Take a Vacation from Yourself

I called you this weekend but didn’t hear back. I was worried.

Yeah, sorry. I took a vacation from myself.

You what?

I took a vacation from myself.

Here’s the thing about my dear friend Lynda – you never know what to expect, or what startling wisdom lies just below the surface of her signature quirkiness.

I thought you said you were going to see your brother and sister-in-law in Pennsylvania.

I did.

And you took a vacation from yourself? I don’t understand.

It’s true. I didn’t. What Lynda described next both fascinated me and struck a chord. Yes, she went to Pennsylvania and visited with her relatives. And while that was “a vacation,” it wasn’t “the vacation.” The true vacation was the one Lynda took with mindfulness and intentionality.

I was just sick of everything…the routine at my store, the food I was eating, the clothes I was wearing, the same old walk I was taking every day. I needed to put that me on hold for a little while.

It’s funny, isn’t it? How the authenticity we’ve worked so hard to attain can sometimes feel like its own limiting trap.

Exactly! So, I packed my car with food I never eat, stopped at the Dollar Store and bought hanging out clothes I never wear and drove a whole new route that I hadn’t taken before. We had a great weekend doing things I never do!

I was afraid to ask, but I did anyway:

So, but now you’re back in your same old, same old. How’s it going?

Well, yes… I am pretty much back in my same old, same old. But, refreshed. That’s what happens when you step outside of the you that you know and have a little adventure, explore. You get out of your own dang rut.

Now, see? That’s why I love you!

How to Take a Vacation from Yourself

There’s plenty you can do when you find yourself in a restless rut:

  • Recognize where you are stuck or bored

Instead of ignoring or downplaying your feelings, call them out. There’s power in that! Try to be specific: do you feel that you don’t have any options or are just plain tired of your routines? Do these feelings pertain generally, or more specifically to your relationships, your work, or your free time? The more specific you are in identifying the source, the more accurate you will be in identifying the actions to take next.

  • Treat yourself like a guest

Yes, you’ve heard it before, but being good to yourself is therapeutic, period. So, imagine you are a guest and ask yourself how you would treat that guest. What would you do for her that would make her feel more alive, more at peace, more joyful? Do that for you!

  • Say “yes” instead of “no”

The thing about being stuck in a rut, or “tired of the same old you” is that it becomes self-perpetuating. Your way of being is your habit and habits can grow old or keep us from growing beyond what we know and are used to. So, say yes to something your habitual you would ordinarily say no to. Some of my best experiences – and Lynda’s, apparently – have happened when we’ve uttered a spontaneous yes!

  • Take a big break

Beyond that spontaneous yes, do something “bigger.” Lynda’s atypical approach to her Pennsylvania jaunt delivered a sense of wonder, adventure, and excitement because she freed herself up for a very different type of experience.

  • Change things up

Invest in the long term to keep those ruts at a minimum by taking a mini assessment:

  • Where in my life do I find joy?
  • What makes me unhappy or stressed out?
  • Am I doing things just because I think I should?
  • Do I need to revisit my relationship and job commitments so that they provide meaning and fulfillment?
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