A True Vacation

“Vacation used to be a luxury, however in today’s world, it has become a necessity.” –unknown

I just returned from a wonderful, relaxing family vacation in the mountains of North Carolina. What made the vacation so wonderful was just ‘being’ with family and sharing stories and lots of laughter. Although we had some activities planned, most of the time was unscheduled and spontaneous. It was a true vacation as the dictionary defines it: vacation – “freedom, a respite from something, a scheduled period during which activity is suspended, a period of exemption from work.” I had taken some work with me, (thinking I might use the time while flying to and from NC), but I never looked at the materials. My heart wanted the entire vacation experience to be a respite, a time to recharge with no emails, no phone calls, and no work.

I am amazed at how many people take so-called vacations and constantly stay in touch with work. Their mind never gets the rest and quiet it needs, and with out this quiet, the heart and spirit are drowned out. When I was in the corporate world, I remember how often vacations were spoiled by a call from the office. I could be a thousand miles away resting at the beach, and all of a sudden my mind was jerked back into work (and stress) with one phone call. After the call, it was almost impossible to return to the same carefree attitude that I had achieved. And today for most people it is even worse, because they go on vacation with their laptops, business cell phones and pagers; they are never out of touch.

When was the last time you took a true vacation – with no contact with your business or work? What impact is the “24/7” trend having on you mentally, physically and spiritually? What would it take for you to make the break and totally leave work behind for just one week? Does just the thought scare you? What’s your biggest fear surrounding this? Are you afraid that you will miss something important or is it ego or martyrdom saying that the business or office cannot run without you? Remember that one of the signs of a successful leader, entrepreneur or business person is the ability to leave for an extended period and have everything run smoothly while they are gone.

Perhaps it is a need to be connected, be essential or be useful that drives people to constantly be on call. If this is true for you, how else might you get this need met and still have a true vacation from work? Here are some possible suggestions to spur your thinking – vacation with family or friends that need your support or volunteer for a week with a charitable organization, or be a guide and lead others on a trip. If being “dis-connected” from work for a week really scares you, then plan a mini-vacation to wean yourself from work. Start with just a weekend or 2 days with NO work (that includes emails and calls). Gradually move up to a full week’s vacation totally away from work and note how you feel during and after – you will be amazed at the results!

The key to experiencing a true vacation is to break from what you have been doing. Give your mind and body a rest and allow your spirit to guide you. When you return to work you will be more creative, more productivity and re-energized. Doesn’t that sound wonderful!

Copyright May 2005