We just returned from a much-needed family vacation. I find it important that I take a break from my daily routine and surroundings. Not that my routine changes drastically, but it is a good time to put the daily stresses and strains of adult life on hold for a while to give us some fresh perspective on our lives. My kids laughed at me when they caught me sitting alone on the beach and asked what I was doing. I calmly answered that I was meditating. There is a good chance that in their mind they had pictured me sitting cross-legged, wearing one of my many tie-dyes, levitating and chanting “Om”. It is hard to explain to our teens that time away from the pull of work, etc. is a great time to reflect on where we are, where we want to be and what it would potentially take to get there.
I recently had a conversation with someone that I have known for years. He commented on the fact that this was the first time in many years that he took time off and went away. He was not so amazed at the getting away part, but at the way he felt while half way across the country and the energy he had upon his return. This small conversation was a good example of focusing on the day-to-day activities that we fail to see that we are in need of much needed down time. As much as we try to be, human beings are not quite the Energizer Bunnies we envision ourselves. The lesson that he realized was that he did need to take time, even if it is only a long weekend, to rest and re-energize himself. Something done since the initial trip and something he is planning again in the future.
For me, the following are signs that I need a vacation:
1. I need more sleep – I have always been good functioning on 6 hours of sleep a night, plus one night a week sleeping 8 hours. The last few weeks, I needed much more.
2. My focus wavers – I find that I am easily distracted from the tasks in front of me.
3. I have less patience – I am generally a patient person, so once this starts to go…
4. Socialization skills lessen – I find that while I am happy to be around people, I talk less and might seem less friendly than usual.
5. Receive strange looks from my family – My comments tend to lag a few minutes behind conversations, which lead my wife and kids to question what conversation I am participating in.
In the weeks leading up to the vacation, the brain was definitely not firing on all cylinders. Now that I have had the opportunity to recharge my battery – I am back! Bottom line – do not be a schtarka (referring to a brave, strong man, not the Get Smart character), take vacations! They are good and healthy for your mind, body and soul!
Feel free to share below the signs you notice when it is time to take a vacation.