Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

Ferien! Holidays! Vacation!

July 26th, 2016

In Switzerland the word for this season is “Ferien” and it lasts at least until mid-August


Ferien means vacation, or for my British friends, holidays. It means no school for five weeks (in the Ticino it’s two months, though). It means family holidays away somewhere; days of endless swimming at beaches; camping; backpacking; biking; and whatever else your heart desires that the pocketbook can afford. I am almost there; how about you?


Take a vacation!

In the US most people only have two weeks of holidays. In Switzerland the law is a minimum of 4 and most people have at least six. I do like this about where I live, I like it a whole lot! Most researchers would tell you that two weeks of vacation is too little, but at least it’s something, as long as you take it. It is really important to have a change of pace, a change of rest. Have the words “break, rest, free-time, hobby, holiday, and vacation” taken on a fuzzy foreign-word feeling? This is not good.


Do you feel like you can’t take a vacation because nobody else can do your job, or at least do it the way you can? Also, this is really quite a problem, for you and for your company.


So, are you always thinking about work, even when you are on vacation, lying on a beach sipping a cool drink? Hmmm… Need I ask more? You really DO need a break:


Help for the business from your vacation

Being away from work can truly help you. You are able to rest; you can regenerate; you become more creative, once again. Some of our best business/work ideas come while day-dreaming, and that may come from a good long vacation for you. Nice, huh? If you don’t take a holiday, you may become like Jack, the proverbial dull boy. I can’t help but quote an article from the economist:


“All this “leaning in” is producing an epidemic of overwork, particularly in the United States. Americans now toil for eight-and-a-half hours a week more than they did in 1979. A survey last year by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that almost a third of working adults get six hours or less of sleep a night. Another survey last year by Good Technology, a provider of secure mobile systems for businesses, found that more than 80% of respondents continue to work after leaving the office, 69% cannot go to bed without checking their inbox and 38% routinely check their work e-mails at the dinner table.”



Your body, mind and soul need rest and regeneration for a better level of performance at work. Your soul needs it for your personal well-being. You are not a machine and you need “you time”.


Creative Regeneration

The best way to become more creative at work is to schedule thinking time. A vacation can do this, too, but maybe both is the bet way, since hopefully, your thinking on holiday is less directed, and more like day dreaming.


But… I can’t stop thinking about work!!!

Maybe you worry and obsess about work even when you are on holiday. Remember, you can set your own limits. Check your work Emails every second or third day? Or only once a week? And turn off your phone. Just do it. Also, remember to do something different, or that requires mental concentration. I have recently taken up rock balancing and find it very fun, challenging, and helpful for my body, mind and soul. Whatever it is, make it challenging enough that you can’t think about work.


Be sure your team takes a vacation, too

Model it: if you are the boss, MODEL what a good vacation looks like!

You team needs to see that you can take a break so they feel good about it. Remember, they need to be recharged and creative at work, too!


Prepare for it

Preparation is key, though. Be prepared so you can leave but also so you can look forward to it. One of the best things to do to make you happier is to plan a vacation. But make sure your job/business will not suffer while you are away.


I wrote about holidays last summer in July, and here is the link: For more fun reading on vacationing, look here:


So, get ready and then take that vacation. Just do it! For the next few weeks I will be away on holiday, so I have re-worked a few blogs that will be re-posted. Enjoy!


Happy summer,

Patricia Jehle

The Nitty-Gritty in Decision-Making

July 19th, 2016


The nitty-gritty part of decision-making

Last week I wrote in my blog about making decisions. I want to remind you of one thing before moving on into some nitty-gritty advice about decision-making. Remember, I said it is easier to make a decision when you limit your choices, so start there. The sky may me the limits, but your brain deals better with between two and six options. Here is my blog from last week about the concepts of decision-making, if you have not yet read it:


The nitty-gritty, some ideas:

Me, my values, needs and wants

Take time to think about yourself: what makes you tick, what makes you passionate and what leaves you cold. Would this decision some how go against the fabric of who you are? Would it enhance the person you are?

Also, you are given permission to say what you need and what you want. I write this, because some people have been conditioned to over look these things, and it is very important to take your own needs and wants into consideration.


The environment: my mentors, my co-workers, friends, family, etc…

What would the different people in my life tell me? Ask them, especially if it is an important decision. Remember you were not put on this earth alone; use the gifts you have been given in your various relationships to help you decide.


What’s the present environment? What are the options right now? Later?

