Oh boy… Holiday time. For many people, this is the best moment of the year. You get to let go of your work and focus on the things you enjoy the most. Maybe you indulge in your favorite activities and hobbies. You go sailing, hiking, golfing… Or maybe retreat to your home or summer cabin, enjoying the fact that you don’t have to go anywhere. You just enjoy being idle.
I once overheard a discussion that nicely illustrates different holiday ideals:
Wife: “It’s great that there are so many activities and events during the summer!”
Husband: “Yes. And the best thing is that we don’t have to go to any of them.”
No matter how you want to spend your holiday, there is this ONE thing that actually determines whether your holiday is a success or a catastrophe. It’s something that is quite independent of what you do or what happens during your holiday. Something you can’t control completely. But if you dealt with it skillfully, it will help you have a great holiday. It’s something that is happening inside of you.
I’m talking about EMOTIONS.
Because holidays are FILLED with emotions.
You oil and clean your fishing gear, filled with excitement, ready to go. But then your wife says she wants to spend time with relatives…
Yes, holidays are definitely filled with emotions. There will be moments of relief, contentment, excitement, love, rest, and ease. But often there are also disappointments, frustration, anger, quarrels, shattering hopes, flat falling expectations.
And it is the EMOTIONS that determine whether you enjoy your holiday or not. It doesn’t really matter what you do or where you go, if you do not FEEL good about it.
Yes, you went golfing, but how did it FEEL?
Yes, you did spend quality time with your spouse and family, but how did it make you FEEL?
A lady told me she went camping with her friend. They were hoping for sunny weather and great beach life. But once they got there, it was raining cats and dogs. The WHOLE week. Their tent was soaked. There was mud and puddles all over the place.
After the initial disappointment, they started laughing. They ran and danced in the rain. They sat in their wet tent and immersed into endless discussions. They had fun. They connected deeper than ever. They enjoyed every moment. They had the best camping trip ever.
I must say this again: it is the emotions you have that shape the quality of your experience! It’s not what you do. It’s not where you go. It’s not how things turn out. All of it becomes great or miserable depending on how you FEEL about it. Understand this and you know where to look for a great holiday. Look for it inside yourself!
So if you want to have a great holiday, this is the ONE thing you need to do: deal with the emotions you are having during your holiday.
1. Start building your mindset before the holiday. Really listen to your expectations, desires, and wishes. How do you feel about the upcoming holiday? If you really honestly listen to yourself, how would you like to spend it? What is the most important thing during the holiday? Then, decide to take it as it comes. Too high expectations ruin even the best of holidays. Try to have a mindset: “It is good like this. I’ll make the best out of this – however, things turn out.”
2. Change your time perspective. When we’re working, we tend to be living in the future. “Once I get this finished, then I need to do that.” We’re always in the next moment. But try to change that during your holiday. If you’re laying on the beach but already thinking about what to do in the evening, you miss the moment on the beach. So try to live in this very moment. Say often to yourself: “Here and now!” And forget about the next moments. The best moment of your holiday is RIGHT NOW!
“Holidays are about experiences and people, and tuning into what you feel like doing at that moment. Enjoy not having to look at a watch.”
3. Pay attention to your emotions. Holiday is a great time for inner exploration. Because when we’re stressed with a full calendar, our emotional lives tend to get flat and dull.
But once you let go of your work, your emotional life starts to change. Pay close attention to how you feel – moment to moment. How does your emotional life change? What comes to the surface once you have more room and space to just be? What are the activities that really evoke joy in you? Observe and learn!
It is also good to know that one of the first symptoms of burnout is the disappearance of pleasure. When you’re burning out, even the activities you used to enjoy do not give you any joy. If this is the case for you, look at what happens during a holiday. Experiencing joy is also an antidote to burnout. If you feel a lot of joy, you’re not likely to burnout.
4. Once your holiday is ending, reflect upon it. Learn from your experience. How was it? If it was miserable, what do you want to do differently next time? If it was great, what did you learn from it?
Also, keep on paying attention to your emotions. How does your everyday life make you feel? Of course, having a great normal life is more important than having a great holiday. But that’s another story.
With these words, I wish you a great holiday! And hey, I’d love to hear what you learned about yourself during your holiday! Share your experiences in the comments below!