Top 10 ways to Live Your Optimal Life even when on FAMILY VACATION this summer

It's almost officially summer, but unofficially all the signs are already here. We are headed into our first super hot week, the pools in the northeast are open, barbecues are popping up everywhere, and many schools are already either out, or about to be out. It's that time of year when a lot of us get together with family, extended family, sometimes even as multigenerational groups and head off on long awaited family vacations.

Many of us do not take a lot of time away, and so we budget time, and a pretty penny to make these family vacation trips enjoyable. But, as we discussed last week, often summer vacations with family, friends or even as a couple, can leave us feeling drained and in need of a vacation from our vacation. 

The great news is that there are things that we can do to make our family vacations more optimal and less draining. It is possible to return to our lives and businesses refreshed, even when we have multiple responsibilities (like caretaking children or older family members.) It is possible to deal with everyone's energy, and to accommodate everyone's schedule: when we employ the LYOL principles in all areas of our lives, even on family vacation.

Here are my top 10 tips for how to Live Your Optimal Life (LYOL,) even on family vacation.

1. Commit to living your optimal life on vacation. 

One of our Ladies' Power Lunch members likes to say: "Commit to the happy!" I absolutely agree. I recommend making a decision going into the vacation that we will fill our own cup. Putting our mask on first, has to be the first step.

2. Plan ahead. 

You all know I love to plan. I often joke that I have never met a spread sheet that I didn't like! Planning your vacation ahead of time may seem at first glance to be the opposite of relaxing, but the truth is that, when you learn as much as you can about your travel process and your destination ahead of time you can do the things in your power to make the vacation hassle free. And planning ahead doesn't mean you are locked into your schedule! That would be no fun! What it means is that you have more options for smooth sailing.

3. Compassionate boundaries.  

Family dynamics can be tricky. We may already have established roles that allow our boundaries to be overstepped. Start by: Knowing what you want and what you do not want. What vacation experiences have you had in the past that have robbed you of your joy? How can you let your travel companions know what you are and are not available for? How can you let folks know what you need for your vacation to be fun and fulfilling? How can you communicate this firmly and kindly? One more boundary related tip: When it comes to family conflict and drama which can sometimes come up, if you can avoid it and if it doesn't directly involve you or general safety, then a good rule of thumb is: MYOB!!! :)

4. Focus on rejuvenation.

Many of us are caretakers in some form in our lives. Perhaps we take care of our families, our elderly relatives, our patients or our clients. On family vacation, as in all areas of our lives, we need to always remember that it is ok to do the things that fill you up. (I'm thinking massage, spa thermal suite...but it may be different for you.) What is fun and fulfilling for you? Which of those things are available to you on this vacation? How can you be sure to make time and space to enjoy those things without guilt?

5. Make time for you in nature. 

A great way to learn more about your destination is to enjoy the local flora and fauna (safely of course.) In almost any family vacation setting there is an opportunity to get back to nature! Go for a hike in Alaska; take a long walk on the beach in the Med;  go bird watching in Central America, take your shoes off in a park in the Big City... nature can be inherently calming so no matter where you are allow nature to soothe your nervous system.

6. Don't #DoAllTheThings!

You do not have to do all the things. Do not run yourself ragged. Unless you want to, and doing all the things is restful for you and brings you joy! ;) Make sure the things you are doing are the things you want to do for all the right reasons. Do not let your vacation be an experience in checking all the boxes. You do not have to see ALL the sights, you don't have to participate in all the entertainments. Do not give in to FOMO. Even if this seems like a once in a lifetime vacation, it does not mean you have to exhaust yourself. Which leads me to tip #7:

7. REST. 

It's ok to sleep in and opt out of the 9 am group tour. It's ok not to hit all the night life spots. It's ok not to see or do every single thing recommended by that vacation planning podcast!! Listen to your body at all times and most importantly listen when you are on vacation. Do not feel guilty if your body is demanding rest when everyone else is on the go.

8. Stick to/ schedule your self care

For example, while on vacation do make time for your meditation, yoga, exercise etc. Many resorts, destinations and hotels have high tech gyms, group fitness and other amenities to accommodate your health and wellness. Do take advantage of that. Some local areas may have activities that you can get involved with. I've seen and even participated in some amazing  local activities like: paddleboard yoga on the lake, Taiichi on the beach, jungle path walking meditation, forest bathing, just to name a few. Finding and taking advantage of activities like that have definitely enriched my family vacations.

9. Don't try to get everyone on the same schedule.

 Make plans to have specific meet up times, times when everyone is focused on ENJOYING time together as a family to the fullest. Soak it up, enjoy it. Feel love and gratitude for these humans who are part of your pod. Be sure to also allow for times for folks (including you,) to do their own thing... Everyone should have the opportunity do do a little bit of what fills them up on Family vacation.

10. Breathe and ENJOY!

Don't forget to breathe! This is your down time so do take a moment to smell the roses, or the sea air .. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and yes do enjoy the smells of whatever beautiful environments you may be in.

These are my top 10 tips! What do you think? Which ones do you like? Which ones do you think I missed? Will you share in the comments?

Fill your cup, and then you will be at your best for all your travel companions, and will be able to return to the real world with all the positive benefits that a holiday is supposed to give. 



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