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What a true vacation looks like


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Cecilia Pigg - published on 06/22/21

Read this before you head out on a vacation that leaves you needing another vacation!

Ever come away from vacation feeling not rejuvenated? Sometimes my vacation time is so busy or poorly planned that it leaves me depleted, just as on edge and stressed out as I was before I went. Maybe you’ve been there, too.

Just because we don’t know how to take a real vacation, however, doesn’t mean we should give up. God rested on the seventh day, so we have a precedent and reason to make sure we are building in time to rest and replenish ourselves.

You also don’t have to go far to find true rest. The following ideas for what makes a vacation good and truly rejuvenating work whether you’re traveling far or doing something closer to home. So here’s to planning some time off that brings you life and refreshment! 

Think about what makes you feel free and fully yourself.

Is it stargazing? Is it being around certain friends? Is it working with your hands to create something? Reading a good book? It might mean a walk back in time, as it may require you to think back to different moments from your childhood or from your high school or college years. Once you know what those activities are, build your vacation time around them.

Sketch an outline of what activities you want to do during your vacation.

Use the idea of leisure as a guiding principle, along with the activities you thought about that make you feel free and fulfilled (see above). You will want to prioritize periods of silence to pray or just rest, allowing yourself time to experience the beauty of your surroundings.

Our humanity means we have the ability to think deeply about God and the world, and this is something that sets us apart from animals (my pet chickens, for instance, don’t think deeply about anything). Making time to think and pray helps you to come away from a period of rest more free and more yourself. 

Decide ahead of time what activities you know you should avoid.

Identify activities that will not leave you feeling more human, more yourself, and more free. These may include: mindlessly watching television and videos, checking in on social media constantly, or sitting still indoors for long periods of time. Instead, be intentional about your use of media, get outside, explore your new area, and plan periods of quiet.  

Think ahead about food.

If you eat carefully at home, don’t throw all of that out the window on vacation. You will enjoy your trip more if your body isn’t thrown completely out of whack by a lot of junk food. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some treats. It does mean you should be judicious, and remember that your body doesn’t change just because your setting has.

If you will be traveling somewhere, make the transit time meaningful.

This doesn’t mean you should be productive and get a bunch of things done while on the road or in the air, but it does mean you should be intentional about your entertainment choices and decide to leave some space for silence. Here’s a book list of some good reads regardless of your age; check out the audiobook versions for travel.

Ask yourself these two questions before you go.

What would help you come back to your daily routine from a trip or staycation truly rested? What difference would that make in the rest of your life?

It takes some planning, and some self-control to stick to what you plan. However, the benefits of truly resting without being tied to a screen or a work schedule are worth it. You will be able to see more beauty around you, and you’ll have the space to recognize the awesomeness of your Creator and gain perspective about your life. At the end of the day, and at the end of your life, that’s all that will matter anyway.

So start planning, and happy vacationing!

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