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:
1. It reminds you of who you really are.
Sometimes it is too easy to identify ourselves completley 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 help me rediscover what is important and ultimately give more meaning to my work when I return.
2. Vacation allows you mental and emotion de-tox.
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 psyche a break from its 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 our 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, de-tox 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.
What are some of your favorite vacation memories this year? How can you use those memories as ways for students or team mates to learn more about what motivates you?
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