Getting the Most Out of Your Vacation
Last summer my husband and I visited family in Alaska. We stayed in a lodge, caught king salmon, flew in bush planes, and witnessed awesome thunderstorms at night while roasting s’mores. During the day, it was so warm that I tanned on the deck (in Alaska!). I also had the chance to visit my toddler nephew. We played at the gym, at the park, and on the swings.
Accustomed to a hyper-speed life of running my company, consulting, speaking, writing, and a hundred other things, I really had to work at relaxing. Fish don’t bite on demand. Toddlers don’t walk very fast. Slowing my pace doesn’t come naturally. Do you have a hard time relaxing, even when you have time off? If you’re like me, you may need to purposefully take a break more often.
Since orderly living is about making room for your priorities, here are a few ideas to get the most out of your treasured time off:
Determine what kind of vacation fuels your tank. Are you looking for activity or some much-needed rest? Do you want to visit family and friends, or get away from it all and be alone? Are you ready to explore castles, climb mountains, and tour museums? Or, would you prefer to check out of your world and into a secluded cabin? (You can split your vacation into two parts if you want both active and restful time.) Do you want to keep a schedule or blissfully forget what day it is? Are the kids invited? Too often, we take time off but return home feeling drained because our trip didn’t meet our needs.
Dedicate enough time to your plans. Figure out the number of days that it takes you to unwind and recover and add those to your timeframe. I’ve found that it takes me about three days to let down and really relax. I also need at least one whole day, but preferably two, at the end of my time off to unpack, do laundry, restore my household, deal with e-mail, and ramp back up for work. If I don’t have time to recover, I feel unprepared and rushed going back to work. Determine the ideal time frame for your retreat. It might be better to use all your vacation at once but really get the rest you need rather than split your time. On the other hand, you might be energized by shorter trips or weekend getaways. Take time to consider the best fit for your needs before you make your plans.
Decide whether you will unplug or not. Do you want to stay connected with work and home while you are gone? If you are a business owner, you may need to receive at least a few hot e-mails and provide an emergency number. The best vacation of my life was nine days totally unplugged on a cruise ship. If you can possibly arrange it, and it suits your personality, I highly recommend disconnecting and blissfully absorbing the special moments of your vacation.
Slow down. I admit; I’m still learning to take my own advice on this point. My mind and my body are conditioned for speed, and that can be unhealthy without any breaks. For me, it is an act of will to slow down, but it is the only way I can really benefit from my vacation. During my Alaskan adventure I waved wildly watching my husband pilot a float plane for the first time. I warmed my back next to a popping, crackling fire. I snuggled my nephew, and drank in his lovely little boy smell. Do you need to slow down?
Plan and budget for your retreats. Every time I take a trip, I begin planning my next vacation. I recommend that you get out your calendar and schedule some time off to enjoy your priorities. Your retreat doesn’t have to be a Hawaiian holiday; it could be simple like a romantic getaway with your spouse or a camping trip with the kids.
If you can’t afford a trip, pitch a tent in the backyard and declare it a work-free campout weekend. It’s not the vacation destination that counts; it’s the experiences along the way that will add meaning and memories to your life.
Remember, giving yourself a break will help you refuel physically, mentally, and spiritually. When we are recharged we are more available to take advantage of opportunities that come our way. “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV As you get re-energized and re-focused you will seize your personal, professional, and kingdom potential.
About the Author: Vicki Norris is an expert organizer, business owner, speaker, television personality, and author who inspires people to live out their priorities. She is author of Restoring Order™ copyright © 2006 by Vicki Norris (available now at www.RestoringOrder.com and in July 2007as Reclaim Your Life™. Copyright © 2007) and of Restoring Order™ to Your Home, copyright © 2007, a room-by-room household organizing guide, both published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Norris is a regular on HGTV’s nationally syndicated Mission: Organization, and is a recurrent source and contributor to national lifestyle publications including Quick & Simple magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and Real Simple magazine.
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