What really happens to New Year’s resolutions? While you drive home from your summer holidays, they’re crushed by overloaded suitcases shifting like tectonic plates in the boot of your car. They get soggy with the cling-wrapped sandwiches in the hot cooler bag or go fizzy with the bottle of juice rolling around under your seat.
Then an SUV bears down on you like an assault vehicle, driven by a dad with murder in his eyes. He flashes his lights furiously, demanding that you swerve into the yellow line so he can shoot past. You know it’s illegal and possible dangerous, but you almost want to pull over, stop and drop out of the mad dash back to real life.
The holidays are officially over. Being back home means unpacking, doing washing, cleaning and, though you shouldn’t, checking the dreaded office e-mails to see what fresh hell awaits at the office.
How could you possibly stay relaxed, refreshed and positive about the year ahead? To make matters worse, it looks like in this year, this 2017, there won’t be much love spread around the world. Megalomaniac politicians, the tyranny of the marketplace, intolerance and pure hatred will see to that.
What to do? First love the one you’re with – yourself. Consider your thinking during the holiday and see how much of that you can carry over. Here are some ideas to get you going.
Away: If you were in a regular holiday spot, you did the things again that you enjoyed the last time – eating at a special restaurant, claiming your favourite spot on the beach, taking the kids zip-lining in the forest.
Home: Make time to do more of what you love about your life. Think nights out, family activities, scenic drives, reading before bed like you used to, resurrecting traditions like pizza and movies every Friday night.
Away: If you went to a destination for the first time, you enjoyed exploring, finding interesting things to see and do, considering options, trying stuff. Plans didn’t always work out – one day was too windy for the beach, too hot for a mountain hike, or a sight was closed when you got there – but that didn’t stop you. Instead, you regrouped, made new plans, juggled your itinerary.
Home: When a plan doesn’t come together, make another one. Look for opportunities, alternatives, simpler solutions. You can be sure there’s a way to improve almost every aspect of your life. Find it, embrace it.
Away: What did you enjoy most? Walking through an art gallery? Sampling a cuisine? Going to bed and getting up earlier for quiet time before the day starts?
Home: Adding things from your trip to your home life helps to keep alive the thrill of discovery and the sense of excitement. Learn how to cook those exotic dishes. Set aside time to take in some art or create your own. Stick to the sleeping routine and see how much better you feel after a calm, early morning start.
Away: Starting with the friendly local you asked for directions, you chatted to several strangers during your break. Perhaps you even made new friends.
Home: Contact old friends and share the highlights of your break. Talk to new people. Even something like a quick chat to the doorman about the weather is a mini-break and valuable human interaction. Someone’s unexpected take on a topic could inspire you.
Away: Half the stuff you packed you never used. Most likely. Remember that.
Home: Get rid of things that frustrate you by being in the way or not making life easier. The dress that won’t fit again. The kid’s broken toys. Useless utensils. You’re freeing up space physically and mentally.
Away: When a guy offered to carry your luggage or a cousin wanted to take the kids for a walk, you let them. You were grateful and didn’t feel like a lazy, selfish sod.
Home: Do what you can, not more. Don’t run yourself into the ground by attempting to be everyone’s stand-in, go-to guy, shoulder to cry on or moral support. Pace yourself and make sure you’re appreciated, not taken for granted.
And finally: It’s never too early to start planning your next holiday…