Holidays!!! Finally the summer holidays. In the German school system, each state has different school holidays, so that not everyone is on holiday in a small country at the same time. Bavaria always has the latest summer hols: school here runs through the end of July!! So our holidays have only just started.
And boy did I need them!! I was so much more worn out than I had realized. Despite knowing better, I have been less than ideal at maintaining boundaries over the last few months [being a people pleaser and an entrepreneur are often not the ideal mix in this regard!] and consequently was rather crawling towards the finish line of holidays!!
My husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last week, and our gift to each other was a 7-day trans-Alpine hike from the southern part of Germany, across Austria, to Italy. It was absolutely spectacular, and one of the most relaxing holidays we’ve ever had.
It might sound counter-intuitive to say that a trans-Alpine hike was relaxing, but it truly was!! I thought a lot about the 7 Types of Rest during that hike – because during the hike I did get most of them!! We were both offline. We were outside enjoying nature. It was so easy to be present and mindful. It was the antithesis of Decision Fatigue! Our decisions were at the level of “shorts or pants today?” or “vegetarian or meat option?” at dinner. Bliss!! It was such a carefree week. My mind hasn’t been that calm in years!!!
WE NEED TO TAKE TIME OFF…
Taking time off is critical to our ability to perform at optimal levels. I love this article from Forbes that says that taking a vacation could save your life! 😀 According to the article (and confirmed by my sample size of two during my own recent holiday!!), “Taking vacation time is essential to employee survival. That’s because time off from work is integral to well-being, sustained productivity and high performance.” The article goes on to state that vacation time:
· Increases mindfulness
· Improves heart health
· Reduces stress
· Boosts brainpower
· Improves sleep
I would like all of those, wouldn’t you??
Mental clarity, improved productivity, better balance, improved focus, and better relationships are excellent reasons to take time off. Time off makes us healthier people, and better employees too!
And by the way: this isn’t limited to summer holidays. This is an all-year-round phenomenon that many of us have forgotten to include into our lives.
One of my new favourite podcasts, The Long and the Short of It, did an interesting episode recently on Finding a Groove. They talked about how we often are in a groove (which sounds positive), but that often that groove is actually a rut (not so positive). Taking time off offers us the opportunity to get out of our groove (or rut) for a while, and when we return to work, we potentially have new perspectives on that old groove. Maybe it’s time to find a new one? Taking time off can show you more clearly which is groove and which is rut as well!
I also enjoyed this podcast [only available in German] about the concept of Vacation Stress. Are you taking time off to recharge, refresh, and enjoy some downtime? Or are you taking time off to keep up with the Jones’?? Is your vacation about you? Or is your vacation – and how impressive it “should” be – stressing you out?
WHAT I’M READING
I realized mid-July that I hadn’t actually picked up a book in over three weeks!! This is actually shocking. I love to read, and I always read before bed in the evening. Not picking up a book for 3 weeks is a huge indicator that I am way out of balance.
So to set that to rights, I decided to dive into something that would engage me quickly without requiring too much brain power. I had a list of books that I wanted to read, and scrolling through, Elly Griffiths’ The Crossing Places caught my eye. The protagonist is a forensic archaeologist and she teams up with a local detective when bones are found on the beach near their town in Norfolk, England.
I absolutely devoured the first book, and immediately borrowed the second from the library. Nice easy reads, and such well-developed characters! I really just keep reading because I want to know what Ruth is going to do in her personal life! 😆
The books are really absorbing without being at all mentally demanding. The perfect combination for a holiday read. I’m on book 10!!!
I hope that you have had the chance to recharge, refresh and relax this summer, and take some well-deserved time off! It really is such an important element of personal, mental, emotional, and physical health. As a triathlete, my coach always used to say “A rest day is not optional.” That is true in life and work as well! 😉
I wish you a very restful vacation period and a beautiful last few weeks of official summer!!