So it's finally happening. You've managed to get the time off work, travelled to this wonderful destination, and you're on holiday!
All you want to do is enjoy the place, the special people you're with, and this moment.... you're just starting to relax into it and.....
"Bing!" you find yourself thinking about work. Maybe something important you really want to say to someone. A great idea for that tricky project. Or some frustration with a colleague.
Of course, you really do want to be on holiday - so you fight these thoughts, try and enjoy the holiday... but the more you fight them, the more they fight back!
Been there? I know I have!
So what's the answer?
Don't fight your thoughts!
The Mindfulness ideal is simply to watch thoughts arise and pass away, without letting them trouble you at all. If you can do that, great! But it's not an easy skill to develop (that's why Mindfulness comes in 8 week courses!)
The key thing here is: don't fight your thoughts. "If you get into a fight with yourself, one of you is going to lose"!
If, on the other hand, you can bring an attitude of "allowing" to your thoughts, then they are more likely to subside of their own accord.
Why do these thoughts persist?
If you've been working hard, the thoughts that come when you relax are often really valuable. As the mind relaxes, it tends to put things together, resolve issues and remind you of things that still need attention. This is all of great value - just not now!
How can I let go of these thoughts, then?
The solution is simple: write the thoughts down. I recommend a "putting thoughts down" notebook. Whenever an important thought comes into your mind, just jot it down in the notebook. Don't dwell on it (or you really are starting to work again), just make a note and leave it there.
If your partner is worried about you carrying this little notebook and writing down work things, reassure them that this is part of fully arriving on holiday. As you write down these distracting thoughts, you can genuinely let go of them, and free your mind to be fully present.
What's the key to making this work?
There is something else you need to do, in order to make this really work.
You need to know that you're going to come back to these thoughts at the right time. It's this certainty that reassures your mind that it's safe to let go and relax into the moment.
So do what it takes to give yourself that certainty - set a reminder on your phone, allocate half an hour in your calendar, leave a note-to-self on your desk before your leave, whatever works for you. That way you'll be able to let go of these thoughts for now, and come back to them when the time is right.