I remember being at a dude ranch, “on vacation” with my mother, my sisters and all the kids in 1999. This was before skype sessions existed and I had fifteen phone sessions scheduled with clients during our week at the ranch. The cell reception was terrible and I spent much of my vacation, figuring out how to execute the commitment I had made and feeling guilty for not giving my family my full attention. I was there but not there. Do you think I came back from that vacation rested and refreshed? Um…nope, actually I was more stressed out than when I left feeling like I had failed everyone.
I know many of you can relate to my story. Being constantly plugged in and always on call is a way of life and a mind set. Whether you’re a mom, running your own business, running a team, or doing all three, you know how easy it is to fall into the abyss of working around the clock to manage it all! Most of you are not just responsible for yourself, and getting your own needs met, is often last on the list. And even when there is time to relax, can you? Or like me at the ranch, do you bring work along and set up phone meetings because you are afraid not to?
This summer season more than any other is about relaxation and vacation! Yet, I’m curious as to how many of you have, even if you’re sitting on a beach somewhere while reading this, actually allowed yourself to truly and fully relax.
Vacation means so much more than just allowing yourself time to lounge around. Vacation is a time for rejuvenation and restoration. It is a time to come back to yourself after months (sometimes even years) of being pulled in a thousand different directions. It is a time for you to put all that you manage, maintain and make happen on a shelf, even if only a day, and allow your mind and body to simply rest.
Being successful can be an important part of your identity but it does not have to require you to abandon relaxation and self care time. In my many years as a therapist/coach I have heard every excuse in the book as to why clients can’t take time off and I understand as I used to live that way. Since there will always be compelling reasons not to take a vacation, you have to remember that the power is actually in your hands to choose YOU! So look at your schedule, pick a day and give yourself permission to do nothing.
By law Swedish workers get five weeks of paid vacation per year. That is twenty one more days than the standard American ‘two weeks paid’ vacay! Coincidentally, or not, according to NationMaster.com Sweden also has a lower crime rate and reportedly lower drug use.
When you see your coworkers, family or friends after they’ve come back from a vacation they look happier, lighter and usually have a great tan :). You deserve the same. Now I understand that life doesn’t always present the opportunities to take an extended period of time off. So, that is why I am challenging you to simply take off one work day, preferably over the next week, as a mental vacation. For those 24 hours do the things you enjoy the most and leave your work and to-do list at home. My teacher and meditation guru Deepak Chopra says “If you can’t meditate for 20 minutes, then you should sit for an hour.” I say if you can’t take 24 hours, you should take a whole week!
Join the challenge by posting pics on Instagram of your day off and remember to use the #MentalVacay. I’ll choose two winners who’ll receive a FREE copy of my Meditation Transformation CD to help you calibrate your mood and set your intention all year long! Now off into the week you go, but before you do please drop a comment below and let me know how you’re feeling about taking a vacay day and tell me what you plan to do! This week as with every week I look forward to hearing from you and remember, as always, take care of you.
Love Love Love
*image courtesy of Dimitris Kilymis