Written by: Maria-Stella Contera, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Holidays are meant to be viewed as an experience for creating lasting memories, not as an escape from your daily routine. If your current perspective on holidays is more about seeking a luxury escape, it might be time to consider a transformative change in your life. Start by identifying the blocks that may be preventing you from living life to its fullest. Are you consistently yearning for your next “luxury escape”?
Why is it that when someone mentions going on a holiday, their tone often reflects an eagerness to break free from their current daily life? We hear, “I can’t wait to get away”! “I'm counting down the days until I’m out of here". "I need a breather from the constant hustle and bustle". "A holiday is just what the doctor ordered to de-stress". "I can't wait to relax and have peace and quiet". "I'm in serious need of a break".
Be honest with yourself, have you ever said any of the above? Most of us can probably relate to more than one. And you know what, on the occasion that is fine, it may be that the year has been a difficult one and you are in need of some R&R but psst, want to know a life-changing “secret”? Going on holiday isn’t the only way to de-stress or recharge. There are lots of ways to feel motivated, energised, and recharged without having to plan your “escape”. When holidays are consistently used to escape your everyday life, perhaps ask yourself – What in your everyday life are you needing to escape from?
What is it about your current circumstances that you can’t look forward to the day in front of you or the one after it? Why are we looking forward to what’s coming in the months, or year ahead rather than what’s in front of us now? Why is it that holidays are seen as an escape or a very small time in our life to feel relaxed and enjoy ourselves? Why are they not seen as a chance to live out an experience, create memories, and enjoy time with loved ones, or just to have some added fun in our lives? Going on holidays should be part of your life that’s adding to it to create memories and experience but if it’s being used to escape your everyday life, then you have to ask yourself what is it that you’re constantly escaping? Are you dissatisfied in areas of your work and personal life? Is it that your work-life balance is so out of whack that you’re using a band-aid solution to get it back on track? Why are you waiting till a moment when you can escape on holidays to feel recharged when you should be feeling recharged most mornings when you get up after a good night’s sleep?
So, what does escape mean? To escape is to break free, to get out of a situation you don’t want to be in. If you are using holidays as an escape you need to consider, what are you escaping from. You see, in reality, when you return back from holidays the same life, the one you escaped from, will be right where you left it, waiting for you. Holidays should be an additional bonus to a life that is already happy and healthy.
When people feel exhausted or burnout having a break or holiday for a few days or weeks isn’t going to change anything permanently. Plus, I guarantee you are going to spend the last part of your holiday not enjoying it because you're already thinking (perhaps even dreading!) about returning to the grind, the rut, that job. In this scenario, your holiday is your band-aid solution, not the fundamental solution to what it is you’re escaping.
I get that some of us sound out holidays as a time to have fun and enjoy the experience of immersing ourselves into different parts and cultures of the world, but when others are using it to “escape” then the holiday is not the solution, sadly it is just a temporary relief of a greater problem that you will be returning back to once your momentary “escape” concludes.
In a world where the hustle and bustle of daily life can often leave us feeling overwhelmed and stressed, holidays offer a much-needed respite. For many, the idea of a holiday brings to mind images of luxury locations, sandy beaches, exotic locales, or even just a quiet cabin in the woods. It's a chance to escape from the monotony of our routine, leaving behind the stressors and responsibilities that often weigh us down.
However, it's essential to ask ourselves whether holidays should merely be seen as a means of escape from our everyday lives or if they can serve a more profound purpose. I believe that holidays are not just about escaping; they are about creating meaningful experiences that enrich our lives and leave us with cherished memories.
Let's begin by addressing the concept of "escape." When we talk about escaping, we're essentially trying to get away from something we find unpleasant or unsatisfying in our daily existence. It might be a stressful job, a troubled relationship, or simply the feeling of being stuck in a routine that no longer brings us joy. While taking a break from these stressors is necessary for our mental and emotional well-being, it's equally crucial to recognize that escaping alone won't lead to lasting happiness and greater well-being.
True happiness, fulfillment, and greater well-being come from addressing the root causes of our exhaustion, lack of motivation, and cynicism by taking steps to change them. If you find yourself constantly yearning for an escape, it might be time to introspect and identify the underlying issues that need attention. Then taking action to address these concerns can lead to a more fulfilling life overall.
In today's fast-paced world, finding a balance between work and personal life, reducing stress, and waking up recharged each morning can be a formidable challenge. However, it's not an unattainable goal with a holistic approach. These 10 strategies can transform your daily life to create balance, so your next holiday isn't a method of detachment from your life.
