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optimizing vacation time

School’s out and summer is here! This time of year can be a multitude of things: exciting, stressful, busy, restful, and fun. With camps, sports, trips, and pool days filling your calendar, it’s so easy for your summer to go by in a flash, leaving you feeling exhausted come fall. Have you ever gone on a vacation only to get home feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation?! Same here. Whether you have a week-long vacation coming up, or if you have one day to take off to be by yourself, I want to give you some ideas to help optimize your time off, so that you feel rejuvenated and renewed. 

Set aside some space and set intentions for your time off, really plan and think through your needs and what you want it to look like. The grocery and packing lists will get done, I promise! Engaging in a mindful intention setting can help you really get what you need out of your vacation. Here are some questions to think through as you set intentions for your vacation or time off. 

  1. Vision. If you were to describe your ideal vacation for this season of your life in three words, what would they be? 
  2. Personal reflection. What does this time off mean to you? What will you lose if you don’t take it?
  3. What would feel good to you. What does rest look like? Will you engage in any exercise? Are there any activities or games that you want to make room for? What do you want to eat? Where and with whom? What relationships will you invest in? Anything else you need to achieve your vision?
  4. Boundaries. How will you disengage from work? What do you need to ask for or put in place to be able to disengage from work? Can you disconnect from anything virtually during your time off? How will you nurture your mind and heart? 
  5. Preparing. What projects/tasks do I need to complete before leaving? Is there anything I can delegate or defer? Is there anything I can ask for help on?

If you are going on vacation with someone else, what would it look like to each answer these questions and then come back together to compare? If you have kids coming with you, this may be a great way to model to them what it is like to assess your needs and ask for them to be met. What questions could your kids weigh in on to give them some agency in the process?

My hope is that these questions can help you elicit your needs in order to make your vacation feel good for what you need in this season. Vacations are a beautiful time to make cherished memories, so my hope is that setting intentions and sticking with your plan can help eliminate some of the stress, even before it happens.

If you need more support, please don’t hesitate to call The Refuge Center to get connected with a therapist who can help you with whatever it is you may be going through.

By Masters Level Intern Kat Thompson

The information in this blog post is largely influenced by a graphic organizer created by Michael Hyatt & Company, LLC in 2018.