If you’re thinking back over your most recent vacations, do you wonder why some are awesome – and then some just aren’t? Don’t rush to blame the location. It could have nothing to do with where you went, but how you went about it.
This can be especially true for small business owners – which most gym/studio/school/center owners are. And that’s because to most small business owners, their life is their business and their business is their life. While that may be true, you need to be able to vacation and to get the most enjoyment possible out of it when you do.
Even psychologist have gotten in on this, looking at how the brain works and how vacations can be tweaked to crank up your enjoyment factor and prevent the need to take a vacation from your vacation.
Planning makes a huge difference in how much you enjoy your vacation. And it reduces the stress of “what are we going to do tomorrow” as you come to the end of each vacation day. It also amps up the anticipation of your vacation. You also may be more prepared for enjoying the event because you “planned ahead.” Picking your vacation dates well in advance, researching available activities and making sure you have everything to participate in them extends the entire process – from planning to doing – and is proven to elevate your enjoyment level.
Once-in-a-Lifetime trips are awesome – if you can make them happen. But the truth is, most people can’t. So don’t deprive yourself of vacations because you can’t manage that month in Paris that you dream of. Psychologists understand that we return to “our happy place” pretty easily. So finding places that you love to visit and returning to them often is significant in building the benefit of vacationing. In other words, smaller pleasures enjoyed more frequently are huge contributors to our overall well-being. You also don’t have to vacation for weeks at a time. Look for already shortened work weeks and plan “long weekend” vacations to your favorite places and bookend two weekends around your week-off to create a 9-day vacation package.
Include New Things
Familiar doesn’t mean boring. Returning to our happy places doesn’t mean you can’t expand your horizons while you there. Think of your destination as a starting point, planning short day-trips during you vacation. Experiment with foods you’ve never tried or activities that are interesting to you and your family. People (especially adults) are creatures of habit and are generally very “scheduled.” This may work well for the work week and for keeping your kids on task for school and homework. But vacations are the perfect time for breaking away from this and injecting the new and actually “planning” to change up your “normal” schedule.
Make It Fun
Make sure you have time, in all of your vacation adventures, to relax, enjoy great meals and talk about what you’re experiencing while you’re on vacation. Relaxing, socializing and reflecting boat, or regale about the exhilaration of zip lining. This helps you relive enjoyment and connect with your travel companions.
Hand-off the Mundane
Who wants to do laundry on vacation? Just don’t do it. If you’re going to need to launder during your vacation, budget for sending it out. Including these not-fun things during vacations are really a drag and can bring everyone down. Bring grandmother as a built-in babysitter so Mom and Dad can enjoy some adult time. Can’t do this? Most hotels have babysitters or such services that they can refer upon request. It’s worth the investment to hire someone to cook and clean for a few days of you’re traveling in a group and renting a vacation house. Remember that your goal is having fun so don’t do activities that can deflate your enthusiasm or enjoyment level.
If even thinking about work ruins your vacation, then arrange to leave it all behind you. But many people want to stay engaged – even when on vacation. This doesn’t mean you can’t relax and have fun. You simply need to have control of your work situation. Set limitations and don’t compromise them. Check your email each morning, but don’t stay in your device looking at every message that comes in. If you do this, you can take the calls you feel are necessary or complete reports that need to be done without upsetting plans and ruining fun. If you are in control of it, your brief work activities won’t be a source of resentment to you or your companions. They will actually appreciate how you’re able to compartmentalize it.
Close It Out with A Bang
The human brain gives disproportionate importance to the last things in a series. This applies to vacations too. So don’t spend your final day cleaning up your condo or catching up on your emails. Instead of planning all of the excitement for the front-end of your trip, save some excitement for the last day. This will ensure a high-note ending to your vacation. Dinner at a highly-anticipated restaurant is usually a winner for a vacation ending!
Build In a Transition
If you get back from your vacation late Sunday night when school and work is staring you in the face for Monday morning, you’re going to suffer! Make sure you have some transition time to get back into being home and prepare yourself for the reality of real life. This will enhance everyone’s return and lower the stress of getting groceries, doing laundry and going through the mail that collected during your vacation. Plan something low-key but fun for Sunday evening so you can cruise back into your routine with a smile.
Make Your Memories
Don’t shelve everything from your vacation because you’re busily getting back to work and school. Go through pictures and memorabilia that you’ve collected. Organize the shells your collected at the beach and reserve the prettiest for special use. Share your fun times with friends through stories and pictures. This helps you to reinforce the fun times and adventures that will be the positive memories of this vacation. And these memories will build the “happy place” that your mind will return to as you think about your next vacation and help you to make each vacation “The Best Vacation Ever.”
Source: Fast Company Magazine