When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I start to fantasize about living another life. It usually revolves around living in the woods, blogging a bit, teaching Pilates to the locals, and working a whole lot less. I have a good friend, a psychologist, and she says that my escapism fantasies mean it’s time to take a real vacation.
I had to sit and think about it for awhile. The last real vacation I took was in September: a four-day, post-Labor Day trip to Cape Cod with my family and my sister. It wasn’t much of a vacation … While I didn’t see clients in my studio, I did write blog posts, had a conference call with a social media client and continued all my social media activities. Not exactly restful; I probably worked two to three hours a day.
I don’t remember the trip before that … I honestly can’t come up with it. Perhaps August of 2011 when my family went to Costa Rica? But … even there we were doing about two hours a day of work.
So I ask you … when was the last time you took an entire day off? Unplugged, didn’t check email (not even on your phone), didn’t check in with the boss, didn’t do anything that was remotely work related.
Some of you I know are well-balanced. You actually take an entire day off regularly. It’s called a “weekend.” I envy you sometimes; the ability to completely unplug and remove yourself from the stresses of work life. But then I remember that I can work until 2:00 pm, then hang out with my kid after school, and then work a little bit more after he goes to bed, all of which works pretty darn well for my family life. There are always trade offs.
This post is really talking to the people — like me — who always need to check on something. Maybe you’re a passionate employee or an entrepreneur or an internet wonk. Wherever your income comes from, you feel like you need to make sure all is working well and everyone is happy. This can make it hard to truly take a break from it all.
I feel your pain.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to take one full day off every week. I’ve already started … sorta. I spent my first Saturday cleaning like a crazy person, getting the house completely sorted out top to bottom. Everything looked amazing and organized when I was done, but I fell asleep at 9:00 pm because I was so tired. My second Saturday off was spent Christmas shopping and I came home disappointed that I didn’t get it all done in one fell swoop like I hoped.
Obviously this is going to take a little practice. This coming Saturday is full of family plans; I won’t be working, but I won’t be relaxing either.
I’ve got another resolution too: “take a real vacation.” I know I will still have to be on social media a bit, and I’ll have to write my blog posts ahead of time … but I’m definitely going to take a real vacation. If I’m really focused, maybe I’ll even get to take two in 2013.
I keep telling everyone to aim for small, attainable goals … so I’m not going to go crazy and try for a whole week first. I think I’ll just go for a long weekend and see how I do.
Baby steps. We always improve when we keep focusing on those baby steps. Heck, maybe the best baby steps would be to try and find just one day between the 25th and 31st to completely veg out and recharge. 24 hours is a perfect starting point.
Have you been stuck in the same rut I’m in? Did you manage to break out of it? Did you find you were a lot more creative and organized and happier? I’d love to hear any tips; feel free to pass ‘em my way!