As I return home from yet another fantastic family holiday and I am begrudgingly settling back into daily life, I find myself pondering this idea:
If I lived everyday as if I was on holiday, what would life look like?
A gentle, incredulous smile spreads across my face as this idea settles in.
Could I even dare to visualize this? Surely it would be impossible even to perceive! After all, I have the big word ‘responsibility’ in my ‘real’ life, which is why I go on a holiday in the first place, right? The very reason to take a holiday is to relax and rejuvenate and forget about real life.
My just-returned-from-amazing-holiday-numbed-brain decided to indulge in this fantasy for a bit and reflect on the parallels.
When we are on holiday, our stress levels in the body are greatly reduced. All the stress-releasing hormones are in balance, we sleep more hours, blood pressure is stable and most bodily functions are in tandem. This results in a clear head, a light heart and a relaxed demeanour – almost everyday of the holiday.
Boy, could I use that in my daily life!
When we are on holiday, we don’t have a sense of perpetual permanence. We know that we are in this place for a short while, for a few days or a few weeks, and then we are going to move somewhere else. We are accepting of this transient nature of our passage through this place and time.
In this transient state, we take things lightly. If something breaks accidentally in the hotel, we apologize, pay for it and move on.
In this state, we are not anal about our belongings or clothes – we wear the same set of clothes more often, the handbag doesn’t have to match the shoes.
In this state, we are not so concerned with what others think about us – we let go. We let our real selves be without worrying who knows us and what they may judge us for.
We accept that things and people come with an expiry date, that sooner or later we have to leave them behind, and we are ok with it.
Boy, could I be like this in my daily life?
If we are travelling to a new country, we try to enjoy each and every moment in this new land.
We try to be fully prepared with our facts and figures – where to go, what to eat, what to see.
We are efficient with our research – we know we have only these many days in this city, there is a deadline and we must meet it or lose out on the experience.
We are resourceful – we have a limited budget to spend and we try and stick to it.
We become risk takers – we try new things- a new dish, bungee jumping, getting up at 4am to join an animal safari.
We laugh at ourselves, especially when we make mistakes. We get our caricatures made on the street for a few bucks, we act silly and we don’t mind.
We often think or say this – “What is the worst that can happen!”
Boy, could I hold onto this in my daily life!
When we take a holiday with our loved ones, we cherish them more.
We spend time with our kids playing games and reading stories.
We talk and giggle, we are better listeners.
We explain our thoughts, we apologize easily.
We fight and make up and feel better instantly.
When we’ve had too much of each other and need some alone time, we split up for a bit and nobody minds.
We share our interests and our schedules.
Boy, could I be this person in my daily life!
Being away from home makes us reflective. We ponder about our work and career and how we do things. Some of us make plans and set goals and resolutions on how to be more effective and productive. We think about the key relationships in our lives, our friendships and the values we hold dearest.
Being away makes us muse on our own self-worth in the life we have created for ourselves, whatever it may be. We are able to visualize a better self and see how he/she functions. It’s a very satisfying feeling.
Imagine what feeling like this everyday would be like!
I was so inspired by these parallels that the only thing left to do was to turn it into a reality—if only for just a while.
Here’s what you can do to live everyday as if you are on holiday:
1. Take time out to exercise—both the mind and the body.
2. Make real connections with people. Spend some time getting to know an acquaintance in your phone book.
3. Give a bit of your time (not just your money) to one charitable activity. It’s a great reminder of how to not take yourself and your life too seriously.
4. Use to-do lists; set small and large goals. If you take two holidays a year, do some major goal setting twice a year too. Review your finances, clean out your cupboards and restock your kitchen entirely. This is truly therapeutic and feels like a fresh start somehow.
5. Read light romance or watch a chick flick. They have a heartwarming effect usually.
7. Check into a hotel room for just a night in your own city or town. Pretend you are a tourist. Walk around, eat street food and pretend you don’t know anyone there. Give yourself a budget for the day and don’t overshoot it!
8. Watch videos of past family holidays together one afternoon and reminisce over old photos. It really feels like you have revisited a place when you do this.
If none of the above works, just do the easiest thing on this checklist and book yourself a new holiday!