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Planning (And Optimizing) An Amazing Vacation With Friends Without Going Bonkers

Planning (And Optimizing) An Amazing Vacation With Friends Without Going Bonkers

The most anticipated time of the year is vacation season. It doesn’t matter how old are you or if you work or not, a vacation is something everybody looks forward to — going skiing, camping on the lake, going on a hike, or the famous sunbed-cocktails-sea-partying-until-you-drop style of trip. We all love holidays for many reasons, and if you are able to go on vacation mode every now and then, consider yourself lucky.

Even though it brings many benefits, and it is necessary, planning a vacation can be painful and boring. Especially if your plans are not realized because of various reasons. It takes time to figure out how to choose between countless options, decide which route to take, or which place to stay, simply because the hospitality industry is booming.

Let’s try to optimize the process, bring more joy and relaxation into our lives, and avoid that so-many-options-I-don’t-know-what-to-choose nightmare.

Choosing the destination & transportation

    Image Credit: Luke Price, Flickr

    The first step in the planning process starts with a simple question: where do you want to go? This is the question you need to ask yourself. Before answering it, you need to be realistic and to think about your budget. Although we all want to travel and explore distant and exotic destinations, it is not always possible to do so. Decide how much money you can and want to spend and the planning can begin. Have your friends’ budgets and preferences in mind; the best practice is to have a meeting where you guys discuss and make a decision on where you’ll go.

    Once you know the destination, you should decide whether you are going to travel by bus, car, or plane. This selection should be based on your budget (again) and what you find most satisfying. Many people choose to travel by plane. It’s easy to understand why: the trip is comfortable and it saves time.

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    Luckily, these days very affordable tickets can be found online. There are apps like Justfly that can help you book flights, hotels, and car rentals. There is also another way to pay less for the plane ticket: many airline companies offer discounts for buying tickets in advance. You just need to search the web and be patient.

    Traveling by car is ideal for families or a group of friends on shorter distances. The time spent on the road is perfect for bonding and creating new memories. Traveling with friends or family is a good choice for safety reasons as well. If the driver gets tired, someone else can take over. Another advantage of traveling by car is that you can make your own route and visit many places, which is impossible with commercial transportation (unless you book an excursion).

    Traveling by bus can be the least comfortable option, but it also has its advantages. You don’t have to worry about driving, the road, or the fuel. You just arrive at your destination (hopefully not too tired).

    Choosing the sites you’ll visit

      When your destination is chosen and your hotel and transportation booked, the first batch of weight is off your back. Now comes the second part of holiday planning — you need to know what you’ll see and do on your holiday.

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      There are two types of people: the ones who “go with the flow” and ones who plan where to go. Even though I’m not against spontaneous life and holidays, here’s a question:

      Who do you think has more problems on a holiday, a planner or someone who just goes with the flow?

      Of course, the second group tends to encounter more problems because they don’t know where to go, how to prepare for certain activities, what they should bring, the prices of fares and tickets, which times they can visit certain attractions, etc. In these situations, “easy-goers” usually spend time planning and deciding what to do on the go, deducting time from their holiday.

      I don’t think you want this, right?

      Find a balance. You can at least get to know the destination, its biggest attractions and admission times and fares (I’ve found myself in front of closed museums and monuments way too often), how much time is necessary to get from the point A to point B, and the overall expenses for almost everything. Sites like Numbeo, Lonely Planet, and TripAdvisor can help you in preparing.

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      Choose your company

        Image Credit: Denali National Park and Preserve, Flickr

        If you want to have a perfect holiday, choose your company wisely. Imagine this situation: chilling out in a perfect destination, completely relaxed and calm, feeling like you don’t have a single worry in the world, and suddenly you hear the voice of your workaholic friend talking about office stuff.

        It kills the feeling, right?