What door is open today, at this very moment? What might be open in three, six, nine and twelve months? How long am I able or willing to wait to make a decision? Does waiting make a (big) difference?


Evaluate the consequences

  • Do a cost benefit analysis of the options, or simply list the positive and negative results
  • Scale the options
  • Look at the consequences, not just for myself, but for my family, and for my life, long-term
  • What would the consequences be in a year, in three years, in five years, in ten…?
  • Do I have enough time, money, energy, strength with what I have now? What will I have to give up? What is too much to give up?
  • If I look back on my life at 80 years old, what will I think of the decision, either way?


When I decide this or that, what happens in my inner-self?

When I decide A what does my gut feel? How about when I decide B or C? Where is my inner peace? Or if there is equal weight for either choice, try flipping a coin and then do what your gut feeling says (not on whether it’s heads or tails). In other words, use the coin to find out what you really want, and then do it.

If that doesn’t work, try waiting three days. Don’t think about it; just be – and then try deciding. Remember to “watch” your dreams; they may be telling you something, too.



Remember to not take yourself and your decision so seriously that you can’t make one. All decisions are part a of a flow in your life and though there are consequences for every decision, the hard consequences from poor decisions can be overcome and to some extent, repaired. So, make your decision, accept the consequences and start living. Don’t get stuck in the middle of the decision-making process. That’ no-mans land and we can’t live there for long. Remember, no decision is also a decision of sort, and not a very good one.

Maybe the best decision for you right now is to take a vacation, even from decision-making. A holiday, a vacation is on the horizon for me. Hopefully it is for you, too!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Patricia Jehle



Waiting can be good for us…

June 21st, 2016



I am waiting. Waiting for summer to really arrive, in more ways than one. Waiting for (hopefully good) news on many fronts, including Brexit, too.


Having lived about half my life in a country where Memorial Day, is the “beginning of summer”. I have always felt that mid-July is way too late for summer vacation, for my, my husband’s and the kids’ holidays, to begin. Here in Switzerland, June is a school month.


After all, one should be able to experience the solstice today and not worry about school. But no, there are tests to take (and/or correct) and meetings to attend well past that wonderfully wistful date of the midnight sun. Here it’s around 10pm or so when the sun sets and we have these great new Adirondack chairs to sit in and watch it.


So I am waiting for summer holidays to begin, but it looks like a long four weeks for us Jehles.


Except for my middle child, who has finished taking his high school (gymnasium) final exams – a process of something like a month. Now he has two weeks to go as he is waiting for a different kind of beginning: The Swiss Military Recruit Training School. He is looking forward to about five months of no studying but instead learning all sorts of new skills that have little to do with academia.


I am also waiting for the rain to stop. Perhaps you know of the flooding going on in greater Europe. Well, it’s raining here, too.


But I guess what I am really waiting for is for life to calm down and the summer heat to overwhelm us all so we become incredibly lazy, drink iced tea and eat ice cream, but maybe not in that order.


We have our new Adirondack chairs — and my husband is expecting for us to spend evenings in them, drinking cool drinks and listening to the crickets. I love crickets, and there’s one nearby. I hear it when I walk the dog, who also seems to be waiting for summer to arrive.


As a child growing up in the US, I remember endless days of iced tea, books and sitting in the shade. Of fishing and swimming lessons, and then going swimming again in the afternoon, even if we’d had lessons. I am waiting once again for that kind of day where the to-do list is non-existent and all I need to do is remember to eat. And get dressed: A real vacation.


But now I wait, at least another four weeks and then we will see what (the rest of the) summer brings.


I think I heard this somewhere and I believe it: Waiting is actually good for us humans; it gives us something to hope for, to look forward to. A famous man wrote that hope does not disappoint us. I think he was right. Hope and planning causes us almost as much joy as the actual activity, anyway. Hmmm. So waiting can be very positive.


What are you waiting for? What are you hoping for? How are you waiting, perhaps proactively?


Patricia Jehle

Regional Director at the Alpha Group, Switzerland and Coach



Mae Hong Son on my mind

December 30th, 2015

What I would have written for a BA writing competition, had I qualified.


I decided to write something for the competition called cities even though I didn’t qualify. I was there a year ago and miss my friends and the place (and Chiang Mai and Pai) dearly. What would you write about?


The Shan City of Mae Hong Son, Thailand


Muang Mae Hong Son is an gateway, full of local charm. As a gateway, it receives refugees and visitors from Myanmar on a regular basis. The UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) has an official office there and, of course, works with various non-profit organizations, especially the Border Consortium, to help the incoming refugees to be processed and cared for. You can find it right near the airport, just around the corner from the nearest seven-eleven.


