In my last newsletter, I pledged I would truly vacation for the last week and a half of December.

Not a working vacation. Time off from all work, including em ail, planning, phone calls, product development, team check-ins and professional writing of any kind. (Am I the only member of this community for whom this vis ion seems a distant fantasy?) Well, I’m here to report, in 700 words or less, tha t I DID IT! So now seems to be a good time to reflect on what made this endeavo r 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 quite the opportunity to play full-out at taking care of others. In 2010 I finally ac knowledged my deep desire to be taken care of too. When I first became aware of this desire (dare I even consider it a need?) I felt shame. I’m a strong 21st ce ntury 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, on a 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, no matter what – travel, injury, weather interference, lack of hot water. I powered through until I ran out of juice altogether mid-fall. Came down with bronchitis and couldn’t shake it for 2 months. Yay, me. I ain’t powerin’ through no more. But that’s a whole other blog post. Anyhoo – by early December I knew that this holiday season I would need to take re storative time off, not just work in a different location as per usual. By choo sing downtime, I wouldn’t need to attract sickness (a recurrence of bronchitis, fo r 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 I learned from my winter vacation. 1. Plan to commit and commit to the plan. As usual, I blocked the days on my cal endar months ago as “Off”. Typically I then fill those days with many of the activi ties I did not accomplish up until that point – calls I couldn’t squeeze in, emails I 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 work ing. 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 b e moving forward thanks to my amazing and dedicated team. 3. Go away. Especially since I work from my home full-time now, escaping my hom e and office felt very important. The kids and I went to Scottsdale to visit fa mily and friends. We stayed with my parents. 4. Read. I escaped even further by reading a variety of books – a mixture of nove ls and personal development (nothing professional!). 5. Take naps. Daily, if possible. I successfully ignored anyone who remotely s uggested I may be a sleep glutton. 6. Ask for support. Asked my kids not to crawl into my bed at night so that I c ould experience the restorative power of REM. Asked my parents to stay with my kids 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 o f bringing the kids to the resort where she was staying. Just visiting the resor t for a few hours felt like a vacation within a vacation.

 

8. Play games. We played chess, Blokus, crazy eights, and Cranium. We laughed. 9. Watch movies. We saw an Imax one about scientists who explore caves to find new medical treatments. Also, my six-year-old daughter and I watched Annie for the first time. (She loved it). 10. Spend time listening to loved ones. Of the friends and family we visited, c hildren and so-called grown-ups, all had messages for me, whether or not they kn ew it. 11. Plan something fun for the return. We arrived back in town Friday night, Ne w Year s Eve, with a special treat of dear friends picking us up at the airport, with fresh groceries! Immediately we felt grateful, supported and connected as we prepared to step back into our typical routines. 12. Come home a few days before school and work start again. Arriving home Fr iday night allowed plenty of reentry time over the weekend. I was able to unpac k, open the mail, return my phone calls and reset the house before it was time t o get back to the routine. If only I had caught up on all my emails it would be a perfect system. Knowing I still have something to master about vacationing makes me want to try harder ne xt time. :)

 

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