Stoicism on holiday

I'm currently writing this on a sun bed on holiday in Corfu - and it’s raining. If it wasn’t obvious enough, that's the hot topic of conversation at the hotel! “It’s not rained here in months” and “We’d have been better off staying at home” are a couple of the conversations I’ve heard on loop, along with people routinely checking the weather. This, accompanied by miserable faces and attitudes - happy holidays!


It’s got me thinking about how beneficial stoicism is to me in life (and on holiday). Here’s how I’ve been using my stoicism practice:

Be informed but don’t fixate

Whilst I have checked the weather, I’ve only kept myself informed enough to have an idea of what to expect. Others are checking constantly, perhaps clinging to the hope that another weather app might have a different outlook. I also have in the back of my mind that it might still change and, if it does, what a bonus!

Focus on what you can control

As Epictetus said, this is the chief task in stoicism - to focus on what we do control. In this situation, no amount of weather checking or complaining is going to change this situation. It’s out of my control.

However, we do control how we respond to the situation. Me and my partner have planned things to do still whilst the weather isn’t as good (she’s currently having a spa treatment and I’m on the beach enjoying a coffee). We are also still going to do the things we said we wanted to - swim, go on a boat trip, explore the surroundings do yoga outside, etc. 

Epictetus reminds us that every situation has two handles - one by which it can be carried and one by which it can’t. Aligning with this, my mindset for the trip is - can I enjoy my holiday and make the most of it, despite the weather?

Keeping your mindset right

For me, this is about not letting other people’s negativity get into you. The stoics talk about how this is an inner citadel, which nothing from the outside can disturb. “Nowhere you can go is more peaceful – more free of interruptions – than your own soul.” - Marcus Aurelius. 

Remember, misery loves company (but it’s not good company!).

See the situation as an opportunity

In stoicism books, I’ve heard this called a challenge from the stoic gods, which I quite like, but also seeing it as opportunity is powerful. I’m using this as a chance to actively practice my stoicism which reinforces for me how timeless and useful this philosophy is. Moreover, it’s a chance for me to keep myself and my mindset strong and positive. 

Minding my language (mindful language)

Words carry power and this is where the language we use is important. Being mindful of this whilst others have been using words like how the weather has ruined or spoilt their day, I just said, “It’s a bit annoying.”

When others ask how was your holiday? I would imagine others might mention the weather first. For me, this will just be an afterthought if I mention it at all…

Developing my gratitude practice

Whilst I wouldn’t have wished for a wet start to our holiday, I know when it does improve and the sun comes out, I’ll feel even more grateful for this and not take it for granted. I’ve also shifted my focus to what’s good about the holiday; quality time with my partner, a break from work, and amazing food and drink. An attitude of gratitude is better than just an attitude/a bad attitude.

In a nutshell, what’s the point of complaining and being miserable? The best response is to not be like that and focus on the good and how you respond.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Bramley RG26 & Reading RG31
Written by Kieran Townsend, Youth Development Coach & Mentor
Bramley RG26 & Reading RG31

Kieran Townsend
Youth development coach and mentor

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