I’m pretty sure vacations are supposed to be relaxing, but mine never are. When I get home from a vacation, I’m usually more worn out than before I left. I cram as many activities as humanly possible into a short timespan for fear that I will never visit that particular part of the world again. We get up early and stay out late and make all the memories. Every single one of them. It’s exhilarating and memorable and honestly kind of exhausting.
Tyler and I recently went on a vacation to the Pacific Northwest, and the strangest thing happened – we came back well-rested. On the flight home, he looked at me and said, “I feel ready to go back to work tomorrow,” and as I thought about the declaration, I realized I did too. “Is this how we’re always supposed to feel after vacation?” I asked him. “I think so,” he said, laughing because normally we spend the entire flight home plotting how we can get out of work the following day to recover.
The more I thought about it the more I became convinced that maybe this is how vacation is supposed to be – relaxing, refreshing and full of rest. So I wanted to share with you why I think this vacation was different from the others and why we will hopefully be having more trips that leave us feeling more full than empty.
Here’s what we did differently:
We took naps
Before I met Tyler Moore I had never taken a nap on a vacation. In the last few years we’ve snoozed during the afternoon on a trip or two, but not like we did on this one. We were gone for 10 days and took naps on at least half of those. In the past I would have felt guilty for napping because that meant I was missing out on some exciting experience. I can sleep at home, right? Maybe it’s the pregnancy, but I cared 0% about missing out on this trip. As I snuggled up on the couch I tried to think of anything in the world I would rather be doing in that moment, and nothing sounded more appealing than sleep, so that’s what I did. And it was glorious. 10/10 recommend napping on vacation.
We didn’t do things because “we’re supposed to”
Three years ago on our honeymoon, Tyler and I spent a few days in Florence. Everyone told us how spectacular the museums were, so we dedicated an entire day to taking in the historic artwork of the city. That evening over pasta and wine, we discovered neither of us actually cared about any of the art we saw that day. It was beautiful and impressive of course, but we would have rather done something outdoors than spent the day in museums.
There have been other times where we’ve done things solely because they were recommended by friends or TripAdvisor, but on this trip we decided not to do that. Mainly I just didn’t have the energy to do that. We did what we wanted and skipped the rest. Perhaps you do that already. If so, I’m v proud of you and am hoping to continue to turn off my FOMO and skip out on the things I don’t really care to do.
We really left work stuff at home
Running your own business is awesome, except when you’re supposed to be “off.” It’s hard to completely walk away from work for 10 days when you own the company. I’ve been known to travel with my laptop, respond to emails, take business calls and even work on projects while on vacation. This is not healthy for me or for you or for the company or for the client.
I wrote about this earlier this year, but working on vacation is less productive than you think. If you’re dividing your time and energy between work and rest, you’re not going to be satisfied with the results on either side. Your work will not be the best it can be and you will return to the office feeling more drained and frustrated than when you departed. There are several experts who say it’s much more beneficial to everyone (your family, your boss, your clients and yourself) for you to finish up all of your work obligations before you leave town and completely walk away from them until you return. That’s what T and I did on this trip, and we both still had jobs when we returned. I had such a peace of mind when we boarded the plane to start our vacation knowing that I had tied up any loose ends at work and that nothing was expected of me over the next 10 days.
And that’s the simple story of how we went on vacation and actually relaxed. We didn’t miss out on anything. We didn’t sacrifice making memories. We did everything we wanted to do and just enjoyed being with each other. I’m not sure how this will play out when our little one arrives in March, but I hope to continue to find ways to come home from our adventures well-rested. Do you feel refreshed or drained when you come home from vacation?