Lessons Learned When I Took A Summer Vacation

This summer, I flew to Croatia with my husband to enjoy a vacation. Over the past few years working for myself, I have never really taken vacation or a break. Mostly, I practiced the whole ‘work life blend’ philosophy and that has been working well. But after a month and a half of vacation, I have to admit I am a renewed person. I’m also a total convert at holidays and vacay vibes now - Christmas holidays, I see you and am already planning for you! In writing this article, I hope to share the valuable lessons I learned when I took 1.5 months of vacay and what it can do for your business and life as a whole.

Browsing through craft markets, farmers’ markets, art stores, and exploring Zagreb, Croatia this summer.

Browsing through craft markets, farmers’ markets, art stores, and exploring Zagreb, Croatia this summer.

What I planned for my summer vacation

As a die-hard high achiever, and A-player, I drew up a list of do’s and don’ts for my holidays! I even came up with an action plan and a schedule. But after 24 hours, nothing was going according to plan! I had to face the truth: I’m really useless at being on vacation. 

Far from letting this belief limit me though, I inhaled deeply, and reconnected with my spirit, ever so gently. What are you craving for more in your life right now? What are some of the things that you love doing but haven’t prioritized lately? I asked myself.

On my list of things to enjoy:

  • Reconnecting with nature

  • Reading more

  • Reconnecting with people IRL

  • Rekindling friendships

  • Improved intimacy with my husband

  • Fresh inspiration

  • New ideas without deadlines or pressure

  • Creating just for the sake of pleasure

  • A summit on Video Marketing (yep, continually learning is one of the things I love doing)

  • A summit on Advanced Facebook ads

Life-changing lessons

It’s OK to feel a bit lost at first

It took me a while to get into the ‘flow’ of being on vacation. I am so used at thinking up business strategies and coming up with ideas of what I can do more to help my community of modern artisans and creative entrepreneurs that it was difficult to switch off. The other challenge I faced is that I truly enjoy my work - my work is strongly tied to my purpose in life so ‘pausing this’ wasn’t easy! That said, I gave myself some grace until I finally started to relax. I am now much more experienced in how to switch off when on holidays.

Time in nature is mind-altering

I took delight in hugging trees, attending summer live gigs in the park, or simply walking in the gardens or at the park. It is amazing how being under the majesty of the tall towering trees brought me so much joy, calm, but also renewed vitality. I noticed a positive change in my mood and energy levels overall. It’s not surprising and even science confirms that being in nature truly fuels us up.

National Parks Plitvice Lakes in Croatia

National Parks Plitvice Lakes in Croatia

A renewed sense of clarity for my business

This one was the most surprising and the greatest benefit. I wanted to shuffle things around at BrandSalt, my nomadic digital marketing boutique studio, as well as expand my other online businesses. It’s been slow in that area because I always had a bunch of other things to deal with. During my 1.5 months of vacation, I had a lot more free time and was under no deadline or pressure. It was as if without the pressure of a timeline, I could perform at my best. 

Want to know why? 

The clarity that I received during my vacation, when I was much more relaxed, and not laser focused on business, has been absolutely mind-blowing. By not thinking or dwelling on what I should or could be doing for my business, I was able to hold space for what I truly wanted. My mind felt more at ease. My thoughts - instead of being all over the place - were more organized and seemed to come at a gentler pace. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I felt a huge sense of relief and clarity. The best part? I didn’t even have to ‘work’ at this. It was a natural side effect of being so relaxed and slowing down.

Disconnecting allows you to reconnect better

I acknowledge that I didn’t go off-grid in this 1.5 months. I still used my phone (what is life without Instagram Stories?). However, again, I gave myself a lot of grace. There was no pressure of needing to reply to every single message that comes into my inbox. I didn’t feel the need to stick to my schedule, or feel the need to post on social media. In fact, prior to going on vacay mode, I did not even schedule posts for Brandsalt’s Instagram. Instead, I posted a simple “Away on Vacay’ with a caption of what I was up to and when to expect me back. 

As someone who values genuine connections (online and offline), it was important to me to be able to connect in a way that felt authentic and not forced or rushed. It made me so happy to be able to express myself as I wished, and show up when I wanted. I joined a book club, a writing club, reconnected with a group of like-minded individuals over tea and coffee at cute coffee shops in the city, and even started a writing project. My conversations with my husband lately have been more fun and playful as opposed to me asking him what he thinks about the ‘latest features of Facebook’ or how ‘artificial intelligence could be messing up with our sanity’! 

We can be of better service

This one impacted me the most. I am going to cherish this feeling of being rested and have now vowed to take more time off regularly (not just short breaks, or work/life balance). It’s because I feel so much better now to serve my clients even deeper, with more energy, more clarity, and a mind that feels refreshed. It’s like after going for a facial at the spa and all the dead skin cells are gone, and your face feels smoother, your skin is glowing with that fresh radiance, and it can breathe better again. 

Nothing bad will happen

I often think that I’m the captain of the ship (my business), and if I stop working for a bit, well the ship will sink! I will tell you that nothing bad will happen. You can plan ahead - that is make sure you finish your work, deliveries of products etc, or inform clients. In my case, I have a soulful business model that works well for me and my wellbeing and in that light, I remained authentic. I still had calls with my private clients (each coaching client gets 2 x 60 min calls per month), so that wasn’t a lot to go through. I carried them out, but gave myself permission to not post anything in my Facebook group or my social media channels. I could have planned some posts ahead, but I did not because I had some ideas brewing for a fresh change for my social media content (stay tuned for this!).

As I enjoyed my summer vacation, I was amazed to see that all of my past content and work has worked for me - I received another booking confirmed for 3-month coaching, as well as two people lined up for my digital course when it re-opens for enrolment. 

It may be hard to believe this, but when you trust, good things do happen. We don’t always have to be the one doing, doing, doing. Sometimes, it’s about letting go, and trusting. 

We don’t always have to be the one doing, doing, doing. Sometimes, it’s about letting go, and trusting. 

Stay top of mind (in as little as 15 seconds)

Nowadays with all the tools and features at our disposal, it is easy to stay top of mind to our clients and niche market. If you worry about being forgotten while you’re on a break and coming back only to find that the world has moved on without you, let me calm those fears.

With Instagram Stories, I kept abreast of what was going on with my clients and the modern artisans I love to help and hope to work with someday. I watched their Stories from time to time, and stayed visible on mine. Although I was a little more scarce and slower to respond during my break, it’s not like I completely vanished off the surface of the earth. All it takes is 15 seconds or less. We have to applaud technology and how it can make life simple when used in a smart way.

I hope these lessons will make you realize that if you’ve been on the fence about taking time off, then it’s time to book that dream holiday. You deserve it, your clients deserve it, and your business deserves it.

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