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Vacation: A way to feel more stressed or shut off your monkey mind?

Talking about future vacation is quite common. Especially when it involves complaining about the workload and mentioning the countdown for the well-deserved rest. People can spend weeks – months even! – planning the perfect vacation. From finding the destination that better fits the family’s preferences to booking the flights. From picking the hotel, including the type of room and decoration, to a detailed planning of all activities to do in the proximity.

It is a thorough process which brings up a lot of decisions to be made, therefore usually a considerable amount of debate and disagreements within the inner circle. After all that back and forth – with the travel agency and/ or endless online searches – a final decision is made and the whole family sighs with relief.

Usually there is an anticipation period described by eagerness and enthusiasm before the stress hits again. Often during this phase, people share their excitement with extended family and friends. Some enjoy showing photos of the destination spot and asking for recommendations. Some refer to their future break every chance they get, including during work meetings. Let us say it is the kind of zest that spreads everywhere, also leaving others around mildly jealous.

A few days to a week prior to departure, people start to feel overwhelmed. In between professional responsibilities to hand over, last-minute shopping for essentials, deciding what to bring, packing, making sure the kids do not fall sick; the whole positive aura disappears giving way to a hair-raising mood. This tension starts to dissipate somewhere between the check-in and the first time you realize you are physically in a different place.

What is curious is how some people have a hard time accepting this change of scenery. They have the perfect vacation spot (personal choice anyway!), they have activities booked, they have the family around, they have the free time…however their mind is somewhere else. Psychically they are moving through a different space they were just a few hours back, their feet are already on the destination ground, but their minds were left behind.

Perhaps this is one of the main reasons why people commonly mention that takes at least 1-week before getting in vacation mood. If they spend the first days drifting, their mind still filled with yesterdays problems, then this time gap is understandable. For some of us, it is incredibly hard to shut off our monkey mind. What are we afraid of? This is a question worth diving into if you feel up for it.

I have heard all kinds of deflecting answers so far. I used to give some of these masked answers! “Work is too important, there are people counting on me”. “This is not what I had in mind”. “We should have picked another destination”. “The weather is crap”. “I have so much to do when I get back”. And the list goes on and on.

Let us look at the question once more: What are you afraid of? If you shut off your monkey mind, what do you think will happen? Even if you have pictured the worst-case scenario, what would that look like? Going on vacation is more than just giving our physical self a rest. When we allow the mind to shut off from our usual thinking pattern, we give ourselves an opportunity to reconnect. To reconnect with our loved ones and with ourselves. A way to find and explore newness outside as much as within.

Next time you go on vacation, let yourself land there entirely – in body, in mind, in spirit. Instead of counting the days you have left, be present and enjoy each day as they are your first and last. This way, when you are back and are asked about your vacation, rather than go with the usual “It was great, but it went away so fast that I’m ready to go again”, you can say “I enjoyed every second and I feel completely re-energized”. And this time you really mean it!

#vacation #break #monkeymind #stress #decisions #destination #family #work #enjoy #vibes

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