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We crave holidays for the great escape. Be careful of what you are running from says Life Coach Carole Ann Rice

It is a popular misconception that a life coach’s busiest time of year is in those grey, grim and “gotta change my life” days of January and beyond. Post-Christmas blues and New Year promises do present a small flurry of hopeful-hearted folks looking to get to grips on goal and gripes. But it’s not boom time.

In reality my rush period is high summer through to the end of September when the sun is shining, and the living is easy.  Sounds bizarre? Well, here’s the thing.  The year has stretched out and January 1st resolutions have withered on the vine of good intentions and the summer holidays become the next landmark for transformation.

Who hasn’t thrown an impenetrably intellectual book or a personal development tome into the suitcase (along with the detox teas) with the promise that you will really spring clean your mind and body too on this fortnight away from your life’s woes?

I’ve known clients purchase exotic stationery in order to map out careers, relationships, health goals to be spread-sheeted into an inch of their lives whilst languishing by palm-lined pools. Only they come back with the silk-bound bibles which should’ve read “This Is My Life” with the unspoken blank pages whispering accusingly “Still Completely Clueless” instead.

We expect a lot from summer and our holidays.  We think we’ll get leaner by eating light salads but chase it back with gallons of chilled white wine, olives and exotic cheeses.  We assume the break will deliver enlightenment but anyone with any hint of the sloth gene knows that sun and sea create a “holiday head” and staring at a seagull while gently dribbling is about all you’re capable of.

Not surprising news for this coach that a quarter of holidaymakers say they return from their break feeling more stressed than when they left.  What with the money spent (around £1900), the delays, airport indignancies and inevitable disappointments it’s a long, bleak haul to Christmas and, yes, those New Year resolutions about change and new beginnings again.

So here are a few coaching tips on getting back to reality when blue sky thinking has left your grey matter in a fog.

  • There is no time like the present to create a life you want to live. Write down all the things you no longer want or wish to tolerate in your life.  Now, here’s the tough bit –write down all the things you want more of or want to achieve and think what the smallest step is you can take today to get there.
  • Quit blaming, moaning, making excuses and take responsibility.  You are 100% responsible for your happiness, health and well-being.
  • What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to please anyone else or get public approval?
  • Build in a fun factor for every few hours of the day – make people smile, do random acts of kindness, eat good healthy food and replace fizzy drinks and beverages with water.
  • In 3 years from now what would you like to look back and say you did well and are proud of?
  • Embrace vulnerability –learn to love and forgive yourself more, try new things and give the notion of failure no time – there is no shame in trying and having a go.
  • And finally decide not to live with regrets. They are the saddest things to hold on to as we age. Grab life and do it now.  

Life can feel like a holiday when you are happy, at your best and in your flow.  Whether you are languishing in Manchester or Mykonos it’s good to get away.  Just remember what you are carrying now will be the psychic luggage you take with you.  

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