How To Take A Vacation

Santa Clarita Signal • Opinion Column • Ethically Speaking • July 27, 2014


How To Take A Vacation

David W. Hegg

So, want to know how to get the most from your vacation? Read on ...

It is vacation season and many of us are facing that age-old problem: we find it hard to relax! When your day is scheduled from early morning to late at night your body gets used to being in “engagement” mode all the time. You become addicted to activity, even it only means checking email on your phone while standing in line at Starbucks. So, as a public service, I thought I’d give some thoughts on how to take a vacation and actually get some rest. Here goes:

1. See your vacation as being important to others and not just yourself: Those engaged any business or ministry have a fiduciary responsibility to use their vacations to refuel, and return to their task rejuvenated. Your business associates, clients and customers, as well as your family need you to return refreshed.

 2. Rest happens, not by accident, but as a result of careful reflection on what is needed, and specific planning meant to meet those needs. Don’t just plan your travel and destinations, also plan how best to maximize the days. I find it helpful to be active one day, and lazy the next. One day get out and visit historical sites, and the next day just stay in the beach chair except for naps.

 3. Rest happens, not merely when activity ceases, but when the body, mind, and soul engage in activities that make rejuvenating deposits into their accounts. Rest happens when the mind is provoked by new and exciting ideas and possibilities. Plan to read something you wouldn’t ordinarily read. See a play, or attend a concert. Take some walks, or ride a bike down a mountain. But don’t just lay around. Engage in activities that will actually invest in your physical and emotional wellbeing.

 4. Rest happens when you experience a “change of pace” from those things that fill your everyday life. I love getting up early on vacation to have some quiet coffee time, and enjoy the beach or mountain air. I also allow myself 15 minutes to check email, but that’s it for the day. The rest of the day is a complete change of pace from my normal routine (except for coffee, and reading theology which spells vacation to me.)

 5. Rest happens when you take time to enjoy relational time with those you love the most. So many things drain us, but relational time with those we love invests in us in ways we too often forget. Turn off the phone, and talk. Ask questions, discuss art or sports or infralapsarianism, but engage your heart and mind with those who love you and make life beautiful.

6. Rest happens when the body is taxed physically, and forced to recuperate. Take a hike, run on the beach, chop some wood, hook into a King salmon, but by all means, break a sweat more than once on your vacation.

 7. Rest happens when you intentionally pursue some beauty and incorporate it into your life. Grab that musical instrument and start playing, go to a concert, learn to paint, but by all means infuse some beauty into your life. It will remind you that life is more than plans, goals, and deadlines. Life is a beautiful gift, wrapped up in 24-hour packages, and vacations are those times when we are meant to remember why we’re alive in the first place.

Lastly, determine to take some of your vacation back into your everyday life. Find some space everyday for those you love, and who love you. Demand more of yourself than falling back into your addiction to activity. Remember how great it felt to walk without a destination, and then sort through your days and make space for some unscheduled, beauty-filled moments. Find a way to put some vacation into every day. You’ll love it, and so will those who love you.