Happy New Year!
In Australia we have our summer holidays over the Christmas – New Year period. Many businesses slow down or shut completely for 2 – 3 weeks. There are so many benefits of a vacation. It is a wonderful time for normally busy people to enjoy family and recreation. Taking time out to slow down, renew relationships and create family memories is such a beneficial thing to do. It is also a time to do some of those things you love, like go to the beach, read some great books, and enjoy some family experiences. All of this is so important to renew and restore body and soul.
In the midst of taking a break from work this is also the best time of year to reflect on our lives and set new goals for the coming year. Time to reassess what worked and what may require changing.
After 2 – 3 weeks off work, it is amazing how uncluttered the mind becomes. Emotions have time to heal and be restored. It is almost like we catch up with ourselves, perspective returns and all becomes well, or at least better, in our world.
And then, we have to go back to work.
I hope you are in a business or a role which you enjoy. I am not against work. In fact I think work is a good thing and an important part of what gives life purpose. If you are dreading going back to work, then there may be things that need a deeper look and bigger changes you need to make.
Even in a role you enjoy, the challenge for many is learning how to maximise the benefits of a vacation. Within a few days it is almost as though the vacation is a distant memory. The challenges of work take over and the resolutions we made about change seem impossible.
How You Can Maximise The Benefits Of A Vacation
- First Day Back at Work – keep your calendar clear and plan to go home early or on time. This gives you time to catch up on things, people, emails, business happenings while you were away. It means you can get on top of any surprises.
- Look with ‘fresh eyes’ – after a vacation you have an uncluttered mind. It enables you to have what I call ‘fresh eyes’ for the first day or two after you return. You have a huge opportunity to walk around and have a look at everything. Talk to people. Pretend you are visiting your site of business for the first time. What you see may surprise you. Some things will be great. Some things you will want to change.
- Make one significant change – you may want to change 10 things, but that is not possible. Pick one thing you would really like to change, and change it. It will carry your sense of freshness and renewal from your vacation back into your work life.
- Write a change list – Write down what you see with ‘fresh eyes’ and make a list of other things you would like to change. If possible, involve your team in your thinking, so they can benefit too. Consider how and when you can implement them.
- Plan your next vacation – Make sure you have your next vacation planned, even if it is a short break or a long weekend. Count how many weeks until the break and start to anticipate. Anticipation is an important part of increasing the enjoyment of anything.
- Create a self-care plan – the reason many people do not enjoy vacations is that they are too exhausted. No-one can work more than about 6 weeks at full capacity. We are not machines. Every 4- 6 weeks you need a long weekend. If you do not get one, you will effectively take one by being sick, or working at very low capacity for a few days until you recharge somehow. We all have a rhythm of life. The better we understand and cooperate with our natural life rhythms the more energy we will have for life and work all through the year. And we will always maximise the benefits of a vacation.
What other things have you learned that help you to maximise the benefits of a vacation? I’d love to hear from you.