“I’ve decided that I’m on vacation, indefinitely. And sometimes you have to work on vacation.”
My friend Per made this pronouncement many years ago, during a perfectly normal workweek.
It made me giggle at the time.
Now I think he was onto something.
You know those stretches where your days are so full that the weeks start to run together? Where a minute ago it was March and suddenly it’s May? I’m just coming out of one of those.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I love what I’m doing and I’m full of gratitude to be doing a lot of it.
That said, last week I hit the point where I felt I could really use a little break.
But St. John isn’t on my calendar just now.
So the other day, I had a couple of hours blocked out for a long lunch with a friend in the middle of my workday.
The morning had been packed; the afternoon and evening were full. The days ahead looked set to be the same.
I thought, Dude…I love this, but…I could REALLY use a vacation.
As I walked to lunch, I decided—
Fine. That’s it. For the next two hours, I’m on vacation.
I entered the restaurant and spotted my friend.
Sitting down joyfully, I announced, “Hi! It’s so great to see you! I’m on vacation…” [here, her face lit up in surprise] “…for the next two hours.” [Here, she gave me the same amused, bemused look I once gave Per.]
And as I settled into my seat, to my amazement, just deciding to be on vacation—for one long lunch!—made a huge difference.
My body relaxed in that magical vacationy way.
I let out that “ahhhh” that I do at the beginning of a “real” vacation.
My mind felt totally clear and free to enjoy my friend’s company, and the lovely atmosphere of the restaurant.
It was awesome.
When I returned to my desk later that afternoon, I felt replenished and ready to jump back in.
Our thoughts are so powerful. Our frame of mind can completely alter an experience.
Improbable (or even silly) as it may sound, just choosing to commit to a vacation state of mind had a full-mind/body impact.
I replicated this experiment twice this week. Once I “went on vacation” for just 15 minutes. (I sat in the park. Ahhhh!)
Again, I returned refreshed.
And ready to create.
Relaxation fuels productivity, rest fuels activity…and balance begets creativity.
So I wonder, reader…
How often do you let yourself really take a mental and emotional break when you’re taking a lunch or coffee break?
What does it feel like to really, truly turn off the to-do tap in your mind and let yourself be where you are, and nowhere else?
Over the next week, I challenge you to go on vacation at least once. No matter where you are, no matter what comes before and what will come after—let yourself STOP in that glorious, vacationy way.
Even if it’s just a ten-minute walk or a five-minute coffee break…let yourself go, and let yourself be.
Allow yourself to VACATE the space of to-dos for just a long moment.
Then come back and tell me how it went.
Now, if you’ll excuse me…I have to go. I’m on vacation.
Photo by Joshua Davis