As I watch my daughter getting ready for summer fun after she finished her Brevet examinations, I see the joyous and wondrous look on her face. The excitement is palpable. She cannot contain herself. I ask her what she wants to do and she answers: Sleep. And then sleep some more. And then, have fun. I ask her what kind of fun? And she answers: Any kind, it does not matter. In her wonderful wisdom, she emphatically told me that if she does not rejuvenate and have fun, she won’t make it next year in school. She has to “get rid” of all the pressure of the school year to have the ability to face next year. How prophetically correct of my not-so-little one. She is absolutely correct. If we do not rejuvenate, we won’t have the ability to perform at any level. We would be burned out, pardon the pun of summer.
Pressure. That is what Lebanon and work is all about. Relentless unforgiving pressure that hounds us every day 365 days a year. Why? Because of the way the geo-political and economic set up of our country. I am not here to discuss politics. I am here to raise awareness that whereas some countries face pressure of work and finances, they do so in peace and stability. In our case, there is none of that. There is the certain uncertainty of our reality. And after grueling work days and schedules and the demands, we await this wonderful season for some rest and relaxation. The truth is we NEED the vacation. We need to unwind and enjoy the time “off”. Off from pressure. Three things that are a rising problem in our current world. I will try to bring attention to them so that the impact of intervention and dealing with them may have a positive effect on your lives.
Problem 1: We are never truly left alone. Think of your cell phone and lap top and tablet and any form of communication. We are constantly surrounded by ways where work interferes into our lives and vacations. There is a last minute report, a phone call that needs to be made, a small meeting in the middle of the day, a glance at the stats and work sheets. It is all there. No more do we have to physically go to the office or be near a phone. Everything is at our finger tips, And as such, we are never truly left alone. And it is our fault. Try when you take a vacation to leave everything behind. I know, as long as the phone is with us, we will have access to email, social media, conversations and all sorts of messaging systems. Try to leave your phone behind. When you go out, leave it in your hotel room or in the house and just enjoy the day without it. IN truth, when you are on vacation, you need to be on full mode vacation. Else, no rejuvenation.
Problem 2: We wait for a single time of the year to take a vacation, and it is usually in summer to spend time with the kids and loved ones. The problem with that is what most people say about their vacations: too short. Well if you are going to take one vacation per year, you bet it is too short! Further, we expect 2 to 3 weeks of vacation to rejuvenate the effects of 49-50 weeks or work. How does that math add up for you?
Problem 3: We accumulate everything and expect all things to be solved in one setting. As if one magical vacation is enough. What do we need after the vacation? Another vacation, right? Because we get exhausted planning and living the vacation, and get hammered before leaving for the vacation and after coming back to work.
No wonder more and more of us are getting burned out. Keep in mind that wellness is your key against burn out. Burnout is extremely dangerous and can lead to depression, suicide, alcoholism, drugs, marital and social problems and alienation. And no single vacation is going to prevent or treat burnout. Consider the following ideas if you will. Try this approach instead:
- Try to vacation every day and every week. What I mean is try to take some time off for you every day and every weekend when you can. When I say off, I mean off. Truly. Turn off all communications and treat yourself to complete vacation mode.
- Stay fit: Physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Exercising is a key component against burnout. Praying, connecting with loved ones and resting as well as engaging in activities that are fun for your brain are so important, they hold the keys to a happy and successful life.
- Try to vacation more than once a year. Spread them out and enjoy.
- Family time is so important. Savor it and cherish it and make it holy. This is untouchable time by anything or anyone.
- Talk and discuss how you feel with your friends and loved ones. Get things off your chest.
- Stay young!
Pressure. Dealing with it takes a resistant force that is made up of time for fun, time for connecting and time for rejuvenation. Without those, pressure leads to burnout and break downs. Enjoy your summer, and make it last the whole year round.