How to Make it to the Next Vacation
Last week, we talked about the value of vacations and a plan for integrating them into 2016. We now know from research what we already knew from life experience; the positive effects of vacations only last about four weeks.
Most of us can’t take a full week or two of vacation every four weeks. So, let’s go in another direction this week. Let’s think about why our jobs wear us down after as little as four weeks.
Who Am I?
As I spend time with this topic, one concept continues to emerge: work as an identity. For many of us, our jobs define us in a major way. We believe we are our jobs. When asked to talk about ourselves, we often start with what we do and where we work.
But we are not our jobs. A job is part of our current life situation. It’s one of the many roles we play. But it is not who we are.
That thought may cause you severe anxiety. If I’m not my job, who am I?
Or it may be extremely freeing. You may feel like a burden has been lifted as you mentally step out of the costume that is your working self and can feel, deep inside that you are still there.
For me, it is a liberating thought and here’s why. If I am my job, and something goes wrong and I leave my job, it leaves me or the business fails, then where am I? Who am I? The thought of it can send even the most competent, confident person into a full-fledged state of panic.
What if, when the job is set aside, you are not lost, you do not cease to exist, but you are freed up to become more of who you truly are? Could this be the reason that some vacations feel so good? We’re not running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to please bosses, coworkers and customers. We’re simply doing things we chose to do because we love to do them.
What if you could become more of who you truly are every moment of every day, even when you are working? Would we even need a vacation? Okay, that’s a little extreme. But we may not be in such desperate need of repair by the time the next vacation rolls around.
Human Being Vs. Human Doing
I believe we are spiritual beings having a physical human experience. As spiritual beings, we are naturally loving, joyous and peaceful. Our natural state is to create, not to simply stay busy. It’s when things get in the way of that, namely fear, that things go awry.
When we are in the zone, when time stands still and we are truly in the moment, it is often at the time when we are fully engaged in doing something we love, in other words, creating. For some it may be creating a delicious meal, for others it may be creating a fantastic new spreadsheet or it may be working to create a beautiful garden.
The ways we create are endless. We’re most fulfilled by these activities when we are doing them because we love them and simply for the sake of doing them, not to please our boss or to get a good performance review or a raise.
Bridging the Vacation Gap
So let’s think about how to maintain high levels of performance at work throughout the year. Taking regular vacations is a great step. Also, how can we bridge the gap between vacations?
I have some tried and true personal habits that keep me energized and grounded that I highly recommend to others. They include healthy eating, exercising daily, sleeping eight hours a day, and connecting to the deeper part of myself through yoga and meditation.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to go beyond self-care to tapping into the creativity you were meant to express, while you are working.
- How can I embed my work with more of my strengths and more of my natural creativity?
- What I am creating in each of my work to-dos and how I can bring more of my unique, creative ideas into it?
- As someone who supervises others, how can I give employees some time to create?
- How can I create a work space that inspires more creativity in myself and others?
This year, I am looking for ways to intertwine my life-long passion for photography into more of my days, including my work. I’m also shifting my thinking about my daily tasks. For example, I’m looking at publishing regular, informative content on this blog as a way for me to create something original in the written form on a regular basis.
Now it’s your turn! Reply below and share your techniques for staying on top of your game in between vacations and what you plan to do in 2016 to connect with your inner creator. I can’t wait to borrow some ideas from you!
We’ve thought about ways to extend the time between vacations where we still feel engaged, productive and healthy. But this is just the tip of the iceberg on the topics of work, being human and creativity.
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