Switch off: can you manage it?

Estimated reading time 3.5 minutes

We are entering the vacation period and most of us are looking forward to a well deserved rest following the working period (those of us that are lucky enough to be able to, as unfortunately many cannot). The problem is that on occasions, we cannot or do not know how to avoid taking those work issues or problems on vacation with us.  We find it difficult to “switch off”. Some people find it tougher than others because their type of job requires some level of connection with their usual day to day. But the real question here does not concern something physical, like having to check emails or your cell once a day. You can do that and be completely switched off the rest of the time, or you may not need to make contact even once but still be mentally online.  Because the issue in question as you will have guessed, is to switch off mentally.

One of the easiest ways to help switch off mentally is to leave things in order before going away. Traditionally, we split the year into two halves. One half coincides with Christmas and Hanukkah and the beginning of the New Year and the other with summer and the vacation period.  It is more common to review the past year at the beginning of the new year and set ourselves New Year “resolutions”.  It is not so common to do this in summer, however, I do think it is a good idea.  A look back as to how the first part of the year has gone can help us review how things are going, which of the set objectives are being met and which ones need amending.  If we do this before we go on vacation, we can have a picture of where we are with regards to our resolutions and establish where we want to be for the duration of the year.  Doing this exercise allows us organize ourselves before we leave.  You can add the most practical aspects you need to carry out here: complete tasks, place orders you will not be able to carry out while you are away, leave details of how you can be contacted if an issue arises that could be necessary or of importance to you etc…  What is most important, is that you leave with your head “in order”.

Later comes the most complicated issue: letting go.  Letting go means stop clinging on, facing one’s own fear of loss and allowing things to drift away. It is having that capability to accept that you cannot always control everything, and while you are gone, unexpected things may happen and you will not be there to resolve them. It is also being able to accept that, even when you are there, sometimes there are things that cannot be resolved. It is about dancing with life as your partner, dancing alongside what you have, really living life in the here and now. And the here and now of your vacation is the experience you will be living, whether it is on the beach, the mountain, the city, in a village, at home or abroad.  It is as the Zen proverb says: empty your cup.  Accept that things come and go, that everything comes to an end and that everything changes. Emptying our cup allows new things to enter so that we may embark upon new learning.

In the end what is most important is that our vacation, and moreover, our lives, do not end up being just 15 days in August (if you are interested, check out the short film in the link).  Enjoy every minute of your time on vacation.  If you do this now, it will be even easier to do this during working periods also.

I will leave you with a haiku, a sample poem about enjoying the moment:

The moon descends,

swift is the tide,

summer daybreak


What are you going to do in order to switch off?  Are you capable of letting go?

See you again in September!!!  But if you miss me during the summer, you can read some posts in my blog, this year our summer will be Zen.