*This is the fourth post in a series about “What I want my kids to know before they leave the nest.”

Last week I talked about being intentional about priorities – loving people and doing projects. This week I’m saying – hey, take a break, relax, rest.

Am I contradicting myself? I think not.

And here’s why. A healthy life needs healthy rhythms. There’s a time for working hard. And there’s time for taking a break. Rest is an important aspect of taking good care of ourselves and our families. There are many ways to rest – sleep, silence, sabbath – but today let’s talk about vacation.

Vacation: a period of leisure and recreation usually spent away from home or business.

The word vacation can conjure up all kinds of ideas from tropical islands and theme parks to road trips and cruises. So many choices but there is no one-size-fits-all way to take a break.

The key is simply this…to rest, rejuvenate and not do (or think about) your normal work. While a change of scenery is ideal, stay-cations are also beneficial as long as you get out of your normal routine and engage in some activities that refresh you.

My family likes low key vacations…quiet days, a good book, our daily doubles tennis match, and playing games. Simply spending time together in a different environment doing things we don’t do in the course of normal life.

Health benefits of taking a vacation…

  • Lowers stress
  • Builds relationships
  • Reduces risk for cardiovascular disease

A 1992 study that tracked workers for 20 years concluded that men who didn’t take vacations were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack. Women had a 50 percent greater risk.

Even Jesus needed to get away once in awhile. While it wasn’t exactly a vacation, He did leave His work behind in search of peace and quiet. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile”. (Mark 6:32-33)

I was shocked to discover that the average U.S. employee takes only half of their allotted vacation time. Is it any surprise that most Americans feel overworked and overwhelmed. And 60 percent of employees do some work while they’re on vacation.

Admittedly, I’m not very good at turning my brain off. Even on vacation, I’m always thinking, planning, dreaming – and the list goes on. But I’m determined to give it a shot! I’m going to attempt not to think about what I normally think about…and simply enjoy down time. Maybe I’ll even read a novel instead of a health book! Radical…I know. 😲 Can I turn off my brain for a few days? Stay tuned…I’ll have to let you know!

So here’s what I tell my kids:

  • Remember that a healthy rhythm of life requires rest. Just as we need adequate sleep each night, we also need time away from work each year.
  • When you have young kids, try to carve out time (even just an overnight or weekend) to get away with your spouse. All the prep will be worth it!
  • Take family trips too – get out there and see the great big beautiful world God created for us.
  • Can’t get away right now? Take a staycation! Sleep at home and spend your days as a tourist in your own city – or take day trips to surrounding areas.

Lord, help me be intentional about taking time off to rest and rejuvenate. Help me to come away refreshed and ready to get back to the work you’ve called me to do. Amen.

Are you intentional about making vacation a priority? What activities do you enjoy when you take time to rejuvinate? Do you need to make a plan to get something on the calendar? Leave a comment and let me know!

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