Rest, Recovery, and Gettin’ the Hell out of Town
September 8th, 2021
This past week I’ve been on a much needed holiday with my beautiful family. I feel fortunate to have been raised by a father who, despite being a self-proclaimed workaholic, knew and honored the value of a good family vacation at least once a year. He had a saying: “take a vacation every three months, whether you need it or not.” My father was a small business owner and his presence in the company was paramount, yet he still recognized the necessity of periodically taking time and energy away from the workplace. This practice of prioritizing rest and relaxation by way of vacation is something I think every business owner, entrepreneur, employee, and student could benefit from.
For a business owner, indulging in holiday four times a year may seem excessive, however, even a small two or three night getaway can be the perfect reset for a hectic lifestyle. In our culture, where the grind is glorified, purposely stepping away from your role as leader may come across as irresponsible, but I implore you to ignore the haters and forge ahead in your quest for leisurely time. I am here to give you one secret to success that not nearly enough people know about: sometimes the greatest investment you can make in your business is stepping away from it, to reflect.
When we’re busy doing our thing, most of us are not taking the time to really ponder what it is we’re doing. We hustle, we grind, we sail the ship forward (and sometimes backward), and we live our lives outside of work, which may also be incredibly busy. And we all know that being busy is the American’s way of feeling important, valuable, and productive, so most of us really strive for that busy-ness factor. However, if we can begin to look for the value in pressing the pause button and letting ourselves momentarily release all of those obligations and appointments, we will reap the rewards of a rested brain and spirit.
If you’re into exercising, you’ve probably heard about the importance of rest and recovery. Stressing muscles to cause microtears and new muscle growth is good, but straining muscles to the point of tearing or pulling them is bad and can result in serious injury. Additionally, the new muscle is able to grow through the rest and recovery process, which is why is it not recommended to workout every single day. In the physical fitness world, the rest days are just as important as the work days. Coincidence? Not likely.
Turns out, our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being are all tightly interwoven. The same principle is true for your being; your spirit and your mental health. Challenging oneself is incredibly important and necessary for growth, but overdoing it whilst living a life overloaded with stress, is not healthy and counterproductive. Though it may seem like all those extra hours spent grinding it out with no sleep are helping you succeed, the opposite is, in fact, true. What has long been known by the great mystics, yogis, and organized religion has now been proven by science: a day of rest has tremendous positive benefits , such as:
• Reduction of stress
• Reduction of inflammation
• More creativity
• Higher productivity
• Restoration of mental energy
• Better focus
• Improved short term memory
But we’re not talking about just one day of rest here, we’re talking about a purposeful vacation including at least one full day (that’s 24 hours, folks) of completely disconnecting from your work and engaging in something that truly lights you up. Maybe it’s sitting by the pool for a few days reading books, maybe it’s a camping trip filled with hikes and nature excursions, or perhaps it’s traveling to some exotic location and tasting new foods. Whatever it is that gets you away from your work while positively contributing to your overall well being, do that.
Just as most of us know we should be exercising but don’t do it, many of us also know we should be taking a vacation but don’t do it because life has a tendency to get in the way, tasks feel urgent, and we get plain stuck. This is why I love my dad’s saying, “take a vacation four times a year, whether you need it or not.” Essentially, he is acknowledging that most all of us will find reasons not to take the vacation--so we plan them and take them anyway because once we’re on that holiday, disconnected from our regular routine and engaged with life in a whole new way, we’ll feel a sense of relief and also realize, “hey, I did need this!”
Lack of funds is also a major reason why people don’t get away on holidays, which is why I recommend and personally employ a travel budget. Creating a travel budget for you and/or your family is a practical way to make that well-deserved vacation a reality by putting away money every month toward your goal. I suggest buying less “things” i.e., clothes, shoes, bags, impulse purchases from Amazon, fill-in-the-blank, and instead sticking that money into your travel budget, where you can spend it happily on an incredible experience. Not only will your hard-earned money provide you with a relaxing vacation, it will also contribute healthily to the tourism economy, a sector that has really been hit hard during the past year and a half.
Vacations are a chance to restore and replenish our mental and spiritual energy. They are renewing and rejuvenating. Take them. Enjoy them. Help your children learn the value of taking time off, bonding, and having fun. Show your colleagues that it’s okay to back off from the rat race and live slowly for a bit. And if you start to feel uneasy, like you’re not being productive enough, remember that in order for you to grow, you need to rest. Who knows? Your next big breakthrough could come to you as you sit pool-side in Mexico, eating chips, and listening to the waves lap at the shore.
1 I have to give credit for that life-changing secret to my husband, business owner and vacationer extraordinaire, Stacey Valnes.