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Schedules, commitments, and work, oh my! These three things drive my family to plan vacations about a year in advance. Yep, crazy!  I always fantasize that it would be cool to be able to be spontaneous, adventurous and go with the flow, just get in the car, or on a plane and go.  Wait, would it? Is that who we are? Let’s explore, shall we?

As I look realistically at my typical mindset about vacation, I realize I have lived from a “vacation is THE way to get away from real life” mentality.  In the past when I worked in a very structured job and had limited opportunity to “get away” it was easy to see it that way.  You worked, and then you played and relaxed on vacation.  I worked a lot, and it took a huge toll on my life, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  It wasn’t just the work, and the environment, it was how I saw it and who I was when I was there.  While my work met key needs, I started to realize I needed more from my life than work on behalf of others, and an annual week or two “away”.

A bit more context for you.  I was in my corporate desk gig when the pedometer craze hit.  Ten thousand steps a day, that’s all you need they say…to be “active” and healthy. I got a pedometer, wore it daily, and after a week, I realized it would take me three to four days to get close to that many steps!  Working 60-70 hours a week didn’t allow for much extra time to work out AND have a life.

I tried to incorporate walks after work.  I had many excuses why I couldn’t get that done. I remember the day when I had to meet someone at work, requiring a ten-minute walk – a departure from my desk based phone meetings.  I walked to the meeting, annoyed that I had to waste ten precious minutes walking to the meeting.  Then it hit me, ohhh, I might go above 2000 steps today…ohhh, that would be good, then I don’t have to walk after work.  Duh!

That mini aha started my mindset shift.  After that day, I started looking for opportunities to walk more, going to a different copy machine, or taking the stairs to the café, or going outside between meetings for 3 minutes to “move & air out”.  My view and attitude changed literally on a dime.  I took more breaks AND got more done, and I became a nicer human in the process.  Less time chained to the desk, increased productivity – who knew?

A shift in my mindset, allowed me to take mini break-ations more often at work!  Each of these mini “get-away’s”, truly small gestures like getting up out of my chair, clearing my mind, and adding steps to my pedometer were actually sanity savers, not time wasters – mini vacations for my overworked brain.  After a while I didn’t even feel guilty when I took that extra few minutes for myself.  

My Vacation Lessons:

  • Vacations alone don’t take care of you.
  • Breaks can boost productivity versus being a waste of time.
  • Mindset is the key difference maker.

What is your vacation mindset? How do you view break-ations? What are a few key elements that can build more of them into your work or life? What can you do today to take a break-ation?

Stay tuned for more on vacations.

An Unexpected Journey - book cover - Lori Severson

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