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Recently, I read a book by Julie Morgenstern, the time management guru. She mentions the need that every busy executive (and that’s all of us!) has for PEP. In her research on how to help stressed business people find balance, she noticed that at least one of three elements were often missing:

  • Physical – as in daily exercise – a great stress buster
  • Escape – as in doing something that takes your mind completely out of your work
  • People – as in spending time with those you love, not just your co-workers

These are all important aspects of life that need to be brought into balance. But what about when we are on holiday?

Having just spent a lot of time in an airplane, I know only too well how little “physical” vacation travel often allows. When you change your daily routine by going on holiday, remember that your body has habits, too. If you have a daily work-out (or if you don’t here’s a great opportunity to start), remember that your body doesn’t look at holiday the same way your mind does. It/you still need that physical exercise. And if you haven’t been exercising daily, remember that an all-day walking tour of Venice just might require a little endurance building before you leave for Italy!

Escape – well hopefully your holiday IS an escape from the grind of the 9-to-5 of daily life. But what about that cell phone? Does your office have your cell number? Can you really “escape” if you are on the tether of the office phone? If you really want to experience a refreshing escape, you may have to leave that “smart” phone safely locked in the hotel safe for a day. Besides the usually brief withdrawal, you may find yourself relaxing more than you realized when you “escape” from being electronically hooked up. You can discover body time and move at a speed and rhythm that brings you into connection with your surrounding and the people who are with you.

Which brings us to the final, “P” in PEP. People. What if your focus for your holiday was on spending quality time with the people you love, really getting to know them in a different context than who is going to do the grocery shopping or pick the kids up from school? Too often we are seduced into substituting an idealized (and expensive!) Condé Nast itinerary for a simpler vacation that allows us to spend time with those we love. What will be more rewarding when you get home – shared moments with your loved ones or the 20 tiny pictures of some distant sunset on your cell phone?

It’s summer time. Take Julia’s advice and include some PEP in your life, not just for work but on your holiday, too!

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