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Your Vacation for Body, Mind, and Spirit

by Patricia Fry

If you're like many executives, you live from vacation to vacation. When work becomes overwhelming, it's thoughts of Maui, Miami or Madrid that keep you going.

But, after you fly or sail away to an exciting getaway spot, do you come home relaxed, refreshed and recharged? Or do your vacations typically leave you physically and mentally exhausted? If memories of your last trip include sunburn, heartburn, inconveniences and a deflated wallet, you probably aren't taking full advantage of the experience.

The dynamics of a vacation involves more than seeing every sight, eating and drinking everything in sight and working on your tan. It should also be about breaking old patterns, strengthening relationships and personal growth. The most valuable part of any vacation is not what goes on externally, but what occurs internally.

Many executives operate their lives in high gear. Even on vacation, they try to cram as much into their itinerary as possible. And then they wonder why they return home feeling the need for a vacation.

As you plan your next holiday, consider going on an inner vacation. Here are some tips:

Make the most of your vacation time. Visualize yourself dropping off your worries and concerns into the ocean waters or a deep canyon as you fly, sail or drive to your destination. Your holiday will be more successful if you approach it in a relaxed manner. If your thoughts are back at the office, you're missing the very essence of a vacation. Anxiety blinds you even to beautiful, peaceful surroundings and drains you of precious energy and peace of mind.

Go with the flow. You can't always control circumstances while traveling, but you can decide how you will react to them. The easiest way to spoil a holiday is to have expectations. Expectations breed disappointment which can lead to frustration. Instead of becoming angry when plans go awry, try to look for the opportunity in the situation.

Maybe your plane is delayed or your hotel room isn't ready when you arrive. Rather than yelling at the counter clerk, or saying, "This isn't fair." "I'm miserable waiting here like this." Say, instead, "This will give me a change to reflect (or to read or to walk)." Or "I might as well relax and enjoy meeting some of the folks waiting around me."

Change old habits. Follow your daily rituals as they relate to your health and well being, but break away from your lifestyle routine. By trying to maintain your regular schedule, you're defeating the purpose of getting away. This does not mean engaging in excessive behavior, but do expand your horizons. Try new things. Learn new things.

Renew your relationships. Whether you're traveling with your spouse, children, friends or business associates, this is an excellent opportunity to strengthen those relationships. Spend time together laughing, being playful and sharing carefree moments. Don't worry about structuring this time. Simply by being together and being present in your togetherness, your relationship will benefit.

Tune into yourself. A vacation is an excellent time to reflect on who you are and who you wish to become. Notice how you react in various situations. Review your life choices. Are they aligned with your priorities? Define changes that you may want to make and start the process of transformation.

Do you want your vacations to last a little longer? Take an inner vacation and it can enhance and enrich your life for months to come.

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