Dear Bee,when life sucks, go on holiday.

Life sucks sometimes. It’s hard. It’s stressful. There’s pressure… deadlines… exams!

The fact is the problems don’t go away, which means you have a choice: fight or flight?

You could run away from the problems – if not literally then figuratively bury your head in the sand, pretend the problems are not there, stick your fingers on your ears and sing “la-la-la” until the they go away. This is flight.

Or you can accept that the problems exist and see them as a challenge instead of a threat: something to overcome, requiring training schedules, planning spreadsheets and lots of discipline. This is fight.

Both options have their pros and cons. However I’d like to suggest a third option.

Go on holiday.

When people think of holidays, they imagine sandy beaches, lots of sunshine, partying  all night long etc, etc.  This is definitely one version of a holiday. Other people may imagine a log cabin in a forest, long walks, mountains and lakes – also a great idea.

However, what I’m suggesting doesn’t have to involve all of that, Bee, because I know that you don’t necessarily have the resources or confidence or time to organise that sort of holiday for yourself.  My holiday ideas are actually a lot simpler, but just as effective.

Because what is a holiday for? A chance to disconnect from the daily grind and stress. An opportunity to get some perspective on the things that at the moment seem too in your face. Permission to slow down and take time to restore your soul.

These things are all really important; more important even than fun and partying, I would suggest. But you don’t have to go to a tropical island to get them.

No, what I am suggesting is much more accessible and cheap – even free – but just as effective when it comes to perspective and peace.

For instance, giving yourself time and space to read a good book. Getting out a jigsaw puzzle and spending an hour or so on it. Going for a long walk in an unfamiliar but beautiful place. Indulging in a box set.

The key to making these things a successful holiday experience – without even leaving your bedroom – is to disconnect. Turn off the phone. Switch off the social media. Stop reading emails. Tell people, if you have to, that you are on holiday and can’t be reached until a date of your choosing, and then give yourself that time to rest, relax and restore.

The problems won’t go away, it’s true. But going on holiday in these ways will give you the perspective you need so that when you return to the problems, you will have a better handle on what they are, why they are there and how to deal with them.

Just remember to come back!


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