How to Sink into the Relaxing Joy of Vacation Faster

Aug 02, 2023 5 Min Read

Human taste is wide and varied. Merlot or Chardonnay? Blacklist or Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Catskills or the Florida Keys? Disagree as we may, a shared human experience unites us—the alluring promise of a vacation, the liberating feeling of leaving the routine, hitting the road, and venturing into the alluring unknown. Finding a soul that doesn't yearn for this escape is hard. 

Yet, amidst the bustling excitement of vacation season, a common obstacle emerges—why does it take so long to shrug off the stress and truly decompress? If your seven-day vacation takes three days to arrive at mentally, you'll have a four-day vacation – not nearly enough. (BTW, I don't think the full seven is enough, but we can discuss that another time.) 

The stress of work, the pace and cadence of life, the crushing metronome of go-go-go spend all year taking residence in our nervous systems, and these habits are hard to turn off, especially on demand. But I care about every day of your precious PTO, and so should you. Try these ideas below to shake off the world faster. Relaxation doesn't have to come with a lag. It's time to master the art of teleporting your mind to vacation mode, pronto!

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Does singing karaoke in the hotel bar scare you? Would you be the last person who would go down the big water slide at the hotel splash zone? Then you should do all those things. The combination of thrill, pride, and adrenaline from the activities that make you a little nervous – will help you feel worlds away from the world. Here is the key, when searching for comfort zone expansion, you're looking for things you would like to have done looking back but are scared to do. Focus there. If something is truly not your bag, then don't waste a moment of your precious vacation doing it.

Run from Your Technology

As you can tell by the title of my recent article, Leave It All Behind: Embrace the Power of Truly Unplugged Vacations – I'm a huge proponent of being fully disconnected on vacation. There are many reasons for this conviction, but one of them is that it speeds up disconnection when you disconnect. Removing the subtle tendrils of work thoughts wafting through your mind will speed up your ability to turn to the fresh and different experience of where you are right now. If you want your phone for a camera, put it on airplane mode during the day. Try to rent cars with internal GPSs so you can resist that excuse for getting the phone out. Or take one of your kid's phones for the GPS and looking up restaurants for a double bonus - they are forced to go phone-free while you refrain from contact with yours.

Read more: The Importance of Doing Nothing

Seek Boutique Experiences

On vacation, make the unfamiliar your focus. Don't settle for the global ubiquity of a Starbucks latte when you can savor the authenticity of a locally brewed chai in a funky little roadside coffee cart called "Bean Me Up." Experiencing the local art, history, and traditions broadens your perspectives and helps anchor you in your new surroundings. By fully immersing yourself in a world different from your own, you can fast-track the switch from 'vacation anticipation' to 'vacation sensation.'

Discover: Day Tripping Revisited

'Being' vs. 'Doing'

In our everyday lives, we're often stuck in the 'doing' mode, perpetually checking off tasks from our endless to-do lists. However, a vacation is the perfect opportunity to switch gears to the 'being' mode. This involves simply soaking in the present moment and truly experiencing it rather than chasing the next activity or landmark. When you're basking in the sun on a Caribbean beach, take a moment to just 'be .'Feel the sand between your toes, listen to the rhythm of the crashing waves, and relish the taste of your tropical cocktail. This shift to 'being' can be an instant reset button to fast-forward you into vacation mode. BTW- it's super hard, and your mind will fly to a million places, but keep practicing.

Reframing the Mundane 

How about turning tedious experiences into enjoyable ones? Airports, for instance, are often associated with long lines, tiresome waits, and bland food. But what if you viewed airports as the launchpads to your exciting vacation? Take in the buzz of activity, the anticipation of fellow travelers, the eclectic mix of accents and languages. The people-watching at airports can be spectacular. Changing your perspective can work wonders in ushering you quickly into vacation mode.

Be a Pro-Vacation Boss

And if you are the boss, find any means to force employees to truly leave work behind so they can arrive at their vacation faster. Bart may inspire you. Bart Lorang, CEO of Full Contact, had an epiphany after seeing a photo of himself, engrossed in emails while atop a camel by the Egyptian pyramids. The epiphany sparked a transformation in his vacation policies. To combat "hero syndrome," he offered employees a $7,500 bonus for taking a week-long, fully unplugged holiday (but only if they never checked in.) This initiative, "paid paid vacation," not only fostered camaraderie but also became a magnet for talented professionals, reducing burnout and churn. After their digital detox, employees returned refreshed, brimming with renewed energy and eagerness for their upcoming tasks.

Adding these strategies above to your travel toolkit will help fast-track your transition into vacation mode and enhance the richness and depth of your experiences. Remember, the objective isn't to cram these strategies into a new 'to-do list'. Think of them as a 'to-experience list' that paves the way to a fulfilling, engaging, and relaxed vacation. These tips will ensure you're basking in vacation vibes even before the sunscreen can sink in!

This article was also published on Juliet Funt's LinkedIn

Edited by: Irfan Razali

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Juliet Funt is the founder and CEO at JFG (Juliet Funt Group), which is a consulting and training firm built upon the popular teaching of CEO Juliet Funt, author of A Minute to Think.

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