Are you getting ready to leave on a summer holiday? If so you’re probably filled with anticipation about your upcoming break from the daily grind. You may recall from holidays past that this important escape may afford you many benefits including: adventure, relaxed and rewarding time spent with friends or loved ones, rekindling your romance, much-needed rest, fresh perspective on your day-to-day life or bursts of creativity.
I hate to rain on your parade but here’s the bad news (and I hear it repeatedly at summer’s end): The euphoria we feel while on vacation usually turns to despair when we’re hit with the realities of our post-Labor Day lives. The wonderful holiday we’ve just experienced becomes but a distant memory and we find ourselves feeling more overwhelmed and stressed than we did prior to going away!
After the summer solstice we tend to flip a switch and “throw caution to the winds”, tired of our usual schedules and responsibilities. Partially due to long, warm days coupled with a shift in the sun’s rays we feel lighter and more care-free. We feel energized but don’t necessarily want to pour our renewed vigor into the “have tos” of life. Unfortunately we all-too-often pay for this mindset at summer’s end.
Is any of this sounding familiar? If so why not take a new approach; one that will make the transition into Fall easier and less stressful? Begin by thinking about the following:
• What, historically, stresses you most as autumn approaches?
• What steps can you take to address these stressors before leaving for vacation?
Once you’ve addressed these questions put together an action plan of things you can accomplish before your trip. Below are some steps to consider:
• Rent a dumpster and purge files, basement and attic of unnecessary items.
• Straighten drawers, closets, cabinets and garages.
• Go through your fall/winter wardrobe and bring unwanted items to Good Will, a wounded warrior project or another charity of your choice.
• Do a large grocery run to purchase non-perishable items and make a list of the perishables you know you’ll need once you return from vacation.
• Where possible pre-arrange carpools and childcare.
• Schedule dentist and doctor appointments for everyone.
• Start an online calendar for the upcoming year, plugging in the events you already know about.
• If possible sign up now for sports, lessons, exercise and other activities for you and your kids.
• Plan ahead for holiday celebrations; who will host them – where and when.
• Look for sales and buy birthday and holiday gifts without feeling pressured or rushed.
Finally, schedule in some autumn downtime for yourself, even if you don’t yet know how you’ll use it. It’s always easier to fill reserved blocks in with something else than it is to squeeze in free time once your calendar’s already jam-packed.
If you do these things now you’ll truly be able to relax and be “present” during your vacation, knowing that your fall planning is well underway. Further you’ll minimize those usual post-vacation blues and head into autumn feeling refreshed and ready to go!
Summer's Not Just for Vacationing
by Maud Purcell