The Value of a Daily Vacation 8/06

August 2006

or a Borrowed View.

This summer my family and I had the very fortunate and rewarding experience of being guests at “Borrowed View.” “Borrowed View” provided not only a non-stop visual feast, but also an amazing place to reconnect with my family and an ideal setting for rest and renewal, an integral part of any vacation.

One of the great things about vacations is going somewhere new that zaps you into consciousness and changes your perspective in many ways. The downside is that the more magical the vacation, the further it might be from reality, making the transition to work a real downer. Been there? To add insult to injury, a week after your vacation you forget you ever went! You’re quickly immersed into whatever life you left behind.

Now don’t be blue. I think I’ve discovered the key to year-round joy. Take something wonderful about your vacation and put it into your daily life. It might be one of your core values, a feeling or an attitude you experienced – like peace, relaxation or fun.

Related to this, “The Power of Full Engagement,” a book by Loehr and Schwartz, is about managing energy versus time. This, they say, is the key to high performance and renewal. What they do is teach people to balance energy expenditure with energy renewal through the adoption of carefully selected daily rituals that are fueled by deeply held values. In so doing, clients overcome a variety of challenges, become more productive and are actually able to handle more stress. Ironically, clients often find a great deal of joy in their rituals and as a result of them, when initially they resisted.

Many of us erroneously believe if we take one or two vacations a year we’re taking good care of ourselves and making up for a year of overwork. Not so. Taxing our mental capacity comes at the expense of our physical, spiritual and emotional energies. We really need to take 2 or 3 mini-vacations a day in order to be balanced and effective.

According to Loehr and Schwartz, the two most important regulators of physical energy are breathing and eating. As it turns out, many of us have lost touch. It’s never too late, however, to learn to eat and breathe in ways that nourish. It’s fundamental to our energy, longevity and quality of life.

Next time the midday snoozies sneak up on you, instead of reaching for the sugary snack to provide energy, get up, move around, do something that fills you up in a way a vacation can. Use your imagination. Capture the feeling or attitude you want to revisit from your vacation. Consider your values. Any activity that is enjoyable and affirming serves as a source of renewal and recovery. Head outdoors and check out the flowers. Meditate, stretch or juggle balls. As little as ten to fifteen minutes can provide renewal.

For now I’m going to borrow some time and kick back. I’m going to see if I can’t visualize the sights, sounds and smells of “Borrowed View” and I’ll put a photo on my desktop. At this time next year, I won’t need a vacation. I’ll just take one.