How do you fill up your “tank”?

How do you rest and relax to recharge?

Family vacation?

Recently, we went on a family vacation. I use the term “vacation” loosely, because vacation implies that it was restful and relaxing. This trip was definitely not a vacation.

My wife says we should refer to it as a “family trip”, and that’s much more appropriate. Her perspective is that we’re going to do the same things we usually do, just in a nicer location. Butts will till have to be wiped. Boo-boo’s will still have to be dressed and bandaged. But, we can walk out and see the sunrise over the ocean.

We loaded up our three kids in the minivan, packed in a ton of clothes and toys, then headed to the beach. Have you ever been stuck in a minivan with three kids under 5 for 14 hours? It is not relaxing.

I have to give credit to the kids, though, because they did really well. We only heard a little bit of whining and “are we there yet?”. For the most part, they got along with each other. The fact that our van has a TV really helped out, as well as the fact that I planned to take us there along a route that had frequent stopping points.

Despite this, when we got back home we both felt drained. We had expected to get a little rest on our trip, but the needs of the kids, combined with the long trip, left us feeling worse than before we left.

I was really struggling. Struggling to get out of bed in the morning; to be patient with the kids; to bring a good attitude to my work. My tank was completely on empty.

I couldn’t even come up with the energy to sit down and write in my journal…let alone write a blog post.

My wife is so insightful.

My wonderful wife had the kindness to ask about what was going on with me. I was frank with her, and told her I felt like I was running on empty.

So, she gave me a day off.

One whole day with no parental responsibilities, no household duties, no expectations. I was completely off duty. She even took the kids out of the house for the day.

Within a few hours, I was a new man. The tension melted away, and my focus and clarity returned. I was able to sort of “power down” and sit on the couch to enjoy a movie — uninterrupted. I ate lunch — uninterrupted. I got a haircut — uninterrupted.

When it came right down to it, this was just the break I needed.

We all need a break sometimes.

It’s amazing to me that Americans, in particular, leave so many vacation days unused every year.

What is it that holds us back from taking the time to power down and recharge?

I understand that people in dire financial straits aren’t able to afford time off, but what about the rest of us? What is our excuse for not taking better care of ourselves?

Because, I can tell you that I’ve been a better husband, father and co-worker since I took that break. It was a sacrifice for my wife to make it possible, but it ultimately pays off for her when I’m in a better mood and energized to better care for her and the kids.

Here’s my challenge for anyone reading this:

TAKE A BREAK!

It doesn’t matter how long you take, or what you do. Take a personal vacation.

Go ahead now, it’s okay.

I’m giving you permission!

Happy Running!

Tony

What’s your ideal personal vacation? What helps you recharge? Please share!

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