PMPEncore028: Four Reasons Your Vacation Matters

This week’s post is an encore episode I shared a few years ago. Since I’m hoping you can enjoy some well-deserved vacation this summer, I thought I would remind you why your time away from school may help you better serve your school.

Photo by Holly Mandarich – Creative Commons No known copyright restrictions

Regardless of whether someone is an educator or not, or whether your vacation time is long or short, taking time away from work is healthy for a number of reasons. Here’s why:

4 Reasons Why Your Vacation Matters

1. Vacation reminds you of who you really are.

Sometimes it is too easy to identify ourselves completely by our work. When we introduce ourselves to someone new, we almost always end up explaining what work we do. That’s not bad, but it also exemplifies how common it is to build our identities around our work.

Getting away for personal or family time allows us to come back to some of the priorities motivate us to do good work. For me, it gives me time to see my children play, to explore together, to read books, to have longer conversations with my wife, and to pray. All of these connections can help you rediscover what is important and ultimately give more meaning to your work when you return.

2. Vacation allows you mental and emotion detox.

There is something healthy about days of not accomplishing work-related projects, reading emails, answering questions, solving problems, attending meetings, etc. Like exercising different muscles in your body helps you discover where you need to gain strength, vacation allows you to exercise different mental and emotional muscles. It gives your brain and emotions a break from the normal “work-out”.

3. Vacation stimulates creativity.

For me, I find myself having more time to write, play music, travel, or spend time with friends and family. Suddenly, I am finding time for those areas I love that may often get ignored. 

For instance, one morning during a Colorado vacation, I was able to reflect on my surroundings and write the following:

This morning the panorama of mountains is breathtaking. Peaks in the distance show ridges still covered with snow. The jagged, gothic, jutting, massive gray of a 14-er hides behind the closer green aspen covered hills. Mountains to my north and east alternate with colors of green and exposed red dirt and bare rock. And meadows below them all are covered with wildflowers: brilliant yellows, whites, and purples. As I write this, humming birds are alternating between feeders nearby. Shimmering greens, browns, and ruby-throated buzzing back and forth. Yesterday morning, I saw a deer bouncing away in the meadows below. And two nights ago, we watch as a copper colored fox prowled around looking food treasures.

These kind of reflective moments are possible outside of vacation too, but getting away is also a great time to experience them.

4. Vacation creates great memories.

One of my teammates at work has a great practice of putting his vacation photos on his lap-top computer as a screen saver. He keeps it nearby his desk during the day. When he has time to work at his desk, vacation memories consistently greet him. 

Although we should never live simply for the pleasure of playing, vacation is a great way to rediscover your priorities, detox mentally, stimulate creativity, and create new memories. 

So as the new school year is about to begin, don’t forget to put some photos of your favorite memories nearby while you are working as a good reminder of the importance of making memories in and out of school.

Can I share a song with you?

One summer when I took my family to mountains, I wrote this song to share with friends who live in Crested Butte, Colorado. If you’d like to hear an amateur recording, listen to the end of the podcast episode with this post. I’ll share it here as a way to offer vacation best-wishes to you and those important to you:

Crested Butte Is Calling
by William D. Parker, Copyright 2013, All Rights Reserved

1. I can see the jutting peaks of Gothic Mountain
While the hummingbirds flit softly with the breeze
And the wildflowers paint the meadows with their colors
It’s a Rocky Mountain morning here with me

It’s a Rocky Mountain morning here with me
As the snow peaked ridges beckon us to sing
Lift your eyes and see that Crested Butte is calling
It’s a Rocky Mountain morning here with me

2. Walk the Snodgrass, see the dirt trails banked with Aspen
Feel the sunshine as it warms the mountainside
Dip your feet in the icy waters of Lake Erwin
Gather friends and fill your soul with their sweet smiles

3. Autumn’s aspen leaves are the beauty of the seasons
Their roots are joined together by one common bond
Green to red and then to yellow as they’re spreading
They remind us how God joins us one and all

4. Hear the laughter of the children on the snowbanks
Feel of the hush of winter’s hibernating call
Slide your way down slopes of icy covered landscape
Warm your hands by fires, hot chocolate drinks for all

5. Say goodbye but know it’s only until next time
For the mountains have worked magic on us all
Carry memories of God’s beauty back home with us
This is a taste of something greater after all

Now It’s Your Turn

What are some ways you can relax and unplug from your work this summer so that you can recharge your emotional batteries? What are some of your favorite vacation memories? How can you use those memories as ways for your school family to learn more about what motivates you?

Think someone else would benefit from this episode?
William D. Parker
William D. Parker