There are phrases that catch my ear differently now than they used to, like…
“Phew! I feel like I need a vacation…from my vacation.”
Phrases like this are grist for the mill of modern life resentment.
The stuff of the Dilbert comic strip.
I found myself feeling very curious about this phrase recently.
It’s right in line with thinking I’m trying to debunk one individual at a time, one mind at a time.
Let’s stop answering “Busy” when someone asks how we are and, yes, please, let’s never say we need a vacation from our vacation.
There is an alternative that makes life better, I promise.
Here are my suggestions for having a great vacation and creating a “less stress, more fun” re-entry to everyday life.
Check the expectations that you’re packing for vacation.
Get clear with yourself about what you expect from vacation.
I used to pack a stack of books or download a bunch of eBooks, sure this was the time to catch up on a year’s worth of reading.
Then I’d remember that, oh, yeah, I was traveling with toddlers and I’d be lucky to read the ingredients label on the sugar packets!
I’ve learned to expect less from vacation – to plan a lighter itinerary, to consider that the purpose was a change of scenery with people that I loved as much as – or more than! – the chance to see and do All The Things.
In fact, I expect that I’m probably going to be tired from the act of being somewhere new, out of my comfort zone with people who are also out of their comfort zone.
Choosing the expectations to “pack” along for the journey has transformed my vacations into, well, vacations!
Prepare for emotional jet lag.
The first day or week back at work…might hurt.
All those chores and routines? Yep. It’s all there.
I mentally prepare that there is going to be what I call “emotional jet lag” after transitioning from the world of vacation to the world of Any Given Tuesday.
Days away from normal food, routine, and the familiar mean that the emotional batteries are likely to be low when you return home.
I think people expect to be “refreshed” which is perhaps not the most realistic mindset.
You might have a great time, but it’s not likely to “undo” stress.
Stress management is a year round activity, and vacation may be “novel” and “fun” and yet not “relaxing” or cause you to feel “unplugged.” (Hang out with me to learn how to manage your mind and emotions year round…)
Plan for the logistics of transitioning back.
In super practical terms, plan for your return back to be a transition.
Consider coming home a day or two early to get back to a normal sleep routine, run errands, do laundry.
Sleep extra, if helpful, and eat well.
Plan time to process through time out of office, including whatever you’ve decided to do about email.
People around you understand that you might need a minute to get your bearings.
And be kind to yourself if you experience discomfort.
Whatever feelings come up as you return from vacation are temporary, as temporary as vacation or even life itself.
Instead of saying, “I need a vacation from vacation”…
Try telling yourself and others, “I am exactly where I choose to be today.”
Because it’s true!
P.S. I invite you to fall in love with my podcast, “Less Stress, More Fun.” Subscribe today! Each week’s episodes are short (14-18 mins, on average), smart (lots of research) and fun (especially if you love 80s music).