How to reset your life on your next holiday
1 Mar 2024

How to reset your life on your next holiday

How to reset your life on your next holiday.

A reset is an opportunity for you to stop, rest and consider your life choices and current lifestyle and how aligned they are with the person you want to be. Often, we don’t allocate time to consider this and then people can begin to feel disconnected from their lives because they haven’t updated their values, wants and needs and are living an outdated life.

Our lifestyles are often based on choices we made earlier in life, but a conscious reset can afford you a chance to consider your life, especially if you have an inclination that some parts of your life are out of kilter from how you want them to be.

When life changes, even temporarily such as a 2-week holiday, an opportunity to stop and take stock of your life is created due to a break from your usual routine.

Embracing something new can allow you to reassess different aspects of your life such as your work, finances, parenting, relationships and friendships.  You can also consider the roles you have in your life (partner, work colleague, parent, sibling) and how effective you feel you are being or how you’d like to change.

Change is inevitable and something that happens to us, often it Is out of our control and can be anxiety-provoking especially if it happens quickly without warning.  A reset is an opportunity to begin a different life transition, it is a conscious process, one in which our choices and decisions are paramount and instrumental and contribute to our feeling of well-being and authenticity. A transitional shift in internal state can take time, but a holiday is a great opportunity to begin to consider and plan how you want to live, you can be proactive in your changes, and you can pause and push forward so the process can be less linear and less impactful than a sudden change.

A holiday generally gives people more time than usual to relax and this is so beneficial to our bodies. The Parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is often referred to as the ‘rest and digest’ system as it functions to conserve the body’s natural energy so it can be used later. It helps you rest, regulates bodily functions like digestion and urination and relaxes the body by lowering blood pressure, slowing your heart rate and breathing once a stressful situation or threat has passed. The PNS leads to decreased arousal and, the more time we spend with the PNS activated, the better we feel and healthier we are.

Most relaxation techniques such as controlled breathing, meditation, massage, talking therapies, exercise and yoga aim to stimulate the PNS. On holiday we often have greater opportunity to trigger our PNS and this in turn can help us reduce worry and quieten down the chattering voices in our head. Soothing and restful activities such as facials, listening to music, going to a spa, having a swim, reading, and having a lie in, can all help the body to relax. It can be good to try re-energising activities too.

Stress can cause you to tense your muscles and a way to relieve muscle tension is by using progressive muscle relaxation exercises. In this technique, you tense up a particular group of muscles (for example the shoulder blades and the back) for approximately five seconds and then relax the muscles and keep them relaxed for approximately 10 seconds. Then you move on to the next set of muscles and consciously make your way around the whole body.

On holiday you can make the time to listen to your body. Self-care is about looking after your body and meeting your needs. Use this time to exercise, eat well and sleep. Give your body the fuel and nourishment it needs in the right amounts. A balanced self-care routine would include supporting yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Think about the idea of taking care of yourself in a way that feeds your soul and brings you joy, you can see how this connects with what is important to you deep in your soul at a spiritual level.

Whilst on your holiday try re-energising activities such as horse riding, kayaking or kite-surfing. Playful activity is not only good for the soul, but it releases endorphins in the bloodstream which can help us release stress, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, enhance brain function and help create a feeling of well-being. Endorphins are often known as the body’s natural pain reliever or stress release. An increase in physical exercise can also increase the quality of your sleep.

Two helpful ways to gently get started on developing a reset so you’re not overwhelmed are:

  1. Reassess your values and choose one area of your life to concentrate on changing.
  2. Don’t set goals but consider a theme for your life.

Reassessing values. Our values, needs and goals change during the course of our lives. To live well in midlife or at any age, our values, needs and goals must be current and related to who we are and who we aspire to be. Values and needs are closely linked. Values refer to what we find meaningful and important in life, guiding our sense of right and wrong and acting as the compass of life guiding our behaviour. Needs are a set of requirements you deem necessary for a healthy life and for your well-being. Often we don’t tend to actively reassess our values and needs in adulthood and how they might have changed from childhood. The values of an adolescent might be power, money and success but the values of a midlifer (aged 35-60) might be freedom, fun, autonomy and contribution. Vastly different and can help explain why sometimes we might feel disconnected from our lives, because of the fact we are living according to outdated values.

A theme for life. Don’t set goals but develop a theme for life. Midlife goals are not always definable, and happiness isn’t achieved by one singular event. If you can’t reach a definable goal, I suggest living according to a theme of how you want to live. A theme is a guiding principle, your personal manifesto, based on your values and a declaration of how you want to live your life. It gives you opportunities for contentment every day, as your actions connect with what’s important and essential for you. A theme is alive with an ongoing sense of meaning that underpins your choices and actions. It is a way to be content and satisfied in life and to acknowledge that you are good enough. It is an alternative to a goal which, if not achieved, can be demoralising and make you feel like a failure. What will the theme of the second half of your life be? It can be a single word such as ‘growth’, ‘kindness’, or ‘autonomy’, or it can answer the question ‘Who do I want to be?’  in ways such as ‘I want to be more me’ or ‘I want to

Your next break, could be your time to set yourself up for a more attuned and fulfilling future.