My first real vacation

My first real vacation post

Summer is quickly disappearing as we zip into fall, but I have one last summer experience to share. 

It’s been a few weeks since I returned from my trip to California, and it was the BEST.

I’m not the best at relaxing. I’m not saying that in a Michael Scott kind of way, pretending like it’s a weakness but underhandedly bragging. (Watch the clip if that reference doesn’t ring a bell.)

Taking real breaks is important, and I recognize my hesitation to relax as an actual problem.

I’m happiest when I’m productive and checking things off my list. A healthy level of confidence can come from a job well done, but this hasn’t often been the case for me. I rarely stop long enough to celebrate a job well done before I’m on to the next one.

It’s not this way for everyone, but for me, the need to be productive isn’t healthy because of where it’s coming from. I don’t just feel good when I get things done, I feel bad when I don’t.

My identity is too closely tied to my productivity. In my mind, my value is usually a few checked boxes away.

So back to my California trip, and why it was the best. When I go on vacation, I still like to use time efficiently, read books I’ve been putting off, exercise and catch up on things I don’t have time for at home. I still have a mental checklist.

I do this partly because I know myself, and I know that I enjoy life when I feel a sense of progress. I’ve always struggled with the flip side, though. If I slept in later than I wanted or didn’t finish a book I planned to, I’d get that familiar anxiety, even on vacation.

But not this time. I did some writing when I felt inspired, but didn’t adhere to my usual blog posting schedule. I didn’t touch any work emails after the first day. I exercised, but I didn’t feel bad on the days I didn’t. I read fun books and didn’t worry about the ones I didn’t finish. I spent hours watching Gilmore Girls one Saturday

My vacation probably didn’t look that much different from others, but it felt different. I was able to truly relax because I turned off the part of my brain that judges me according to what I do instead of who I am.

Now that I’m home, I’m trying to carry that mindset with me into fall. I have big plans, projects and yes, checklists, but I’m tackling them with renewed energy now that I’ve begun to wrestle my identity away from my productivity.

Question: What makes vacation relaxing for you?

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