Summer time is upon us, which for many means at least some vacation time to recharge for the next season.
But for some, it may come too late.
It’s not surprising that we often see the highest frequency of burnout or other stress-related incidences just around this time of year as many “crawl” to their vacations.
The reality is that the timing of our much needed (and much deserved) moments of rest is often not organised around our needs but rather staff schedules, company norms, or family demands.
Yet the most unfortunate, is when we have the choice to meet our needs but we ignore it.
Whichever your case, if you are barely making it to your time off, here are a few ways to get there with greater ease.
1) Be strategic and figure out your priorities for NOW.
Any quality of life consideration needs to strike a balance between your own needs and those of others important to you. But only you get to decide what is really critical, despite pressures from the outside. It may not feel that way in your life but it’s actually the truth.
What do you absolutely need to get done before your vacation?
What has the greatest consequences that are truly important to you?
Given your limited energy and motivation, what are “must” achievements and what are “nice to have” achievements that can be delegated or postponed until you come back from your rest?
Now use your best organisation skills, and focus only on what is critical and realistically doable in the time until your vacation.
2) Check in with yourself, and finally figure out what YOU need NOW.
For the next weeks until your scheduled rest, what is it that you are needing most? Is it sleep, time alone, relaxation, fun and laughter, a small getaway, a Netflix marathon, affection, etc.?
We are tired and stressed because we are missing something we need.
So what is it?
Ask yourself this question and answer it honestly and out loud. This is the first fundamental to finding relief ASAP.
Remember, if you feel it genuinely, no one has the right to judge you. What they can judge however, is how you behave as a result. So catch that need and care for it, before it causes damage.
3) Get resourceful, and give it to yourself.
If all the other responsibilities in your life – be they work or family – require regular problem solving and planning to make things work, then why do we not apply the same ingenuity to our own needs?
“There is no time”, “There is no way”, “I just have to deal with it”, “They will not let me”, etc.
It’s not about fighting against circumstances that cannot or are too complicated to change. It is about searching and inventing around them.
Schedule a massage, a daily excursion to a bit of nature, a lunch with a friend, an hour of intimacy with your partner, make a nice meal or go to bed an hour earlier, get to that morning or evening yoga class because you want to (not because you “should”), whatever your pleasure.
And here’s the key: don’t do this once, do as many of these things that you need with some creative organising until your big vacation.
Yes, you may have to communicate your needs because that’s what mature humans do, especially if it requires you to break plans or other people’s expectations. You also don’t owe people your entire life story.
But with some honesty, respect, and kindness, people will understand.
4) Get over your guilt and learn for the future.
If you’re trying to cheat others, skimp out on your responsibilities, and/or whine your way through life, you already have bigger problems. But if you’re reading this, chances are you are not that person.
In fact, you are likely the very opposite, who is no stranger to putting the needs of others above their own.
If you think of the many times you did more, extra, later, longer, without complaint or even voluntarily, now is the time to cash in on a few moments of ease to keep your sanity and wellbeing.
And that’s what it is.
The drama of constantly stressing, suffering and struggling gets old, for you and for everyone else. The fastest way for you to be better for everyone else, yourself first and foremost, is to take your wellbeing into your own hands, and start with small simple solutions.
Then take stock of what you learned in this – about your needs, habits and managing this with others – and take measures for smarter self-care going forward.