I just got back from a weekend away. Not really a vacation – it was an amazing masterminding weekend with exceptionally smart businesswomen – but an escape from home that reminded me of all the best parts of vacation nonetheless.
A huge part of why vacation feels amazing to so many people is because it enables them to leave their usual environment which comprises a HUGE portion of their identity. Which means that you can be a completely different person on vacation than at home!
And while you’ve likely heard the advice to create a life that you don’t need to take a vacation from, as with most quotable advice, you’re left scratching your head thinking, “That sounds lovely, but how the eff would I do that?!”
Even if you’re a chronic-over-packer (I’m a backpack ONLY kinda girl… I don’t even do the wheely carryons for fear that they make me gate check it), you have CONSIDERABLY less stuff with you on vacation than at home. Less clothes, less technology, less hair products, less stuff on the shelves, in the drawers, and on the desk in the hotel. Less responsibilities, less to clean, less in the fridge. JUST LESS.
And less stuff means
- More resourcefulness
- Less decision fatigue
- More flexibility
I don’t just mean “get rid of crap” or “buy things more consciously” but also minimize what you’re DOING. Streamline. Know your priorities. And ditch or reassign everything else. Does the laundry REALLY need to get folded? Do you REALLY need to be on Instagram? Do you REALLY need to sign your kid up for 14 activities that you need to play taxi for?
Find what is essential and stick to THAT.
Some people are vacation planners. They know where they’re going to eat when and what’s happening on each day and how they’re getting there and and and. Obviously with that kind of organizational zeal, they’ve created intentionality.
But even those of you who are “play it by ear” people, or “I just want to sit in a chair with a book and something boozy” are ALSO creating intentions (i.e. flexibility, spontaneity, relaxation, etc.). In other words, rarely does someone just stumble into a vacation.
Know what you’re doing every day and why (I don’t care WHAT it is, even if it’s “today I’m putting my rear in a chair with a book and beer because I need a break”… but make a decision about it. Commit to how the day is going to go BEFORE you go into it.)
Vacation is a set amount of time. You know you have 5 days to relax or 10 days to see as much of Costa Rica as possible. You’re only going to eat at X number of restaurants; you only get to see so-many things. So even if you torment yourself by trying to pick the BEST option, by virtue of being hungry or only having so much time in a place, you’re going to make decisions about what you do sooner than later.
Limits, even if arbitrary, are key to making fast decisions (without perfecting or overthinking).
For most things, we spend WAY too much time considering our options. Do you REALLY need to read 437 Amazon reviews about pens? Or we agonize over decisions that don’t matter right now (should I put my 37 newsletter subscribers into MailChimp or ActiveCampaign?)
Set a timer (10 minutes?). Research your options. Pick one.
Know that you can tweak forever and ever and ever after that if you need to, but you can’t tweak something that hasn’t been executed on.
Disconnect & reconnect
Ever noticed that you spend less time on social media on vacation? Or that you actually have real-life conversation with your partner (and not just “what’s for dinner and who’s picking up the kids and why are there no clean socks in this whole frickin’ house!?”)?
Also, by virtue of minimizing (ahem) your responsibilities, distractions, and choices, you reconnect with yourself.
Longer showers, more noticing of your environment and how you respond to it (“The ocean makes me feel so calm… I love eating good food that I don’t have to cook… Actually, my partner doesn’t drive me so crazy when we’re not both obsessing about work…”), less doing shit you hate but haven’t had the guts to stop doing (e.g. getting together with extended family, saying no to drinks with the “friends” you’ve outgrown, volunteering at your kids’ school while muttering under your breath, etc.).
Vacation is often a permission slip for people to allow themselves enjoy life… except, life goes on after vacation too, and you get to consciously create a life you enjoy ALL the time.
Make a list… find 5 things you could DO to enjoy life more (right now… not when 30 unideal conditions change) and write down 5 things you can STOP doing. DO.IT.NOW!