With the rapid pace of today’s world, rarely do people find themselves alone. Employees and coworkers demand attention, and then friends and family members do at home. While having a strong, loving group of people is important, it’s also important to spend time alone.

Everyone has heard of a “staycation,” where instead of traveling you stay home and explore your neighbourhood and city. But, when was the last time you did something for yourself? When did you visit a location that you got to choose, without catering to anyone else’s opinion? A “youcation” means saying goodbye (for a little while) to your family and friends (and work!) and setting off on your own adventure.

The Downward Spiral Of Clinginess And Codependence

Feeling a sense of clinginess toward another person or even a beloved pet is quite common. A new mother is reluctant to hand off an infant, a child doesn’t want to share his kitten, or a husband is a tiny bit jealous of the attention his beautiful wife receives. Some people show love by being clingy - but when does it go too far?       

Codependency was originally used to define the relationships between addicts and their spouses. More recent studies suggest that codependency is not the result of a personality disorder, but rather a normal reaction to living with a substance abuser. A study in Iran found that women married to addicts were more likely to be agreeable, and a link was found between neuroticism and codependence.1

Giving Your Brain A Chance To Rest

As our understanding of social neuroscience progresses, we can see what we need to influence in terms of behavioural changes. When our brains are in the default network mode, we can connect more readily with others, thereby increasing influence. This network is active when we are seemingly not thinking (like daydreaming), and it’s important to spend time each day allowing your brain to “rest.”

We cling nervously to the melody, but we don’t handle it freely, we don’t really make anything new out of it, we merely overload it.

 Johannes Brahms

When we spend time on our own, we have an opportunity to allow the brain a chance to relax - no phone beeping, no kids screaming, no friends complaining. You don’t even have to go far, if your time and means are limited.

4 Ideas For A Youcation

You can take time for yourself, and give your brain a break, even on a budget. Consider these four ideas to spend some time on your own.

  1. Make your “youcation” a staycation. Wife taking a business trip? Partner out of town with the kids? When you find yourself alone at home, do something for yourself. Pop into the pool for a relaxing swim, crack open that novel you’ve had for months, or simply nap in the shade with a cold drink.
  2. Consider going outdoors for a night or two. If you have a tent, pack up some supplies and hit the trail. A few days exploring nature gives your brain the chance to reset and when you return to the real world, you’ll be more agile and better able to influence others.
  3. Make the journey itself the adventure. Instead of going to an actual destination, maybe take a trip to nowhere. Book a roundtrip train seat and take a ride in the countryside. Many railways offer sleeper cars, so don’t forget your pajamas and some good books.
  4. Follow your dream and take THAT trip. Always wanted to go to Japan? Hawaii? Scotland? Cheaper airline tickets are often available if you can travel quickly and by yourself, so why not check off somewhere on your bucket list? Leave your phone behind and go on the adventure you’ve always wanted.

Unhealthy relationships, such as those that are overly clingy or codependent, will have a negative impact on the person and everyone around them. Leaders who exhibit these traits will be less likely to act with agility or to inspire others.

Leaders with high levels of agility can influence others easily, and the i4 Neuroleader Model gives leaders the opportunity to assess all aspects of their lives to determine where strengths and weakness lie. Weaknesses such as clinginess can be overcome with an understanding of how the brain functions, increasing influence and agility.

Panaghi, L., Ahmadabadi, Z., Khosravi, N., Sadeghi, M. S., & Madanipour, A. (2016). Living with Addicted Men and Codependency: The Moderating Effect of Personality Traits. Addiction Health, 8(2), 98–106.

Originally posted on: 6 September 2018
Last updated on: 18 February 2024

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Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.

Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.

Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership

In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.

Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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