, friends, business network) are aware that you will be unavailable, and that you’ll get back to them on your return. Be careful with the timing of this to avoid being inundated on the eve of your holidays with requests!
- Switching off your mobile phone for the whole holiday may seem too drastic but at least turn off all notifications. To allow for emergencies, it’s possible to silence all incoming calls except from those you select as important. If need be, establish a time, such as just after lunch, when you will check your messages.
- Avoid the temptation to use your phone by keeping a small notebook and pencil for things that come to mind. Make a note to take action on your return, rather than grabbing the phone and proactively creating more work and connectivity.
Then reconnect to yourself
- Even if your holiday has an activity or tourism-based itinerary, do ensure you have ‘me-time’ to relax, pamper yourself and sleep.
- Be careful about reading, listening to music and watching television. These still provide external stimulus and prevent real connection with ourselves. Even music can evoke or influence certain emotions or mental states. Silence is golden!
- Enjoy the time with your five senses, taking note of the new (and hopefully pleasant!) smells, the sounds (possibly new accents or language), tastes (of the local cuisine), people watch, and feel the different air, humidity etc.
- If your holiday is home-based, spend time in your favourite place, indoors or in the neighbourhood. Again enjoying every moment and every detail of just being.
- Spend time in nature, and even better, exercising your body in a natural environment.
- Be creative. You’ll probably be amazed at all your creative ideas which float to the surface once the mind is quiet. Here’s where the above-mentioned notebook and pencil comes in handy!
- Do an audit of what is important to you. Ensure your lifestyle and your objectives are indeed aligned to you and your core values.
Set your intentions for your return
After some good quality holiday time, you should have some inspiring thoughts on how you’d like to live in a more meaningful and less stressful way.
So before you set off for home and switch back on, sit in a quiet place and write down three new things that you’ll do, or do differently, in your day to day life to bring more fulfillment. Say them out loud and mean it!
External busy-ness is inevitable, but this time you can approach it in a more holistic and meaningful way, always aware of what, how and why you are doing, being and enjoying.