The Hurrier I Go, the Behinder I Get!

Unplugging will not Recharge us; recreation is about re-creat-ing!

This morning I want to take a nod to those of you with kids who have a March Break. I want to offer some ideas to ensure that you recharge but also own the fact that recreation is about re-creat-ing.

One of the greatest ironies is the number of people who think taking a break from work will recharge or re-energize. Let me put it differently: how many of us have said, when we get back from a great holiday, ‘jeepers, I feel like I need a holiday to recover from my holidays?’

It would be foolish if you and I believed that putting our cell phones on airplane mode would recharge the phone. Yet this is the same premise that happens to many of us when planning holidays. Let me explain why, but then what can we do about it?

Why this happens?

Many of us come back from great holidays more tired than when we left for a couple of reasons. This is not a comprehensive list, but more to illustrate what is happening to our brains and human-ness due to taking great holidays.

One of the first things that happen is that our brain loves routine. When we take a holiday to a strange place, a different location, or are in a new location, our brains are always on duty. When you go to have a cup of tea or coffee in your house, it does not require all of your concentration to accomplish this [at least, I hope not all of it]. This is why near the end of summer, when there has been no routine; children start doing things that drive mom or dad bonkers.

Another thing that happens is understanding how you and I get recharged. While it is great to enjoy a different location, maybe a sunny and warm one, the reality is that we cannot just sit and do nothing for an extended period of time and think that we will be better off for it. But aren’t these some of the lessons you and I learned from the pandemic? After all, solitary confinement and isolation, not to mention being stationary and not as physically active, did not leave many of us positively or more healthily. The proof is to look at the number of people who bought stand-up desks to deal with the physical realities of being sedentary.

Another reality is that when you and I plan for a holiday, much of the excitement comes from the anticipation. As we talk about, prepare, and pack for it, the energy level increases. Doesn’t it take so long to arrive, but it is over in a flash? Many of the holidays we have planned and prepared for feel over in the blink of an eye.

Let’s think about the thinking so that you and I can return healthier after any holiday. Why do I say think about the thinking? The reason is simple as frequently as humans, we do not look at our behaviours in the context of what we say.

Let me illustrate the commute into a workplace. Simply drive during rush hour one day going into the core area of work. Have you ever noticed how many people seem to feel the need to speed on their way into town? I would love to be able to pull those people over, not for speed, but to be able to ask them to say, “you must love your work as you are in a hurry to get there!” yet when we read reports, studies, and talk with people about their work are the majority of people heading into a place they love to attend?

Doesn’t it prompt the questioning you, if one does not like their work, why would they be in a hurry to get there? I am one of those blessed people who loves what we do!

It is this same thinking about the thinking that I want to apply to any break you and I choose to have so that we can restore, re-create, and re-energize to be better off than before we left on holiday in the first place.

Let me walk you through a very simple acronym that I developed to build out the four elements to thrive. They also ensure that our holidays are the break that is needed which energizes us. The four things form an acronym of REST.

Rest = Recreation, Envision, Sleep, and Thanks.

Recreation – those activities, hobbies, and interests that re-create – rejuvenate

Envision – visualizing and setting goals for tomorrow means a small list plan for tomorrow.


Thanks -gratitude for what you’ve done, noticing things to be thankful for.

Allow me to expand on these to give some encouraging takeaways so you can implement them and finish well.

Recreation etymology. It is the refreshment or curing of a person or recovery from illness, or to refresh, restore, make anew, revive, invigorate. As a verb recreate, “to refresh by physical influence after exertion .” Hence also, recreation (re-creation) is “a new creation, regeneration” (early 15c.), an “act of creating anew” (the 1520s).

On this break, what will you take time to learn, develop, or rekindle a hobby which you find restoring?

I have seen people I know rekindle a hobby of playing the piano [not done for 25+ years] and ensuring there is time to do jigsaw puzzles.

Personally, neither one of these would revive me  .  .  .

What is recreation for you does not need to be true for everyone else. What do you find re-creating?  Then set a SMART goal to implement

Envision – rather than rushing right into the next thing without thinking about the thinking, why not set some goals, expectations, or takeaways? Otherwise, we might rush into work when we do not love what we do.

  • I want to take away one memory, story, or celebration for today’s activity.
  • Tomorrow, I will plan to achieve, accomplish these two times.

Sleep – you know, one of the tragedies that adults lose? It is the loss of the bedtime routine. Maybe you can relate to me, but when the kids were young, we always had a pattern of what we would do at bedtime. It might be storytime, a TV show, prayers, a bath, playing a game or any number of things. This routine relaxed the brain, even when some kids fought what they knew was coming! This worked so well for us that my kids would always come out to their mom and say, “dad’s asleep; what do you want me to do now?”

  • To go full speed and think you will just shut the brain off may not work for everyone.
  • What bedtime routine do you want to build into your holiday?
  • Who can you include in this routine to ensure quality time is held because there is a quantity of time?

Thanks – this is probably one of the most challenging things for us as adults. After all, we live in a time where so many love to point out what is wrong or what they don’t like! It is such a huge benefit when we find things we are grateful for or celebrate what we have accomplished [which reflects our values, not successes that others think are important]

  • I will list 2-5 things I am thankful for each day of my holiday
  • I will ask people I am traveling with to share two things they are grateful for

Optimistic people attract positive people, so I encourage you to focus on some REST.

So that you recharge, restore, and have recreation so that when things get busier, you know what matters. You got some REST to get plugged in and did not just settle for unplugging.

If you need encouragement and a private thinking partner, let’s talk.

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