It’s that time of the year again, when we all heave a huge sigh of relief and gratefully take a well-deserved break over the Easter holidays. We all need a real break!

So your holidays will be restful and rejuvenating, right?

Not so for many people! Their holidays are filled with tension and unhappiness. At the very time they should build up their buffering resources, in other words building their resilience, they can’t cope with the holiday stress.

Our coping and resilience is undermined if we create a magical picture in our minds of how perfect the holiday will be. Then, when our experience fails to match up to our dreams, we become unhappy and depressed.

Here are seven steps to build your ability to bounce back, to enhance your resilience and have great holiday:

1. Decide on the memories you want
Decide what general memories you would like to create. Meaningful memories are often created in three areas of significance:
a. Loved ones. These memories can range from just “being there” and “present” with them, to doing special and unusual things together.
b. Causes. These typically involve you spending time on things that are important to you, and range from feeding schemes to improving a neighbourhood park.
c. Your place in the universe, which includes faith and spirituality. For example, meditation, prayer and spending time in nature.

2. Set only a few goals

Now decide what you want most. Do you want to party with your wide network of friends or re-connect with your young family? Do you want to spend time exercising in the fresh air, or quietly reading books? Don’t try to have it all!
Once you have a few, clear goals, let them guide your choices and behaviour. Thus if your goal is to have fun with your young children, start playing games with them the minute you set off to your holiday destination.

3. Share your goals
It’s really difficult for your holiday companions to know what you would like from the holiday if you don’t tell them! So gently tell them, and ask how their goals fit with yours.

Then decide which of your goals to keep, and which to let go, so that everyone can achieve what’s important to them.

4. Be still, quiet and relax
Having established you holiday goals, now let go of all your expectations. Be present, noticing the effect it has on the people around you. Focus on one thing at a time, listening carefully to hear your special people around you. Switch off your smart phone, or at least only switch it on once-a-day to check for urgent messages.

5. Treat yourself
Your body has four needs which should be met during this holiday: adequate nutrition, hydration, sleep and exercise. In addition, treat yourself to slowness, downtime and rest. Be kind to yourself. If it works for you, pamper yourself with massage, yoga and bubble baths.

6. Create positive emotions
Focus your attention on those things which are going right in your life. What are you deeply grateful for? What three things have gone right for you in the last 24 hours? 
This will help you maintain perspective and boost your mood with genuine positive feelings.

7. Handling setbacks during the holidays
Things will go wrong. Do you react by drinking too much, overspending, isolating yourself and overeating? Or do you put what has happened into perspective, find a silver lining, and move on? We may not have a choice as to what happens, but we do have a choice as to how we react.

Use these seven tips during this holiday to boost your coping resources and build your resilience. Enjoy your holidays – you will never get to live them over again!