I've just come off a week of a much-needed vacation. I've typically looked at vacation time as "an opportunity to recover" or "to work on my side projects". (In other words, time to work essentially work a second job.) This probably hasn't been the healthiest way to approach time off.
This time, I finished my day job, dropped my dog off at the dog hotel, and left the city to spend a weekend at a friend's cottage.
The cottage has no wifi. There's one clock on the wall, tucked off to the side, discouraging you from "oh, it's 12pm, better do X". People wake up when they want to, eat when they want to, go for a swim when they want to. A complete inversion from my regular regimented schedule.
And that shock to the system, I think, did wonders for my enjoyment of my time off. Sure, there were things I wanted to get done during my time off, but a complete disconnect made all the difference in the world. It was uncomfortable in the best way.
It got me thinking: how can I get this experience every time I take time off? Taking a trip out to a friend's cottage every time I take time off isn't exactly viable (and seems like a great way to get uninvited in the future). And travelling, while it may be viable for me, may not be for others. How do I capture the system shock that pushes me immediately into vacation mode?
A few ideas, in no particular order:
- Offload responsibilities. Put the dog up in the hotel, or ask a friend to pet-sit for a day/night/weekend/few hours. Prepare food and drink in advance, either by ordering or by prepping it so it just needs to be reheated. I bet the kids would love a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's place.
- Get a change of scenery. Take a different path on your morning walk. Try a new restaurant. Don't spend your time in the same place you spend your regular days. You've been following your loop for too long. This is your chance to break from it.
- Disconnect. No email. No phone. No X-Insta-Thread-Tube. Take pictures if you want, but the sharing of them can wait. The picture should be the catalyst to remember the moment. Don't live through the lens.
- Experience nature. Spend time just sitting outside, taking in the world around you. I spent a literal hour sitting in a chair watching hummingbirds. It was time well spent. You can do the same on a park bench.
I suppose all this translates down to: reject the norm. You're taking time off to get away from the regular day-to-day life, to provide that recovery provided by the change of pace.