Monday, July 7, 2008

10 Tips for a Stress-Free Vacation (guest blogger Dr. Alan Zimmerman)

I am away much of July – time with my husband in Scotland (he will be playing golf, I will hike!), and then time with most of my family in Italy to celebrate my husband’s big birthday.

My thought for this month is to get some “guest bloggers” from some of my buddies in my two mastermind groups. I know you will enjoy reading what they have to say, too!

While I'm away, I plan on applying this week's guest blogger's wisdom, from Dr. Alan Zimmerman --

"As I read your blog and some of the issues you’re dealing with, it strikes me that a lot of people get stressed out when they’re supposed to be relaxed … such as supposedly relaxing on vacation or during holidays. So I thought you might enjoy my top 10 list for a stress-free vacation or motivation. Some of the tips come from my book, PIVOT: How One Turn in Attitude Can Lead to Success. Some of the other tips I added just for you.

1. Do only the most important things.

Every activity and gathering may seem important during a holiday event, but they are not. Focus on the family and friends who mean the most to you and get to the others later in the year.

2. Practice an attitude of gratitude.

The more thankful you are, the less stressed you can be. Every day during a holiday season, take two minutes to list all the things you're thankful for.

3. Remind yourself, 'You'll never get it all done, and that's OK.'

No matter how hard you work or how fast you work, you'll never get all your chores done. There's always more you could do. So be it. Let it go. The founder of Christmas said, 'I come to give you peace.'

4. Avoid mind binders.

Never say such things as, 'I get so stressed out during the holidays ... There's so much to do ... I always come back from vacations more exhausted than when I left.' The more you think or say such things, the more stress you'll have.

5. Set your spending limits in advance.

You may be stressed by all the expenses and overspending on a vacation or a holiday weekend. But don't get fooled into thinking it's the high cost of living that's causing your stress. It's the cost of living high.

6. Choose your fights carefully.

Holiday gatherings at work or home can sometimes bring difficult people together. Don't get sucked into a conflict unnecessarily.

7. Do a check up from the neck up.

Examine your attitude. 85% of people have a less than positive attitude. If you fall into that category, give yourself the gift of a new attitude for the holiday by setting the goal of getting a better attitude, doing some affirmations, and have others hold you accountable.

8. Pay attention to your body.

A vacation is supposed to be joyful, but it has become too stressful for some people. Listen to your body to see if you're off balance or have too much stress. You'll always have signals that you must listen to. If you don't listen, your dis-stress will lead to dis-ease.

9. Be an actor.

Instead of re-acting to other people's holiday expectations or demanding behavior, choose to respond in a way that you feel good about. Don't come down to their level. Let your enthusiasm bring them up to your level.

10. Remember you can change.

Don't buy into the big lie ... when people say, 'I can't help the way I feel ... That's just the way I am.' You may not know how to change your attitude, but it is totally changeable if you simply spend 5 minutes a day practicing a few simple disciplines.

That’s it. Now go out and really enjoy a stress-free holiday or vacation."

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