Saturday, August 3, 2013
You’d think we would all just recognize that a we need to take time off, to plan a family vacation and reconnect. But the truth is, our daily demands blur our vision and cloud our decision making when it comes to finding the work-life balance we all crave.
First, let’s start with the fact that the “balance” everyone talks about doesn’t really exist. You will never have your personal life and your work life in a state of equilibrium. And trying to do so adds one more source of pressure to your life.
Your work life and your personal life are too multi-faceted and often even interwoven making the idea of segmenting them and then balancing them as challenging as that guy who spins plates around on long poles at the amusement park. You know him, he frantically runs from pole to pole to pole trying to ensure that each plate is spinning at the optimum rate and fully balanced. He hopes and prays his act ends before the plates, which slow and wobble, tumble to the pavement.
Forget balance. Look for a satisfying ebb and flow. Work hard today. Play hard tomorrow. Relax well the next day. Do whatever rhythm works in your life that doesn’t turn into a balancing act.
Nevertheless, even when you are living in the flow, you can get so distracted that you miss the warning signs of family vacation deprivation Here are 5 ways to know that at your house, a family vacation is overdue:
- You can’t remember the last time you took one. This warning sign is obvious. If you ask your children (or your spouse) about your last family vacation and no one remembers when or if you took one, then you are clearly in the red zone for needing another one.
- Your back hurts. Okay, it may not be your back, perhaps it is your neck, your head, or even your left knee. Your spouse has similar complaints and the kids are drippy with yet another cold or holding their stomachs with a mystery tummy ache. You and your family aren’t sick. Your bodies are just flashing warning signs that they are in need of some down time.
- You, or any other member of your family, struggle to fall asleep. Perhaps you put the kids to bed, over and over and over again at night. Or you go to bed, only to find yourself awake with your mind still buzzing. This is not “flow.”
- The things that used to be fun, aren’t so much anymore. Your children now bicker when doing things they once looked forward to, whether its activities, sports, or family routines.
- You realize that other people’s vacations annoy you. This not only applies to all your friends and relatives who are sharing details about their great family vacation, but to strangers. The Travel Channel starts to irritate you; Jimmy Buffet songs make you grouchy; or simply walking past the luggage store at the mall makes you cranky and resentful.
Do not wait until you show all five signs—you’ll be in the danger zone of vacation deprivation by then. Instead, find a way, to ensure that a fun, relaxing, and restorative family vacation becomes part of the natural flow in your life.