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It’s summer, the season for packing your bags, disconnecting your email from your mobile phone and leaving the office behind. Holidays are a time we all look forward so as to escape, rest or devote ourselves to a personal hobby that we don’t have time for during the rest of the year.

However, the holidays are also a perfect time to apply some tips to improve personal and professional development.

Don’t panic! This article is not intended to suggest that you should devote yourself to your work during your days off. Nothing could be further from the truth. We just want to give you some recommendations to turn your holidays into a good time to improve your emotional intelligence, without completely losing the switch-off mode.


What is emotional intelligence?

In practical terms, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise and manage our own emotions and those of others. It’s a fundamental skill when it comes to interpersonal communication, and a crucial topic not only in psychology, but also for personal and professional development. It involves using this emotional understanding to make decisions, solve problems and communicate with others.


“Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise and manage our own emotions and those of others”


How to become an emotionally intelligent person

In 1993, Daniel Goleman published Emotional Intelligence, a book that included more than 300 studies conducted on executives from 15 companies around the world. The findings showed that the top managers who rose fastest and were most successful within the company were not those with the highest IQs, but those who were the most self-confident. They were able to influence others and had a greater ability to focus on their goals.

It was then that the concept of emotional intelligence became popular. Today, we all know that emotional competencies are as important as any other skill. Fortunately, emotional intelligence is not an innate quality, but can be worked on throughout life.

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Tips to improve personal and professional development during summertime

Here are some tips that can help you develop your emotional intelligence during the holidays.

1. Think about yourself

At some point, we have all thought about organising a trip to get to know ourselves better or to discover new facets of our personality. The truth is that you don’t need to fly to some ydillic country thousands of kilometres away to achieve this. In fact, all you need is time to relax and let your mind wander away from the pressures of everyday life.

Since self-awareness is the basis of emotional intelligence, it is worth planning a holiday that gives you time to be alone with your thoughts, something that is often difficult during a normal working week.

2. Finding ways to empathise

Being empathetic implies putting oneself in the other person’s shoes. To achieve this, it is necessary to take an interest in the person, to know their culture, hobbies, life situation, needs and goals.

Holidays are a good time for us to notice more easily those little details that, during our routine, often go unnoticed.

Observe the people around you: their facial expressions, posture, clothing and gait. All these things can give you clues about what the person in front of you is like and how they feel.

Moreover, when we travel, we often meet people who are very different from us. It is an opportunity to practice active listening with the intention of understanding others and building bridges.

Basically, it is about training the ability to understand one’s own emotions as a basis for understanding those of others and to eliminate prejudices and stereotypes.

3. Practice asssertiveness

Many people have a hard time asking for change or asking for anything they want or need. But what’s the worst that can happen if someone says no? You stay the same as you were before you asked. Emotionally intelligent people are aware of this.

Beyond the boardroom, holidays are an ideal setting for training in the art of asking questions and being assertive. When you check into your accommodation, if you feel like it, try to ask for an upgrade. If there is a problem with your meal, let the waiter know. All this, of course, while being polite and opting for the essential rules of politeness.

4. Step out of your comfort zone

How many times have you made up your mind to take up yoga in the morning or finally sign up for French classes? Sometimes it’s not a question of willpower, but rather of lack of time. The daily routine gets in our way when we want to introduce new habits.

Emotionally intelligent people are not immune to this, but they’re good at using holiday time to focus on what we often don’t have time for. This is the time to try new things and find ways to incorporate them into your daily life after you return home.

5. Rethink your goals

Forget about New Year’s resolutions. Holidays are a good time to review past goals or even set new ones. Away from our daily routine we can assess where we are and what we would like to change in our lives. One thing that characterises people with emotional intelligence is that they are able to step away from their daily habits from time to time to refocus.

The new experiences that accompany the holidays can give you the opportunity to discover new goals and aspirations. If you have to return to an unfulfilling job or office when your days off are over, it may be time for a change of direction.

Emotional intelligence can be developed without giving up rest and disconnection. Lying on a deckchair overlooking the sea or hiking in the mountains, we can always try to connect with our own emotions and recognise our desires and needs.

For more tips on how to improve your personal and professional development, click here to find out how to boost your career.