A special post by Dr. Abigail Hirsch
Every summer I’m surprised how often we hear from folks just back from a “really challenging” vacation. Why are family vacations so…well, not a vacation? How can you actually have a great vacation? Having just taken some time off with my family, and therefore having had the time to indulge in reading the Sunday New York Times, I came across a great article on just that topic. In it, writer and father Matt Richtel outlines how to prepare our brains to to turn down the mental static and let us really relax during vacations.
The article inspired me to write my own, and voilá, here are the Power of Two Top 5 Tips for How to Have a Great Vacation:
- Vary the rhythm. Concerts are better when there is a variety of music. So too are vacations more fun when they have a mixture of fast and slow, active and vegetable, excitement and low key.
- Leave room for spontaneity. The highlight of our recent trip was discovering in the paper one morning that the Ultimate
Frisbee National Championships were being played just down the street. Doing something unplanned and novel is great for putting some pep into your day, vacation, and relationship!
- Make a digital intruders plan. For many of us it’s hard to put down all the digital connections. So all the things one goes on vacation to take a break from often come charging right on in. To unplug and really have a great vacation, try setting a fixed time each day to check-in and let people know you are checked-out. I love getting up an hour early, finding a new coffee house, and doing a one hour check-in. Then the phone goes off and it’s time to enjoy my vacation.
- Hone those skills! The nature of vacation is that it’s a chance to make all kinds of decisions that are just routine in one’s day to day life. Where to eat? What to do? How much to spend? Make sure your communication in marriage and Win-Win Decision Making skills are ready to roll. Check out my workshop video if you’re new to this or need a refresher.
- Most of all LAUGH. Really, lighten up, it’s vacation after all. When the boat is so late you miss your train or the kids spill ketchup all over their shirts, take a deep breath and smile. You can have a great vacation or a lousy one–all depending on how you look at it. Choose to see each challenge as an adventure! If you’re late, hey, it’s not like you’re on a schedule anyway!
Happy Summer, and have a great vacation!
Abigail and the Power of Two Coaching Team