Building resilience by going on a very unusual holiday

I don’t know about you, because of the amount of online speaking I’m doing on resilience and building a step up and step onwards attitude for my clients, I needed a break and a big one at that. Online speaking seems to take far more effort than face to face presentations, have you noticed that?

I decided to go on my annual two-week vacation. Unfortunately, due to the uncertainty of travel I didn’t plan anything and only decided at the last minute to take the holiday. The question was… where?

Every year in August I go on holiday to somewhere sunny and hot, usually a Greek island. I love the UK, we have great places to visit. For me, we don’t have the consistency of weather. I love my home, as I’ve worked from home for over 31 years now, I learned a long time ago I need an annual change from my immediate surroundings and plenty of sun.

This year, like many of us, I didn’t have the confidence to go abroad. I wasn’t comfortable with the possibility of another lockdown or the possible need to go in to quarantine, either in the country I was visiting or in the UK. Because of the last minute decision, I couldn’t find a vacancy anywhere in the UK I wanted to visit either.

Sooooooooooo, I decided to go to… The Costa Del Doorstep. I decided to stay at home, and I mean home home.

That’s right, I decided to visit the house I’ve lived in for over 33 years and, other than going out for exercise and essential supplies, the four walls I’ve been imprisoned in since 23rd March 2020.

The challenge, how do I change where I live and create the illusion of a ‘new’ place? For a start I shut down all my social media alerts and emails, I barely looked at them. I only allowed myself to check emails and messages twice a week. That was easy, because I always do the same when I go away anyway.

But what was I going to do about my immediate surroundings? I’ll tell you what I dood, I moved (drum roll, drum roll) in to… my spare bedroom. That’s right, instead of sleeping on my beautiful luxurious double bed in the spacious master bedroom, I slept on the cheapo guest bed in the smallest box bedroom of the house.

Surprisingly, I was very comfortable and it worked, it felt very different. Better still I didn’t even need to pack my cases.

I did seriously consider packing my cases. I even considered ordering a taxi for 5.00 am of the morning of the first day of my holiday and asking the driver to drive me round the block only to arrive back home again a few minutes later. I’d pay them and then make my way to the small bedroom, unpack and settle down to explore my ‘new’ surroundings. But, the would have been… silly :)

I wore the holiday clothes I normally wear when on holiday, including my straw hat to protect me from the sun. I moved the furniture in my living room to give the impression of being in a ‘new’ place. I used, different cutlery and crockery whenever I ate. I changed as much as I could.

Every day, I did something different. I live in Bradford and decided to travel ‘abroad’ to several exotic locations like Leeds, Wakefield and Hull. I visited friends. We’d each take a camping chair and we’d meet in parks. I went for walks, usually about 12 to 14 miles around Nidderdale (the scenery is stunning). I’d go to the east coast and sit by the sea and listen to the waves gently breaking on the beach.

But when it rained, I couldn’t visit anywhere outside and I needed to get out of the house and so off I went… to the shed. It’s not a big shed and there was barely any room in there but there was enough room for my camping chair. With the door open I’d read my book, play plinky plonky traditional Greek music (internet radio was soooooooo appreciated) and I’d watch the rain fall and smell the freshness of the air. It felt so different to what I was used to.

I even spent a night in the garage… never again. When it rained, it was so noisy when the raindrops hit the roof. I complained to the ‘management’ and they let me have my old room back. And so, I moved back in to the small box bedroom. I have to say sleeping in the garage was a different and novel experience and just what I needed.

On the first day back from my holiday, I moved everything back to where it was originally and moved back in to the master bedroom.

I don’t think I returned back to work as refreshed and recharged as I usually am after a holiday, but it did help tremendously. More importantly it was a much needed and welcomed break.

To help with building resilience, we all need to have a break from time to time. Whether that’s a break from work or a break from the challenges of our every day lives. In the ‘unusual’ circumstances we find ourselves in we need to get creative.

I know for some people it’s an even bigger challenge, as they might live in one bedroom apartments with no balcony and are surrounded by buildings. We can only work with what we’ve got.

What can you do to change your surroundings to give you a break, a fresh (or at least a different) view?

I have to say one thing about my holiday this year, it was just like a home from home, oh… hang on a minute… it was :)