Vacation Chronicles: Self-Care

People in recovery circles often talk about the three-legged stool. If one of the legs is missing, the stool can’t balance. This is a metaphor for physical, mental and spiritual well being. If an individual is suffering in one or more of these three areas, life becomes out of balance. Such has been the case with me.

My mother-law-died in March. Since then, hubs and I (especially hubs) have been putting in a lot of hours to ready her house to sell. That’s on top of working full time jobs, church responsibilities, and caring for our own home. My self-care has consisted mainly of working out. While that’s great, it hasn’t been enough. Therefore my “emotional” leg has been a bit short. So when it was time to go on vacation, I made a radical decision.


Since receiving a work-supported cell phone years ago, I can’t recall ever leaving it at home. I didn’t invest in a personal phone because I didn’t want to manage two cells. Therefore, my work cell has traveled across the country on all pleasure trips. I simply liked having the security of carrying a cell phone in the event I needed one for an emergency, or to check in with my mom while away. I’m sure you can guess what happened. I’d take a peak at office emails just to make sure everything was ok. Then I would answer emails and even return calls. Before I knew it, I would return from vacation having done something for the office every day. Please know that no one at my office asked me to do this. As one who deals with workaholism, it was something I felt compelled to do. I was the master of my own misery.

Things changed for this trip. A colleague in my department agreed to cover for me. We met several times to go over various “what ifs” that might have occurred while I was away. I emailed key colleagues and stakeholders to let them know I was going to be off the grid. My voice mail message and my email bounce-back were clear that I was away and gave instructions on who to contact for assistance in my absence. You would have thougtht I was preparing for a nuclear war. But all of that planning paid off.

I spent the week feeling more relaxed than I’ve felt in many years.

So what does all of this have to do with health and fitness? A lot. I don’t think my Creator is pleased when I am all knotted up in a stress ball. And science tells us that stress causes a multitude of problems. Here’s a sampling.

I returned home yesterday and resisted the urge to turn on the cell phone and check email. Today I checked my calendar to see if any new appointments had been scheduled for tomorrow. I did look at my list of emails and scrolled through them only to delete spam and read-receipts from messages I sent prior to leaving. I didn’t read messages and certainly didn’t answer any.

They’ll be waiting for me tomorrow.


I’ve got more vacation chronicles to share in future posts. Stay tuned to learn how my “100 Days on the Beach” (South Beach diet) turned out as well as triathlon training while on vacation. (Hint: I’m grateful to have lived through my open-water training swim).

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