Personal Development

5 Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence During Your Vacation

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It's that time where many of us at work looking forward to all year, taking out holidays. It is a time that we can get away from the stressors of the workplace and the rest of our lives to relax, regenerate, let loose and just have fun. The idea of doing anything that even remotely reminds us of our work might not seem very appealing. However, vacation time doesn't have to be dead time when it comes to our self-improvement. The good news is that we can increase our skill set while relaxing, having fun and getting away from the stressors of life. We just do it in ways that fit seamlessly into our holiday mode. According to the World Economic Forum, emotional intelligence will be one of the top Job Skills by 2020. Boosting our emotional intelligence is something we can easily do in fun ways during our holidays.

Here are 5 ways we can do it.

Increasing self-awareness

During vacations we tend to slow down, unwind and let our minds wander away from the day to day life pressures. Or at least that's what we are told holidays are for. Since self-awareness is the basis of emotional intelligence we can notice things about ourselves that we don't do in our everyday lives. What kind of people irritate us, what kind of people are we drawn to? Who do these people remind us of? Being in a laid back, relaxed state is an excellent time to do some self-reflection.

Increasing empathy

Holidays are a great time to people watch. While doing this we could make a game out of noticing things about people with our friends and family and having discussions about them. Their facial expressions, posture, dress and manner of walking are all great ways to gather clues about what is going on with people. This could also be used when going to movies, restaurants and live performances. It's also a great way to engage with those we are close to that we are on holidays with. Not only will this increase our empathy but may also add depth and meaning to our vacation experiences.

Increasing Assertiveness

Many people struggle with asking for what they want and therefore miss out on getting more from life. The worst that can happen is getting a no, in which case, we are no worse off than before we asked. However, we could get a yes. Vacation time is a great time to practice stretching our asking muscles. When checking into our accommodation we could ask for an upgrade. If there is a problem with our meal at a restaurant we could tell the server. Because we often won't see the people we are dealing with again, it may be easier to practice asking for what we want. Moving out of our comfort zone and asking for things we normally don't ask for will make it easier to do it next time. It will also give us a feeling of satisfaction and increase our self- esteem.

Goal setting and visualization

Vacations are a great time to revisit previous goals and, or set new ones. Away from our everyday lives gives us an opportunity to take a look at where we are in our lives and contemplate where we would like to be. Just being away from the daily routines provide us with a great opportunity to refocus and do an inventory of our lives. The stimulation and new experiences that come with vacations bring us out of our normal comfort zones and can stimulate new thoughts and ideas of what we want to do with our lives. For myself I find myself more creative and insightful when vacationing in the mountains or by the ocean. Is there a special place that does the same for you? If you are going back to a job/career that is not satisfying this could provide you with the first steps towards making needed changes in your life towards more fulfilling work. Being able to get away and do some self-reflection has resulted in many people coming up with life changing ideas during their holidays.

Increasing stress tolerance

While we may tell ourselves that we intend to do things like meditate daily, life gets in the way and other things come up that at the time seem more important. Vacations give us the opportunity to get back to the things that we know we should do for ourselves, but don't make time for. We can also try new things which we may find rewarding and relaxing and decide to incorporate them into our daily lives when we return home. We may even discover new areas that we want to consider trying as a new career or business

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About the author

Harvey Deutschendorf

Harvey Deutschendorf is an emotional intelligence expert, internationally published author and speaker. To take the EI Quiz go to His book THE OTHER KIND OF SMART, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success has been published in 4 languages. Harvey writes for FAST COMPANY and has a monthly column with HRPROFESSIONALS MAGAZINE. You can follow him on Twitter @theeiguy