Visitors travelling via local ground transport from the southern Shan State in Myanmar are allowed to stay and visit the hospital in Mae Hong Son with a special permit. The Thai government sees this provision as part of its humanitarian effort to help those on the other side of the border who have little access to health care.


The city of Mae Hong Son itself is as Shan as the other side of border in Myanmar.   One can get a truck to Myanmar at the market. Usually, it is the Shan and the Karen peoples who use this cross-border ground travel. Although it is commonly known that Burmese insurgents live just on the other side of the border, it is not a dangerous city at all. The insurgents also make use the hospital and shopping in Mae Hong Son and they run some of the informal travel between the two parts of the Shan-kin network, as well as a few of the border check-points. The rest of the border controls are under the Burmese military or the police.


Thus, one can say that Mae Hong Son is pretty Shan in culture. If you don’t know what that is, Google it. I have a friend who recently published a book, From Princes to Persecuted, by Shona Goodman, PhD, for the more curious. Mae Hong Son sports a lake (called a pond in the local language) surrounded by Buddhist temples, one of them being of Shan architecture. The Wat on the local mountain is not Thai, but also Burmese and Shan inspired in its making. The food in the market, although it can also be ethnic Thai, much is Shan and one can taste such delicacies such as the dark-colored sticky rice called kao phuk. My favorite Shan food is the savory breakfast porridge made up of chick pea flour. I can say it is only for the adventurous, but it’s probably even gluten free.


For the rather adventurous types, you might want to try and meet up with some of the Free Burma Rangers. There are people at the night market and in the restaurants that know other people who know people. Just ask, or they may approach you as happened to me. Also, you can be sure to enjoy the parade of nations at the night market. The city has, at any time of the year, visitors from all over the world. The people watching is at its best, because these are not the typical travellers you find in Bangkok, but those who prefer the off the beaten track type of holiday, as I do.


October 13th, 2015

Truth Believe Act Feel

I wish those four words turned into an acronym, but alas, no.

However, even without an acronym, they are a wise way of processing thoughts and actions. When I take a truth, such as you are a unique human being of worth, and then decide to believe and act on that truth, my feelings of self-worth should increase. That is a good process.

This process of checking our thoughts and feelings according to what is true may keep us from inaccurate thoughts and poor choices.

One Truth: We Can Change

One of the truths about us humans besides our innate worth is our ability to change and learn. Thus I can say that I am able to change my habits and learn new healthier ones. This is a truth that I can believe about myself and about the person facing me.   What a liberating though, and it is completely true!

Believe it!

When I believe that change is part of our human abilities, all sorts of possibilities open up for me, for you, for the person in front of me. Wow, what would you like to change? I don’t mean physical appearance and other superficial things. I mean, would you like to be more organized? You can be! Would you like to be a “go-getter”? Well then, you can be! Would you like to… the possibilities are great. But you must take that truth, I can change, to heart and really believe it.

Act on it!

Then, take that belief and put it to the test. Act like it is true. You have to start moving, trying and trying again. There is work in change. It’s not just a mindset, but a way of living. Thus, to become organized, you have to start organizing and setting up some systems of organization. It’s not “magic”, it’s thinking and acting in new ways. It’s learning and changing. It’s a process. And you must start somewhere and then move to change.

The feelings will follow.

When I start working on the change I want, the probability of a failure must be accepted. We all fail and then what happens after the failure is key. We must look at that failure, and not punish ourselves, but really look at it, reflect on it, learn from it, and take it into consideration for “the next time”. When we feel that it is okay to make mistakes, to fall down and get back into the “ring of life”, we are going to make the change we want. We who learn from our mistakes are the ones who succeed in the end.

I have to admit that it is easy to write this blog where I am today- somewhere on a Canary Island, off the coast of Africa. The sun is warm, the surf is loud, and the tourist season hasn’t really started, at least not here, yet. I will be back to the whole Truth Believe Act Feel process in just a few days, but for today, I am only in reflection mode. A break is always good for reflection.

So, what are you believing about yourself  and your work today?

