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Learning How to Vacation

Vacationing has been a hot topic in my household for many years. For some reason, every career I have chosen always has some sort of deadline I need to meet. In the car business, it was… you can’t go on vacation at the end or the beginning of the month. Working in the wellness industry it got even more challenging because if you don’t work you don’t get paid. There were always arguments around this topic for many years in my household. I don’t think I even entertained the thought of vacationing until I started working full-time in the fitness industry and was able to accrue vacation time.

After not vacationing for many years I had to learn HOW to vacation. I know this sound crazy…. but my main focus for many years has been building my career, clients, classes, etc. So at first, I started with 3 days (Baby steps, remember Rome wasn’t built in a day.), then 4, 5, and finally made it to an entire week. However, with deadlines, I was always working on my time off.

I used to look forward to having the time off to work on my classes and client programming, but as I am getting older I am finding I really need that recharge time. In the past few years, I have really noticed a change in myself. I work so much in a people-oriented industry really value my free time - which doesn’t involve a lot of peopling. Most days I drive home with no music on in my car. Sometimes I can be home by myself, just sit in the silence and be ok with that. Not sure if this is a coming-of-age thing or who I really am.

I’ve always tried to be a social person but could never figure out why I was so exhausted after gathering with a bunch of friends for dinner. I’ve never really been a night owl and have always had to be on a pretty good schedule because no one wants to deal with a “no sleep” Julie! I am like a small child that didn’t get a nap that day. Yes seriously! I am that kid! I bet I can be labeled anti-social or even introverted because peopling makes me exhausted. However, my clients and my friends would say they would never change me because they love me just the way I am.

This year’s vacation was very different for me. My level of burnout was at a whole new degree. I don’t even know how to explain it. I really needed this time off I was going to work my butt off to make sure I had everything prepped ahead. That way things would run just as if I was at the gym. I even took 8 days off instead of 7 because of travel time.

Once I arrived on vacation I found a spot on the couch with a beautiful view and I just sat in silence with my coffee for at least two mornings. My phone was on Do Not Disturb and I didn’t even want to touch my computer I was so exhausted. By the third day, I had gotten 10 hours of sleep and was ready for my first run. This vacation I barely worked. I did correspond to a few emails and recertification test for nutrition coaching. I did my best to focus on the things I love to do like spending time with my Al on the boat, running, yoga, and hiking. I even talked myself out of working on my last day.

It has taken me 10 years to learn how to vacation again. I am still not there yet. I am a work in progress. Then again we are all a work in progress. I hope next year I will be able to take a vacation with no work involved. I’ll let you know how I make out.

By Julie Fostin, CPT, PN1

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