Go On Holiday

Jul 21, 2016

There are myriad resources for why it's important to take time away from work and how to do so, well. Fundamentally, it's a matter of choice and responsibility. First, you must choose, clearly and firmly, to take time away from work (fully, completely away); and second, you must be disciplined about not working, about being present with what you're doing and who you're with.

Lets talk about the word we use to describe our time away from work, when we take a block of time for ourselves. Specifically, do we "go on vacation" or "take a holiday?" When I work with coaching clients I focus on the language we use. Why? Because how we "language" something determines what it means to us. And what something means to us determines how we will experience it.

Check out these definitions, courtesy of Merriam-Webster:

Vacation- 1: a respite or a time of respite from something, intermission; 2a:  a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended, 2b: a period of exemption from work granted to an employee; 3: a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation <had a restful vacation at the beach>; 4: an act or an instance of vacating

Holiday, on the other hand, is something a bit different:

Holiday- 1:holy day; 2: a day on which one is exempt from work; specifically: a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event; 3: chiefly British, vacation —often used in the phrase on holiday —often used in plural; 4: a period of exemption or relief <corporations enjoying a tax holiday>.

The word "vacation" is a little problematic for me. First, is it merely an "intermission?" What's an intermission anyway, but a short or passing sort of break between things? And the act or instance of "vacating?" Does that sound restorative? Not to me. A "holy day" (or days) is a whole other kettle of fish! Without getting religious, what if we "went on holiday" and it was a holy -- or if you prefer, sacred -- time? How you would approach that sort of time?

I imagine you'd really, truly disconnect from work, and connect with yourself, and with the place where you were, and the people you were with. You would disconnect with the regimen of the the daily grind and switch to "island/lake/shore/mountain" time. You could let the (dis)stress of deadlines, meetings and the like melt away and enjoy the breeze while laying in a hammock or hiking in the woods, or playing in the water or whatever it is you do when you're doing exactly what you want to do.

Try it out this year. Instead of "taking a vacation," "go on holiday," and see how that feels. I bet you'll return to work more refreshed, more rested and more energized.

Want to know more about how to have a great time on holiday? Check out some resources below!

Secrets of a Great Vacation

How to Vacation Like a Pro
The Scientifically Proven Way To Have The Best Vacation Ever

Matthew Hawley is a member of HYPE's Personal & Professional Development Committee. Matthew is a Business and Career Coach and helps his clients to have more money, time and energy.


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