I had a great summer. I went on vacation with my friend and it was so fun, we had a great time. In fact, we had such a good time that we are planning a trip to New York next year too! She’s already looking at hotels like the Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan! Luckily, she’s one of those people who plan everything out in detail so I just had to follow her and knew I was in safe hands! Every day it was like clockwork. Wake up at 9, finish breakfast by 10, she’d go on her home security camera online viewing system to check her home was in one piece then we’d do the activity for the day. And now summer is over. Well, technically, it’s still summer, but I defy you to find the summer section at Target. It doesn’t exist anymore. One day, it was all beach balls and bikinis, now it’s number 2 pencils and dorm room décor. How they switch it all overnight is a mystery, but I’m pretty sure it involves some sort of secret retail voodoo ritual.
I often notice the same thing about people who go on vacation. Vacations are full of adventure, exploration, and activity. On vacation you are fun. You are relaxed. You are engaged. You are happy.
And then you come back to work. But not the “vacation you.” The vacation you seems to only come alive on vacation, then disappears overnight – like Frosty the Snowman – when the heat of work is turned back up.
Where did the fun, relaxed, engaged, happy person go? Why do we get back the same straight-laced, stressed-out, clock-punching, sad-sack that left the office a week ago? Maybe you light up for a few moments when someone asks you about your trip, but oh how quickly you slip back into the “work you.” Vacation you has already melted away.
If you’re a different person at work than you are on vacation, then somewhere you’re not being the authentic you. My guess is that work gets the short end of the stick. How can you do your best work if you’re a straight-laced, stressed-out, clock-punching sad-sack? You can’t.
Believe me, we’d like to see vacation you more often. When you are fun, relaxed, engaged, and happy, you are more creative, productive, and high-quality in your work.
Here’s how to keep “vacation you” alive in between vacations:
1. Choose to engage in your work. The best way to do this is to discover, or re-discover, WHY you’re doing what you do…and why it is important to do it with excellence. You can do this by taking some time for personal reflection, having a conversation with your boss about it, or finding the most engaged person in your office and asking them why they’re so freakin’ awesome.
2. If you truly can’t do #1, maybe you really are in the wrong place and it’s time to find work you can get engaged with. But try #1 first. And I mean try really hard. Because the engagement doesn’t ever come from the work. The engagement always comes from YOU.
3. Take more breaks. Work in focused periods of time and take intentional breaks to stay energized throughout the day. We are designed to engage in cycles of work+rest. To keep your productivity (and sanity) high, respect the cycle. On your breaks, do what you do on vacation: rest, relax, talk to friends, do something fun. Doesn’t have to be long to effectively recharge your batteries.
4. Do less in your life. Part of why we love vacations so much is that we get a break from our crazy busy personal lives. The majority of Americans are overscheduled: work, school, sports, charities, church, family, yada yada yada. It’s too much. Just say no. You won’t go to Hell if you miss a PTA meeting.
5. Weekend Trips. These are a great way to keep yourself fresh by taking short trips that allow you to get out of your local area and relax. Motorhomes are a great way to achieve this because you can travel to new places and see new things instead of staying at home. If you want to find out more about if you can afford a motorhome click here.
6. Get in shape. It takes a lot of energy to fuel life. Picture for a moment a future you. This future you is twice as physically fit as you are right now. Leaner, stronger, and more flexible. Lighter, faster, and with greater endurance. Would this future you kick butt? You bet. And I bet it would move through life a whole lot more like the vacation you.
The great news is that vacation you is always in you. You just have to give it permission to come out and play when you’re not officially on vacation.
Got any tips? How do you keep your vacation you alive? Leave a comment and share your experience. We always hear from readers about how much they love the additional thoughts in the comments. So don’t hold back. We’re waiting for your wisdom!