Four Steps to Ensure You Return from Your Vacation Rested
Getting away from your home, your daily routine and responsibilities provides a needed mental break necessary for you to rejuvenate and re-energize. Vacations can provide valuable time for a mental reset that can be beneficial to you both personally and professionally.
Unfortunately, we often come back from a vacation tired and worn down and needing additional time to recover from our trip. To help, here are some suggestions for getting the most out of your time off.
The Four R’s
Rest. Try to schedule your vacation activities in a way that allows you to get some rest. Many of us schedule our vacations so tightly that we have to stay up late the night before we leave to do laundry, clean house, and pack, making us exhausted before we even leave! We then are so busy and frantic during the vacation itself that we become more tired. And we also leave little margin at the end to catch up from being gone. Try this: plan some days to sleep in, maybe take naps and schedule in free time.
Refresh. Do you know what is mentally and emotionally refreshing to you? For me, it’s nature. I haven’t truly been on vacation if I’m not able to spend some time outdoors. For others, it’s being pampered: eating out, going to a spa, or staying at a nice hotel. Some people are refreshed by visual beauty, others by learning about new places, history or culture. Young parents (both dads, but especially moms) need some time alone for refreshment even if it is just one day (or several hours!). Identify what renews your spirit and schedule some of this type of activity into your vacation.
Reflect. Being away from your daily routine, responsibilities, and environment can provide the mental space needed to reflect on your life. Is this how you want to live? What changes would you like to make so your daily life more closely reflects your true values? Is your current pathway leading you to your goals (personally, professionally, relationally, health-wise)? Schedule some time to be by yourself, reflect, and write down your thoughts.
Relationships. For many, vacation is a time of renewing and deepening important relationships. Families on vacation together have the opportunity to spend longer time periods together. When used correctly — that is, talking or experiencing unique activities together, versus each person listening to their own cell phone or playing video games. Vacations can be a significant time in a family’s life. For individuals who are not currently in a significant relationship, vacations can be utilized to deepen friendships by going on vacations with friends or by visiting family members. (Note that those who are more introverted will need some time alone, as being with other people non-stop is exhausting for them.)
There are obviously other ways to make your vacation work for you, giving you the sense of relaxation and refreshment we all desire from our vacations. But ultimately, the best way to benefit from taking a vacation is to make sure you take one.
Paul White with Appreciation At Work