By Charity Haigans MA LPC-S
Sumer is here! Time to schedule the long awaited vacation we have all been looking forward to. Imagine if you never had to return from that fun, relaxing paradise though…
It’s rare that I hear someone say they hate time away. Most of us feel reborn while sipping drinks poolside, and there is a reason for that…we are. We become different people while away. More laid back, in the moment, roll with the punches, people. So how is it that reentering the county line somehow wipes the slate and we resume those over worked, stressed out versions of ourselves? More importantly, how can we avoid returning to a stale existence and instead maintain the vibrant and peaceful persona we adopted while away?
Here are some tips for implementing your vacay everyday.
Determine what you love most about vacationing
It can be something different for everyone, but this year really ask yourself, “Why am I so happy right now,” while you are on vacation. What about this moment (besides the beautiful view) is so wonderful? Perhaps you are enjoying fewer responsibilities, being more in control of you schedule, the people you are spending time with, and/or the activity itself. Whatever the reason, step one is to make a mental note. You have to know what you love before you can figure out how to achieve it.
Obviously there are valid reasons you are not happy-go-lucky all day everyday at home. It is easy to say, “I cant enjoy my life everyday because I have to do (insert annoying grown up responsibility here).” There is no getting around the fact that you have more requirements in your life than sipping margaritas by the pool 24/7, so step two is: identify the obstacles.
Note the differences in priorities
One of your obstacles is likely, “I have to go to work everyday at home, so I can’t be on vacation everyday.” This is true. At home you do have to attend work, the kids have to go to school, and we have a greater list of priorities at home then we do on vacation. On vacation, our top priority is FUN. We let go of having to have the biggest house, the nicest clothing, and the most high achieving children. We give ourselves a break from having to lose ten pounds, make Partner, and be recognized as parent of the year. On vacation we focus more on being happy and having fun. We set the expectation for ourselves that we will enjoy our time while we are vacationing (no matter what gets thrown at us). Simply put, we do a better job of balancing when we let go of some of our have to’s and set an expectation of fun. Which is why step three is: identify what your priorities are on vacation, compare those to you everyday life priorities, and find the balance. Life should not be all working or all playing. A healthy balanced lifestyle includes both work and play everyday. By shifting priorities away from external motivators (see and be seen) to internal motivators (how much we enjoy life moment to moment) we can easily make fun a high priority.
Renew you attitude.
Once you identify your happiness, adjust your priorities towards internal motivations, and redirect your lifestyle to eliminate obstacles for achieving those new fun priorities, you are still left with the requirement of reshaping your attitude. Listen, this isn’t easy and that’s why I saved it until the end. New attitudes don’t evolve over night, but in the end, that change alone brings the greatest reward.
Shifting your attitude away from scarcity, fear, anxiety, and comparison to one of self and family focus, in the moment living, and confidence in a positive outcome, you earn freedom in your everyday life. That sense of freedom may seem familiar as you likely feel it the moment you set foot on the beach or cast your line out into the river. You are in control. You are the motivator and the purpose. The practice of having a free and positive attitude is just that…a practice. You will never be 100% at it and it will always take work, but you will feel the benefit as you deepen your practice and recommit to living a happier more carefree lifestyle.
Here’s to summer and living the way you want to live everyday, not just on holiday!