Summer Holidays: Dis-Connect and you are off!
The summer holidays we have all been waiting for are officially here! Woohoo!
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Most of us probably have done our fair bit of holidays already, or are currently laying our divine bodies on a beach bed somewhere in Protaras or Ayia Napa, relentlessly enjoying our smartphone, Instagram and Facebook accounts, while occasionally being mindful of the deep blue, or the summer breeze.
Some of us are indeed looking forward to summer holidays, yet others may be dreading it. Some of us can’t wait to finally experience some peace of mind and relaxation, while others are looking for ways to defend their family’s caring yet intrusive questions (e.g. “when are you going to get married/have children” or “what are you going to study” or or more existential ones such as “what are you doing with your life?”. And there is always the young parents desperately looking for ways to take care of their children’s tantrums (i.e. get a tablet - problem solved).
There is also a whole new category though of “holidayers”, namely the “Worriers”. These are the people who know best how to worry. The “Worriers” are looking forward to enjoy their holidays but their worries get in the way. They may be thinking about work, tasks or duties they may have pending. Mind games as I like to call them.
Their mind drifts away to unimportant tasks and as a result they may often seem “Absent”, “distant”, “Distracted” or “silent” in conversations, looking for ways to numb or distract their mind, lighting up their 10th cigarette or unlocking their device for the 100th time to check Instagram or Facebook.
This post is for the Worriers. A couple of advices to perhaps help us unwind and make the most of our holidays:
Perhaps my TOP advice for us Worriers would be to DISCONNECT from our Device and to CONNECT with the people around us.
The “DISCONNECTING from our device” part is straightforward:
Make a deal with your self to leave the smartphone out of reach and preferably out of visible range. Turn off the notifications, and just answer calls or texts which may be interpreted as serious (i.e. health related or life threatening). Our mother’s announcement of what she is cooking tomorrow is unimportant. Having a measurable rule often helps (i.e. I am not going to check my smartphone for the next 1 hour or so) and when I do check it, it won’t be for more than 2 minutes, just going over any important texts or calls (if any). No Facebook or Instagram.
But we also have a need to CONNECT. During holidays we are having unusually longer lengths of conversations with people. It is an opportunity to come closer to people that people our lives. As much as we may not see it at times, we are interactive beings and we rely upon communicating, relating and co-working with each other. Holidays, are an opportunity to get involved with people around us.
This is me, sharing my personal short “to-do” list during the holidays which will help me Disconnect from my Device and Connect with People.
- Be curious. Ask people questions about their life, their work, their holidays, their desired travels, their hobbies, their likes and dislikes (not in one go). You may think its intrusive, but on the contrary, it shows that you want to get engaged in a conversation. We all want to be heard. “Ask and you shall receive”. Asking people questions and listening to their responses detaches with our selves and reminds us that we are not the only ones facing problems.
- Don’t be the person who always responds saying: “Me too!”, or “tzai egw, Mia fora. . . ”, or “Wait until you see what happened to me . . .” Don’t steal other peoples glory. Let them have their minute! Don’t make everything you hear personal!
- Don’t be afraid to acknowledge to someone their positive impact on you, or something you admire on them. Don’t be afraid to give and take compliments.
- Don’t respond by giving advices all the time. People are much more likely to do something if they do not feel imposed or threatened.
-Listen well and allow others to teach you a couple of things. We all have something to learn. Last time I conversed with someone I learned how to take a screenshot on my phone (the irony).
- Be authentic and give feedback. If something they have said or done has offended you, be real and talk about it. Don’t hide it under the carpet.
- Don’t be the person who only listens very well and then gives advice. Share something personal, perhaps something embarrassing. Get off your high horse and show that you are a vulnerable human being too. It’s much more appreciated. After all, we are all on the same boat.
- Travel back in time to dig up memories. Funny ones, embarrassing ones, surreal ones. Anything.
- Don’t be afraid that you will be judged in your conversations. Everyone is probably thinking of the same thing. Break the ice and be your self. Talk about whatever you want to talk about. Boldly.
- Do the dishes. Everyone appreciates the person who does the dishes.
Orestis Kasinopoulos, Ph.D.