What if you could work like you’re on vacation?
We’ve thought about how to work from a state of flow a lot this past year. As we started to shed off the hustle mindset, we began to question what would happen if we approached our lives like we’re on vacation every day. What would we do more of? How would our days look and feel like?
Would it not be great to incorporate this mindset into our work, too? Could we actually create real results if we approached business with the ease of being on vacation? Yea, we hear you, there’s no way. But wait, maybe there is a way. See, if somebody is thinking about it, there must be.
The 101 on Vacations
We take vacations to relax, have fun, connect with loved ones, to immerse ourselves in new experiences, and to get away for a moment. Many studies show that people are generally happier when they take their off-time seriously. Vacationers also get more raises, which makes sense: a happier person will naturally do a better job.
But what baffled us in our research was that a large number of people aren’t actually using the vacation days that they accumulate. A survey from US Travel Association shows that 84 % of Americans say they value vacation, but they only use eight days a year to go through their bucket list. Even odder is that not some don’t take any time off, like none at all. Last year, there were 663 million vacation days left on the table completely unused. That equals to 1.8 million years… wow!
Western society is largely built on an obsession with productivity, results, and constantly doing more. In that light, our research findings aren’t really shocking. The problem is that we’re overworking ourselves to the point that stress-related illnesses are at an all-time high. We’ve had our fair share of that.
The more we thought about it, the more we realized that waiting an entire year to get a month off isn’t that appealing either. You see, if the average person spends 30 years working and takes an annual month off, their vacation time sums up to approximately two years. Is this traditional model really enough to carry us through? We think no.
So.. How have we approached incorporating vacation into our daily lives? First, we thought about how we approach our days and tasks on vacation versus daily life. Next, we listed how we wanted to feel and what we wanted to do more of. Lastly, we started to implement these into our days.
The most simple habits we’ve incorporated into our lives:
Wake Up With the Sun
The journey to vacation living (and working) starts at sunrise. Or later, whatever fits you, you are on vacation after all. Get up slowly, make your favorite coffee or tea, and relax.
Greet your day with appreciation, review encouraging quotes, journal, and enjoy a moment of just being. If you have a busy morning getting children to school or other responsibilities, either wake up a couple hours earlier or get your alone time after the house calms down.
Implementing a morning routine has been a game changer for us. We highly recommend reading the book Miracle Morning, and doing a little trial and error to create the perfect routine that works for you.
Dance Like No One is Watching
Before you settle into your workspace, tune your body in for a creative, fun day. Do a little dance, sing in the shower, or do your favorite workout bright and early. We’re totally serious — these are proven hacks to get your creative juices flowing.
Make sure to fill your days with little lighthearted breaks during your workflow. Be creative: kiss the mirror when you pass by, skip a little, do a handstand against the wall.
Feel the Earth Beneath You
Get a dose of natural, sun-given vitamin D — your body and mind need it for optimal wellbeing! Did you know that there are many studies reaffirming us that walking lifts up the mood and releases dopamine? That happens on a very short walk, too, when you least expect it.
For an extra lift, greet a cat or dog along the way. Or leave your shoes at your desk and let your bare feet feel the ground beneath you. Draw your own sunshine if it is cloudy, your mind does not know the difference. You are on vacation.
The Art of Smiling
On vacation, we tend to smile more. Stop to greet and appreciate every person you meet while out and about. It’s such a simple act that changes people’s lives — it causes shifts in your own life and mood, and also in those around you. It’s amazing how connected we feel to complete strangers by simply trading smiles as we walk past.
See, smiling lowers the heart rate, which lowers stress levels. Research has shown that smiling makes people live longer, and yeah, look better. You also become more creative and happier. It really does not matter if you don’t feel like smiling, the gesture is so powerful that it releases dopamine in your brain even if it’s forced. So if you’re in a bad mood, fake it ‘til you make it!
Your Environment Matters
Think about the atmosphere you’re working in; consider the physical, esthetical, environmental, and yes, relational. How can you recreate your space so that it excites and makes you feel like you’re on holiday? If you are anything like us, you love nature, so you should fill your surroundings with natural elements. Waterfalls, plants, and beautiful pictures on the wall.
Declutter, buy a book on Feng Shui, and get good energy flowing in your home and workstation. Pay attention to lighting and ergonomically when you build your workspace. Your body will thank you.
Meditate, Baby, Meditate
Mediation is no joke. It reduces stress and crime, and the more we meditate, the more we start seeing one another like we see ourselves. There are over 1500 scientific studies on the health benefits of meditation: it combats signs of aging, illness, and improves overall wellbeing. It stimulates our brain areas that allow us to tap into our intuition and learn more about ourselves.
It also connects your right and left brain, strengthening the pathways for both creative and critical thinking. As we quiet down, we are able to come up with innovative ideas.
Instead of going to a busy break room or sipping coffee and staring at the wall at home, try a 20-minute mindfulness meditation time in a designated place in your home. We recommend the app Insight Timer. You can even buy a little tent and set it in the favorite part of your house or create a cosy meditation corner. We guarantee you will be refreshed and become addicted in the best way!
Do Something New everyday
We talk about the power of play in our previous blog post, and to start off 2019, we’re doing a challenge of doing something new every day. This can be anything from going to a new class at the gym to walking up the stairs backwards. Really, we’re serious!
There is research that shows that when we give our brain a small task that it has never done before, it fires up new electrons, and that contributes to improved problem solving skills, increased creative thinking, and new energy to you. Plus, doing something new everyday brings a good dose of care-free vacation vibes to our days. Booya!
What to do first? Make a list of 30 things that you could do for the next 30 days that you have never done before. They can be small things. Ask your family, ask google.
Written by Kirsi-Marja Hardy