In my last newsletter, I pledged I would truly vacation for the last week and ahalf of December. Not a working vacation. Time off from all work, including email, planning, phone calls, product development, team check-ins and professionalwriting of any kind. (Am I the only member of this community for whom this vision seems a distant fantasy?) Well, I’m here to report, in 700 words or less, that I DID IT! So now seems to be a good time to reflect on what made this endeavor successful, so I can be ready for the next time I take vacation. (And oh yes,there will be more in 2011!)Living as a single mom and entrepreneur for over 2 years now has given me quitethe opportunity to play full-out at taking care of others. In 2010 I finally acknowledged my deep desire to be taken care of too. When I first became aware ofthis desire (dare I even consider it a need?) I felt shame. I’m a strong 21st century feminist! I can do it all myself! And yet I wasn’t. Perhaps I couldn
t.I can admit this now.My main physical goal for last year was to be able to run 3 miles at a time, ona regular basis. Check. Achieved that and achieved 2 sprained ankles too. Why? Because I was so determined to accomplish my goal that I powered through, nomatter what – travel, injury, weather interference, lack of hot water. I poweredthrough until I ran out of juice altogether mid-fall. Came down with bronchitisand couldn’t shake it for 2 months. Yay, me. I ain’t powerin’ through no more. Butthat’s a whole other blog post.Anyhoo – by early December I knew that this holiday season I would need to take restorative time off, not just work in a different location as per usual. By choosing downtime, I wouldn’t need to attract sickness (a recurrence of bronchitis, for example) to take me down. I decided I would proactively take care of myself,and to do so I would accept and even request offers from others to support me.Note to self, and to any others who may benefit from my experience, here’s what Ilearned from my winter vacation.1. Plan to commit and commit to the plan. As usual, I blocked the days on my calendar months ago as “Off”. Typically I then fill those days with many of the activities I did not accomplish up until that point – calls I couldn’t squeeze in, emailsI owed to people, projects begging for completion. This year I notified my team, my clients, my e-community, and my family and friends that I would not be working. Making such public declaration increased my sense of accountability.2. Leave a strong team in place. I knew that while I was away, connect2 would be moving forward thanks to my amazing and dedicated team.3. Go away. Especially since I work from my home full-time now, escaping my home and office felt very important. The kids and I went to Scottsdale to visit family and friends. We stayed with my parents.4. Read. I escaped even further by reading a variety of books – a mixture of novels and personal development (nothing professional!).5. Take naps. Daily, if possible. I successfully ignored anyone who remotely suggested I may be a sleep glutton.6. Ask for support. Asked my kids not to crawl into my bed at night so that I could experience the restorative power of REM. Asked my parents to stay with mykids so I could go out on my own – twice!7. Find a hot tub with a waterfall and sit under it. Accepted my friend’s offer of bringing the kids to the resort where she was staying. Just visiting the resort for a few hours felt like a vacation within a vacation.