What I learnt from my non-holiday

Have you taken a holiday but were so preoccupied with work while you were away that you didn’t have enough quality time with your family or your self and came back feeling just as stressed as when you left? This happened to me in 2016 and it really made me question why I’m working this hard if I can’t enjoy it with the people I love. I discuss this in this post.

About 12 months ago, my family and I took a holiday to Noosa after a very busy year. Whilst I had a great time, it could have been a lot more enjoyable. I felt so guilty about going in the first place and letting my clients and my business down that I ended up working most of the week. Not enough quality time with my family, not enough time for myself, I came back feeling more stressed than I had when I left, not to mention an extra dose of guilt for not enjoying the trip with my family!

But it made me ask myself ‘why am I working this hard if I can’t enjoy it with the people I love?’. I ask these types of questions of my clients each and every day, but sometimes it’s easy to forget to ask them of yourself! So early this year, I set myself the goal of having a guilt-free holiday, and I’m proud to say that I achieved that goal! I practised what I preach.

As you might be aware, my family & I took some time off a few weeks ago for a holiday to Cairns & Green Island. In some ways, it felt like history repeating; I had the same concerns about leaving the business but after the lessons of last year, I decided to switch my emails off and be present with my family.

The first thing that happened is that I realised how badly I needed the break. I started to fall apart for the first few days, sleeping most of the day, not feeling 100% and with a weird toothache for good measure. I reckon this was part of the process of getting myself back to ‘neutral’.

But 3 days in, I felt fantastic! And after that, I had a great time with Jacs and the kids snorkelling, swimming with turtles and just being there as a Husband and a Dad, listening to what they had to say and making dozens of amazing memories which I will always cherish.

And you know what? Since being back, I have felt like a new man. My energy levels are great, our family are tighter than ever and the business hardly noticed I left! I have even started back at the gym which I have been putting off for months.

So what’s the lesson I have learnt here? It is so easy to fill everyone else’s cup, but if you don’t fill yours every once in a while, you run out of stuff to give. And I think that’s where I was headed. There are always clients to speak to, emails to reply to and work that can be done, but there aren’t always going to be opportunities to make memories with the people you love. Spending time with family, making amazing memories and feeling good about yourself are fundamental to happiness, yet we so often put these at the bottom of our priority lists.

The guilt of letting you (my clients) down was all in my head but going on that holiday with my family last year and only being there physically, but not mentally let them down in a big way. Your biggest value to the people around you is when you’re present with them in that moment and give them your undivided energy. And it turns out that it may even make you feel happier as well!

If you have been putting off a holiday for similar reasons, please get in touch with me! I want to help you feel better too.

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