Patricia at

the way to do it:  decide on the truth, believe it, act on it, and let feelings follow

the way to do it: decide on the truth, believe it, act on it, and let feelings follow

Re-surfacing: returning to work after a long holiday

August 11th, 2015


We as a family have just had more than two weeks of holiday. It’s been great, but returning to the job can be difficult if you attack the workload too quickly. Sometimes returning to work can be emotionally or physically difficult, especially if you have really had a mental break from your every-day schedule. It can feel like you are a deep-sea diver coming to the surface again, facing a foreign world from where you have recently been. Here are some things I try to do to make the re-adjustment smooth; maybe you can do them too!


Start on a Wednesday, or even Thursday

Make your first work-week lighter by only working a few days, or perhaps schedule something “fun” first, such as a training day, or a team building day where you have no choice but to ignore your email list.


Alternatively, check the email list immediately when you return (at home – and be brutal with your triage, no replies, just deletes).


Start slowly, with lowered expectations

Do not plan a long first day or two, but slowly get into your list of “to-dos”; don’t expect to get finished with your list, but try to focus on one or two key goals for the first few days. Remember to reacquaint yourself with the team, the space, and the food, too. Perhaps you have a souvenir you want to put on your desk to remind you of the great time you have just had.


Revisit your vacation memories

Speaking of souvenirs, maybe you want to review your photos, or try and make that green curry you learned to make in cooking class. As a family, we always bring back food and the most recent trip was to places that allowed us to have an awesome “German Vesper” with sausages, cheeses, spreads, wonderful bread – and of course, great beer. The meal was away for us to re-live the holiday experience in our own home, and was a way to anchor it in our memories.


Have or make future holiday plans

Not only are we attending a wedding at the end of the month, but we already have plans for a week away together in the fall, not to mention some friends are visiting next week and some family are visiting next month. So, although we will be working, we have very positive activities to look forward to. This helps when work gets tough: we can look ahead to the next mini-break (a weekend away celebrating a marriage of friends) and to the next longer break in October. These plans help make the days pass with positive thoughts.

Got time for holidays?

July 13th, 2015


Skipping the summer vacation?


Although our family is taking less vacation than our normal 3-4 week time away from home in July and August, we will still have some holidays together. How about you?


The temptation is to keep on working


Many of us are tempted to skip summer holidays, or, at least check out work emails daily while at the beach or in the hotel. After all, nobody wants 1,000 emails to go back to work to. But psychologist have found it vital for our health and well-being if we can completely shut down for a while, even if it’s a 48-hour break from emails, and a change of pace and scenery. August is coming up and then September. Have you planned your vacation? Taken it already? Decided to skip it this summer? A quote below shows the importance, or lack thereof, of vacations in different countries:


“The online travel agency Expedia conducted a survey about vacation time in 2010, and according to their data the average American earned 18 vacation days—but only used 14 of them. Every European country included in the survey reported both more vacation days earned and used. France topped the list, with the average worker earning 37 vacation days and using all but two of them. And according to Expedia’s data, only 38 percent of Americans said they used all of their vacation time, compared to 63 percent of French respondents.”


Your physical and mental health depend on R&R


Studies have shown that we need to take time away from the daily schedule of work for our health, whatever that place activity and might be. It is the “other” that causes restoration and growth. For example, new places make new mental neuron synapses grow and rest the overused “pathways” of much used tracks of thinking in our brains.


Not only that, but stress levels are reduced and therefore, productivity increases with a break in work. Employers should be sending their team members away more often just for better productivity—and for better creativity. The employees return to work relaxed and healthier, ready for more challenges to be overcome.


Your need to relax or you might find it difficult to do so later on


It has been shown that, depending on your actual stress level at any point in time, it will take more or less time to unwind and really relax. If you go for too long, it becomes increasingly difficult to wind down. Eventually, you will be unable to “remember how to relax”, and may be in danger of burnout. Therefore, even long weekends with no emails are recommended to keep you “in practice”.



Your family matters, and spending time with family builds the relationship


Finally, it is important to remember that the reason you are working is less important than your relationship with your loved ones. Take the time off to build your relationships with them, doing things you all feel are enjoyable and relaxing. For my family the place and activity is probably going to be rock hunting in the Ticino; for another family or couple it would be another place and pastime. But it is the time spent together in the end that matters, because those are our key relationships.


Just do it.


So, take that time off; limit the amount of time on work-related activities such as emails; do things with those people you love; and mostly, have fun this summer! There is only one Summer of 2015, after all. Enjoy!


Note: I am taking a few weeks off my blog, as most people are on holiday and I will be, too. See you in August! You can still reach me via email at , but I will only be checking my mail 2-3 times per week. Enjoy your summer!