        When choosing travel companion(s), it is important to think about the personality of your friend(s). For example, your best friend is someone with whom you can talk about everything, share your deepest secrets, and laugh all night, but your bestie might like to sleep until the noon. On a vacation, this can be a problem, especially if you are planning to get up early every morning to go sightseeing, sunbathe, or just have an early breakfast. You will have an obligation to wake your best buddy every morning, and he or she will feel the same way. You will start as friends but might end up more like frenemies.

        The worst part – packing

          Image Credit: cmor15, Flickr

          For many, packing is an annoying activity that needs to be done before the trip. It tends to be exhausting and unnecessarily dramatic.

          Packing can a nerve-racking activity for many reasons. The first major problem is picking the right clothes. In most cases, there are two scenarios: either a whole wardrobe is packed or barely anything is packed. A lot of people tend to overpack, but there is no need to overpack; it can be avoided.

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          The best way to pack and avoid these two situations is to do your research about the destination, plan what you are going to visit and do, and then make a list of all the things you will need. When you put everything on paper, you’ll be more efficient and you’ll optimize your packing to utilize 100% of your packed stuff.

          Can planning be fun?

            Image Credit: Marc Kjerland, Flickr

            Although you might want to get out of your work lifestyle and chill out, going on a holiday without plans can be troublesome (or simply won’t be as awesome as it could be). It is possible to plan and optimize everything without getting bored or tired.

            Let your imagination run free and think about all the wild, unexplored, and exotic destinations that you can visit. Invite your friends, open a bottle of wine, and plan the route of your trip together.

            If you can’t agree with the choice of the hotel, destination, or transportation, vote — make the game out of it. Life is about the little things, so get the most out of it.

            I wish you many happy (and well-planned) holidays this year!

            Featured photo credit: yoppy via flickr.com

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            Published on November 14, 2018

            Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

            Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

            With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

            For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

            In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

            Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

            Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

            It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

            For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

            Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

            Symptoms of Fatigue

            Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

            • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
            • mental blocks
            • lack of motivation
            • headache
            • dizziness
            • muscle weakness
            • slowed reflexes and responses
            • impaired decision-making and judgement
            • moodiness, such as irritability
            • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
            • reduced immune system function
            • blurry vision
            • short-term memory problems
            • poor concentration
            • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

            Causes of Fatigue

            The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

            • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
            • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
            • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
            • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

            Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

            Medical Causes of Fatigue

            If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

            Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

            Anemia

            Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

            Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

            There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

            Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

            Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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            This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

            Diabetes

            Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

            Sleep Apnea

            Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

            Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

            Thyroid disease

            An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

            Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

            • Lack of sleep
            • Too much sleep 
            • Alcohol and drugs 
            • Sleep disturbances 
            • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
            • Poor diet 

            Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

            • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
            • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
            • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
            • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

            Psychological Causes of Fatigue

            Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

            • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
            • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
            • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

            How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

            Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

            1. Tell The Truth

            Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

            To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

            Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

            The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

            One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

            • How you feel
            • What time of day it is
            • What may have contributed to your fatigue
            • How your mind and body reacts

            This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

            2. Reduce Your Commitments

            When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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            If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

            When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

            Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

            3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

            If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

            Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

            If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

            Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

            Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

            4. Express More Gratitude

            Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

            It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

            Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

            5. Focus On Yourself

            Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

            There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

            But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

            We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

            6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

            Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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            Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

            The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

            Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

            7. Take a Power Nap

            When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

            Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

            This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

            8. Take More Exercise

            The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

            Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

            The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

            You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

            9. Get More Quality Sleep

            To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

            Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

            My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

            10. Improve Your Diet

            Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

            Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

            On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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            To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

            Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

            Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

            11. Manage Your Stress Levels

            Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

            When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

            Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

            My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

            12. Get Hydrated

            Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

            Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

            If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

            The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

            The Bottom Line

            These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

            If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

            Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
            [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
            [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
            [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
            [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
            [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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