1. Set boundaries
One step to achieving a better work-life balance and reducing stress is setting clear boundaries. Define your work hours and personal time, and stick to them as closely as possible. Prioritize tasks, delegating or postponing less important ones. Understanding your limits and respecting your boundaries is essential for long-term balance.
2. Time management
Effective time management is crucial in reducing stress and achieving a better balance. Use tools like to-do lists, time blocking, and digital calendars to keep track of your tasks. Be efficient at work, breaking tasks into manageable chunks, and eliminating distractions. This allows you to complete tasks faster and free up more personal time.
3. It’s ok to have time to yourself
Time for yourself, and only yourself, is a fundamental component of reducing stress and maintaining a balanced life and should not impose guilt. Prioritize time for activities such as exercise, meditation, journaling, or even just some quiet time alone. These activities can help you relax, recharge, and better cope with the demands of daily life.
4. Digital disconnect
The constant connectivity of our digital age can contribute to stress and hinder a work-life balance. Make it a habit to unplug regularly, especially during personal time. Disconnect from work-related notifications and immerse yourself in the present moment. This allows you to truly recharge and relax.
5. Evening wind down, not wind up
Waking up recharged each morning starts with a calming evening routine. Prepare for a good night's sleep by winding down and stepping away from the screen. Devices can paradoxically wind us up rather than help us wind down. The constant notifications, digital distractions, and information overload can leave us feeling more anxious and stressed. To truly unwind and rejuvenate, it's essential to unplug from the digital world, allowing ourselves the opportunity to disconnect from the noise and reconnect with getting a restful night's sleep for a recharged morning.
6. Eat well, move more
A balanced diet and regular physical activity contribute to lower stress levels and improved overall well-being. Prioritize a diet rich in nutrients and engage in regular exercise, especially if your day is mostly desk-bound. A good diet and exercise routine releases endorphins and reduces stress. This holistic approach positively impacts your work-life balance and dramatically improves energy levels.
7. Delegate! Delegate! Delegate!
Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks or seek help in both your personal and professional life. Delegating should be regarded as a strength, not a weakness. Sharing responsibilities can reduce the stress and overwhelm that often accompanies trying to do everything alone.
8. Reflect and adjust
Regularly reflect on your work-life balance and overall well-being if you are consistently feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Then where necessary make adjustments to your daily routine and lifestyle. A holistic wellness coach is a great support to help you identify the adjustments needed and to keep you accountable for creating the change.
9. Learn to (unapologetically) say no
Saying no is not a sign of weakness but a fundamental strength to achieving balance. Avoid overcommitting yourself, whether it's taking on too many work projects or social engagements. Prioritize quality over quantity in your personal and professional life. You’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll gain when you carefully sort, sift, and select your choice of commitments. And remember, you don't need to back up your decision with an apology – you owe no apology for granting yourself breathing space.
10. Guidance and support
If achieving a balanced life and reducing stress remains an ongoing challenge, consider seeking the support of a holistic wellness coach who specializes in work-life balance, minimising overwhelm, and protecting you from burnout. They can provide personalized strategies and guidance and empower you to create the change you desire.
Achieving a better work-life balance, reducing stress, and waking up recharged each morning requires a holistic approach. It involves setting boundaries, efficient time management, self-care, disconnection, and healthy lifestyle choices. Regular self-assessment and the willingness to seek support are essential components of a balanced and fulfilling life. It's a journey, and progress is made one step at a time. Once you’ve mastered this, then holidays are not merely seen as the luxury escape from life's challenges but as opportunities to create meaningful experiences that can positively impact our lives. So, instead of running away, take a proactive approach to address the sources of discontentment.
By embracing holidays as experiences, not as an escape, we are leading happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.
Ready to take the first step towards a balanced and fulfilling life? Work & be Well’s coaching service is here to guide you on your journey to a healthier, happier you. Discover the transformative power of personalized support and expert guidance. If you find yourself spiralling and struggling with feelings of imbalance, loss of control over your life, and constantly feeling overwhelmed by an endless to-do list, take the first step to regain control, improve your health, and restore balance in your life. Contact us today to regain your harmonious and fulfilling lifestyle.
Maria-Stella Contera, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Maria-Stella is a passionate advocate for women's health and well-being, who embarked on a transformative journey from corporate burnout to becoming a beacon of empowerment and education. With a profound understanding of the challenges women face in maintaining their wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle whilst juggling multiple responsibilities, Maria-Stella offers a unique and proven strategy for the prevention and management of burnout. Maria-Stella's resolute mission is clear: to empower and educate women to be in control of their health and wellbeing so they live life at their healthiest and personal best. She does this without adding extra pressures into their busy life and without feeling guilty.