How to Live Life on Vacation: Your Guide to Living Well Every Day

Kristi is a wife and mom of 3 who writes for JugglingNormal and Medium. This article first appeared here, and is republished in whole.

A 4-Part Series — Part 1

It’s VACAY SEASON!!!!!! But what if it never had to end?

First, I’m going to tell you why vacations are not only important, but if you live your life like you are on vacation, it can be a mindset game-changer. Then I’m going to explain how to easily incorporate the lessons into your daily practice, dramatically enhancing your life without a lot of extra work or disruptive changes. Then I’m going to tell you exactly how to do it, so you can start reaping the benefits immediately. Finally, I’ll show you how to make your new approach more sustainable, so it sticks, benefiting you long-term.

I made it a four-part series so you can really dive in and absorb each piece. Each part takes about 10–15 minutes total to read and do the accompanying exercise and whether you have been on vacation already this summer, are anticipating a trip before fall, or don’t have anything scheduled at all, after we’re done with all four parts, you will feel reinvigorated and excited and have that fresh-from-vacation glow!

Part 1

Let’s get started. I’ll add the audio elements on Instagram if you’d like to do the visualizations together. Otherwise, read them and follow along, or ask a friend or your spouse to read them to you while your eyes are closed. Ready? First, take three deep cleansing breaths. Then, grab your journal and a pen. Now close your eyes and picture your most recent, most fabulous vacation. Keep your eyes closed and take in the details. Breathe deeply while you spend two-three minutes savoring everything you can remember about it. Allow yourself to be transported back to that place and time and get in touch with how it looked, smelled, sounded, tasted, and felt.

When you open your eyes, write some notes about your vacation. Where were you? What were you wearing? What did you do? What did you not do? What did you say? Who were you with? What did you eat? What sounds did you hear? What did you take pictures of? What made it so great? What made it memorable? What aspects did you love best? How did you behave? What was different about your time, your attitude, and personality on vacation vs. real-life you? And finally, what did you hope would never end?

There’s a lot of reasons this exercise is powerful. It’s a feel-good mood-booster. Savoring is an aspect of gratitude that has scientifically been proven to make us happier and to improve our well-being. It’s also fun. Vacation memories often contain some of life’s best memories, so reflecting gives us a little reminder of our highlights and a glimpse into how good life can be.

Beyond that though, there’s a reason that vacations are so memorable, impactful, and feel so good, and it’s not just about the obvious. Sure, a beautiful setting, an ideal climate, a change of scenery, good company, good food, good conversation, and a slower, less stressful pace can be amazing, but one of the most powerful aspects of a vacation is something that you can incorporate into your real life. And that’s the ability to maximize the moments of your life.

Think about it. Think about the due diligence it took to execute your last vacation. How many months out did you secure the date? Perhaps you had to align a school calendar or two, a work calendar or two, maybe more if multiple families were meeting up. How long did you research destinations before you decided on a spot? How long did you track airfare and accommodations and look up the weather and local calendars and make arrangements back home?

It was probably a lot of work, but it likely didn’t feel draining or difficult; it may have even felt inspiring or empowering. That’s because you were moving yourself (and your family) closer to what you wanted. You were taking steps toward a future you believed in and actively sought. The work you were doing was exciting because you were investing in the outcome and anticipating a payoff that you knew would be worth it.

That’s really powerful. Now imagine for a moment if you lived your life that intentionally. What if you planned ahead with such clarity of purpose? If you researched potential outcomes, backed into the dates, knew the steps you had to take to make it happen, and invested where you got the highest return? What if the work you put in didn’t feel like work, but instead felt exciting, inspiring, and empowering, like you were moving toward something you wanted, something you believed in, a better future, for you and your family?

Now think about the actual vacation you chose to remember again. Whether you went someplace near or far, exotic or familiar, there was probably a sense of urgency about your visit, like you wanted to take full advantage of the opportunities, sights, and attractions that existed locally. Maybe it’s a place you’ll get back to, perhaps it’s a place you’re likely only to visit once, but either way, you probably structured your visit to maximize your time and enjoy the best of the destination while still maintaining a semblance of balance and enjoying some downtime to relax and appreciate your trip.

That is also an incredible approach. Imagine if you lived your life with such focus, conscientiousness, and balance, if you fill it with the best life has to offer and relentlessly pursued the opportunities available to you, while maintaining a sense of what matters to you. What would happen if you looked forward to each day and made choices in concert with squeezing the most of each moment? What if you shared the moments and the highlights with friends and family, and were engaged and intensely present, so you didn’t miss a moment? What if you let go of FOMO because you were living your best life, and anticipated the future, no matter what it holds? How would your approach change? What would that faith look like? What would your days look like? How would you fill your time? How would that differ from right now?

So now that you get a sense of why living your real life as if you are on vacation is such a big deal, next time, in Part 2, we will cover the how.

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