Have a holiday that meets your needs

Photo by Curate Labs & Magazine on Unsplash

What constitutes the “perfect getaway”? This time of year, the promise of a dream holiday is plastered across cheap brochures like flies on a beached whale. All-inclusive packages are punted with every essential ingredient – tropical weather, rolling beaches and long island on-tap. And yet, we often return from these retreats more depleted (and broke) than how we had left. Even if you manage a semblance of rest, daily life has a way of hum-drumming the sunlight right out of your stride.

How then, do we find the much needed respite from life’s pressures?

Sunny on the outside; rainy within

We exist in two worlds: the external, physical, and internal, conceptual. The external world shapes our internal world, and vice versa. When you’re on a beach, the soothing rays of sunlight can shift your internal state, relaxing your soul and renewing your mind. In the same way, the manager with a cool, confident presence can implement external structures that facilitate a calm working space. You could say that our existence is shaped by the dance between the physical and immaterial.

What, then, constitutes the perfect holiday? Is it the external? The luxurious venue with sweeping ocean views and butlers at your every bid and call; or the internal experiences of being loved; the silencing of the mind, and energy for the new year?

What ‘getting away’ really means

When we consider the interplay between our interior and exterior, we are able to make more considered, intentional choices: whether aiming for the dream destination, or dream job. To help with this process, I like to use the following reflective question:

What do I need from this?

Knowing our own needs is harder than it sounds. In fact, our interior state can be so hidden from the conscious mind, that many of us are entirely disconnected from it.

Take, for instance, the stereotype of an overworked, under-appreciated mother. When asked: “how are you doing?” The answer often run in the lines of: “Oh, I’m very well, thank you. Little Oliver had such a great week at preschool, and Bernice has made amazing new friends.”

Her nurturing role – though a lovely and essential part of parenting – can obscure her own internal sense of self, and her own needs independent from her family.

When you ask the same question from a multi-national CEO, the reply might be: “We’re still in the middle of closing the biggest deal of the decade. I’ll get back to you about how I’m doing when this thing is signed off.”

When asked about their ideal holiday, the mother would probably frame her answer in context of her children’s needs, and the CEO in context of the business needs. These identifications with family and work is a natural, healthy part of being human. However, over-identification can often lead to burnout, nervous breakdowns, co-dependence and even physical illness.

It is important for our own well-being to know the difference between our own needs and the needs of those around us. To get to these core needs, I like to use the following 3 questions:

1) What does my body need right now, independent of all other people and projects?

2) What does my mind need right now, independent of all other people and projects?

3) What does my heart need right now, independent of all other people and projects?

Spend some time reflecting on these questions, and you might be surprised by the ideas, feelings and needs that surface. When they do, let them, and maybe write them down. They could give you a lot of insight on what’s going on beneath the surface.

Taking care of our needs

Once you’ve identified what your needs are, you would probably be better able to plan your next holiday: one that truly rests and rejuvenates.

It is too easy to be swept up in exotic, brainwashing ideas of what a ‘getaway’ means. Don’t neglect your fundamental human need for love, nurture and rest. Someone who can take adequate care of themselves, is better able to take care of their kids and their business.