Last week, I took a much-needed vacation to Maui with my family. It’s been a long time since I really went “on vacation”, and I’m glad that I finally did. I took my kids snorkeling for their first time ever – which after a few scary and uncomfortable breaths even my daughter Amanda totally loved. I went tandem parasailing with my son Dylan, which may be the most peaceful and profound experience simply floating 800 feet up with him that I will ever remember.
Amanda’s not a fan of heights, so she took some great pictures of us from the boat. ☺ Whether it was these activities, the beautiful sunsets, or simply the leisurely breakfasts together with my folks each morning we rarely have at home, I left the island feeling so appreciative of the experience unlike any other vacation before – 100% relaxed and recharged, and ready to rally again.
I guess I hadn’t realized how much I really did need this trip. I’ve been pushing hard at work and managing all of life’s ups and downs for so long now that I sort of just fell into a groove – dare I say, rut – and got a bit resigned to that’s how life was going to be for awhile. It kind of reminds me of REO Speedwagon’s song, “Keep pushing. Keep pushing on…” Well now that I’ve had a chance to step back, relax, and gain some perspective, I get how unhealthy and downright damaging it is to just keep pushing on.
Life is not about running a never-ending marathon. Some of us do enjoy running, and some of us do even run marathons. Even the marathon runners among us would share that after every race they give their bodies some downtime to relax and recharge. Sometimes life requires us to run a few sprints. Sometimes it requires not just the marathon but a more grueling Ironman triathlon. Even then, it’s critical to find those quiet moments to let our bodies shut down and re-energize for the next race we need to run. That’s the only way we’ll be mentally and physically strong enough to rally again when the time comes to step up and take on life’s challenges head on.
Now not all of us are fortunate enough to have a ton of Starwood hotel points or United air miles to afford luxurious summer getaways to Maui. Beyond that, it just isn’t practical to think we can always take a week off of work and get away with our friends and loved ones simply because we could use a break from our everyday routines of life. So what do you do to take care of yourself and relax and recharge when it’s not Maui?
For some of us, it just takes a couple hours curled up on a couch with a good book. For others, maybe it’s dinner and a movie on a Friday night with their significant others after a long week at work. When I really need an escape and can’t truly get away, I just need to spend some time by myself in my backyard pulling weeds and training the vines up the garden walls. Between the physical activity and quiet time alone, it’s amazing just how much that does to clear my head and give me some renewed energy to get back in the game again.
As this summer comes to a close, I invite you to create some new rituals for relaxing and getting recharged. Given what I’ve returned to at work and home this week, I will hold on to my Maui experience for quite awhile. Long after the sweet smell of plumeria and my 7-day tan fade away, I will also make sure that I don’t try to run more than a few wind-sprints without taking a break – definitely no back-to-back marathons anymore!