Often, vacations set us up for some great inner work. We have space and time to rest, reflect, and reset away from the flurry of daily life. But they can also be full of exciting distractions and if we aren’t careful, we can return feeling more drained than before - needing a vacation from our vacation!
So how do you avoid vacation burnout? Try these three steps to enjoy an aligned vacation this summer.
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As an alignment coach, I am fascinated by what keeps us aligned and it doesn’t stop when I’m traveling. I’m on vacation as I write this. It is my first trip back to the US since moving to the Netherlands in 2018. Since arriving here, I’ve been surprised by the subtle details that suggest synchronicity with the universe, reaffirming my choice to visit here at this time - and even extend my stay!
My trip has revealed three lessons in alignment that I am called to extend to you, as you embark on your own summer travel plans:
1 - Trust your inner wisdom
2 - Recognize anxiety as a signal of transformation
3 - Embrace your realignment rituals
1: Trust your inner wisdom
Let’s start at the beginning. I planned my trip in a bit of a hurry - from ideating to arrival in less than 10 days. It surprised those around me, who reached out to ask if I was rushing home in haste due to a family emergency.
I assured them that everything was okay, but I felt called to see my family and travel home. When I examined it more deeply, I realised the turning point was as seemingly small as a sad face emoji texted from my brother that pulled on my heart strings. This little symbol made me long for home and wonder why I wasn’t going NOW.
When you’re in the internal space of self-awareness and reflection, minor details can indicate opportunities for healing and shift our perspective just enough to spur action.
As my 3 year old daughter and I arrived at my parents house, Gloria jumped right into daily activities, quickly offering to help her grandparents, Oma + Boppa, rake the weeds from the lakefront, assuring her “I’m a good helper; I’m very good at helping.”
I found my place on the grass and watched their comedy routine unfold at the shoreline and it hit me - this is what we came for. This is exactly why we are here. To reunite this trio as they each embrace the roles they’re destined to play: doting grandparents transferring their legacy to a new generation and an eager grandchild solidifying lifelong bonds of unconditional love.
So as you are called to journey to different places, spaces, and people this summer, listen. Listen to what is tugging at your heart. Follow the nudge that is pulling you toward something. And consider the option that you may be a facilitator in something even larger than you think.
2: Recognize anxiety as a signal of transformation
Before going on this trip I felt two things: an intuitive calling to return to the US and also a flurry of anxiety about the whole thing. I realised on this trip that anxiety occurs before I take transformative action: no matter how big or how small. Before we transform, we experience anxiety. It’s like our spirit recognizes that expansion is on the horizon and takes a big inhale as we are about to leap forward.
We do not need to attach feelings or negativity to our anxiety. It isn't here to stop you. Rather it is here to give you pause and acknowledge the barrier you are crossing. It helps you recognise you are on the threshold of transformation. Anxiety gives you an opportunity to reflect on the magnitude of a situation you are going into before it occurs, but doesn’t need to stunt you or stop you from proceeding.
This happens in small and large ways. We feel a tinge of anxiety choosing the right flights and a rush of thrill when we press confirm purchase: our gut shouts whoo-hoo, here we go! We feel it boarding the plane that takes us to our destiny: it’s getting real now!! our inner wisdom exclaims. We feel it accepting and especially declining social offers as we choose the activities that truly honour our desires: I feel uncomfortable letting them down, but I have to prioritise what is best for me and release the drama.
In each of these instances, our anxiety wasn’t a warning not to go, but rather a signal that something significant awaits.
So as you plan and enjoy your travel this summer, consider what your anxiety is highlighting. Perhaps, like mine, it is a subtle guide alerting you to step forward - signalling the transition from known to unknown, from status quo to aspiration. Try offering it curiosity instead of authority and see how it punctuates your life this summer.
3: Embrace your realignment rituals
Being at my parents house for vacation is nothing short of idyllic. Their home opens up to a small lake that is tranquil and relaxing. They have added a sauna, which I committed to indulge myself with regularly. And I have. But I was quickly reminded that being in the space for reflection is not the same as the act of reflecting.
In the sauna, I have a distinct opportunity for meditation, reflection and releasing - both physically and spiritually. And most days, I am there for it, claiming the benefits of deep meditation.
But once in a while, I cheat. I listen to the radio rather than my own thoughts.
At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but then I realised I am short-changing myself. By distracting myself with music and podcasts instead of digging into my inner wisdom and spirituality, I miss an opportunity to check-in, realign and receive divine guidance. And by bypassing this practice, I am out of alignment: irritable and distracted when I want to be grounded and intentional.
The good news is, we can realign at any moment. By recognising this and choosing a different course of action, we can shift our whole day.
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But even more powerful than that, is to continue doing the inner work of reflection and awareness even on vacation. We can put ourselves in optimal surroundings for transformation, growth and restoration, but nothing will replace actually showing up, being present for it, and doing the work. We have to recognise the difference.
So how will you carve out time for yourself on vacation? What activities help you realign with your intention and desires? Take these habits with you. It ensures you are bringing the best of yourself to your vacation and not checking-out of an opportunity to expand or alchemize.
As you plan your summer travel and begin ‘peopling’ again, I hope these tips will encourage you to bring your whole self on your trip. Indulge the nudges that ask you to go somewhere or see someone. Recognise your anxiety as acknowledgement of expansion and transformation. And, most of all, continue to engage in your own self-honouring self-care practices as you travel, because, when we are out of sorts, the consistency of these rituals can serve us best of all.
Kate Woolsey is an award-winning life coach + alignment mentor with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a masters degree in management from Harvard University. She is also a certified yoga instructor and meditation guide with decades of leadership experience. Kate teaches high-achieving professionals + home-makers how to shift their mindset so they can replace overwhelm with fulfilment and enjoy a life they don’t want to escape.
Article originally published in the pages of SOULACY
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