My spring break was amazing! I had a wonderful time in St. Lucia enjoying the sun, surf, and just relaxing. The trip was a great experience. Rather than being disappointed about being back at work today, I’m reenergized and ready to tackle the rest of the semester. In reflecting on my week away, I want to share what I see as the four benefits of a restful spring break to hopefully encourage you to take one for yourself.
As I’ve said in the past, I have a hard time letting go of work and just taking time to relax. Yet, last week I spent my work energy on consciously not working. I avoided emailed and even thinking about work. I read some nonfiction books, but didn’t spent a lot of time thinking about how to apply what I was learning.
Thinking back on the week, I’m just now starting to appreciate how tired I was before break and how much better prepared I am to tackle the rest of the semester. Specifically, I’ve identified four benefits of a restful spring break.
1. Enjoy life. This is such a simple idea, but we so rarely do this with the grind of our daily routine. During my week away, I spent more time in nature, reading, or just talking with my wife than I’ve done in years. The ability to enjoy a slow-paced life was one of my favorite parts of getting away.
2. Physical health. One of the advantages of vacation is the ability to take care of our physical health. For starters, there is no excuse to not get a good night’s sleep. In addition, vacation provides a welcome opportunity to engage in exercise. One of the things I didn’t appreciate before going to St. Lucia was the amount of stairs I would be climbing. The stairs provided plenty of exercise. But in case that wasn’t enough, I included plenty of scuba diving and snorkeling to make sure I was safe!
3. Mental health. Getting away from work helps give our minds a break. It is mentally exhausting to work through writing projects, emails, and the daily routine of faculty work. I avoided all of this on vacation and I can already tell I’m mentally rested compared to before the trip.
4. Recharge your batteries. Fundamentally, this is the result of the first three benefits. When we are able to improve our physical and mental health while enjoying life, we automatically recharge our batteries. The ability to slow down, rest, and recover provides a welcome relief to the hustle of daily life. Taking time to enjoy a meal, read, or just be was a wonderful opportunity to recharge and reset.
I can’t tell you how much the benefits of a restful spring break have already helped me. The challenge I have for myself (and you) is to think about how to include activities into a regular week to leverage some of these benefits. There is no reason I should have to leave for a week to a beautiful Caribbean island to gain all these benefits. Sure, time away is critically important, but it is also necessary to learn to take advantage of these ideas in my daily life. I’ll be working on this and I hope you will too!