by Rhoberta Shaler, PhD

There's a good reason why we call it a vacation. It's the time that we set aside to forget all the have-to's and should's of daily life and indulge in rest and recreation. In fact, it's re-creation! Reduce your stress. Relieve your anxieties. Relax your body. Rest your mind.

Is that how you plan your vacation? Time completely away from the everyday demands, the usual way you use your time.

Now, do you believe the old adage that a change is as good as a rest? I'm not so sure. It could be that that is just one more justification for working through your supposed vacation. Sure, it's a relief to have the garage cleaned or the basement relieved of its excess. And, yes, sometimes time off work is the only available time to take care of aging relatives or medical emergencies.It may be all we can afford and the price is high. We need some insights and strategies to keep life balancing. Here are a few ideas.


Unbelievable! What a bargain! How do you do this?

You may have noticed that sometime during the day you find your shoulders up by your earlobes. They seem to assume that position towards the end of the dayquite frequently. Keeping them there takes a lot of energy.

To show yourself just how much energy it takes, try this:

Take your shoulders up to your earlobes and keep them there. Take a deep breath in through your nose and sigh it out your mouth. Keep your shoulders up! Isn't that hard work?

Now, take a breath in through your nose and release it through your mouth. Let your shoulders do what they naturally want to do. Ah, a cost-free, luxury vacation!

Do it several times a day.


You have 168 hours each week. Could you spare just seven of them? Of course, you could. That's just one TV drama a day, one third or one quarter of a football or golf game.

A sacred hour a day can make all the difference in your attitude, your approach and your health. Take that time for yourself.

If right this minute, your head is filled with 'Yes, but's....", STOP! Most people waste far more than one hour a day. You can find time to preserve your sanity and practice balancing. No need for a stopwatch. Simply look for exchanges you might make, e.g., one hour of mindless television for a half-hour walk and a half-hour meditation, journaling or rest.

When I work with my coaching clients, I ask them to begin with clarifying their values, the principles they want to live from and within. That makes it easier to decide how to use time.

Give yourself an hour a day. It will restore you and keep life in perspective.


No matter how long you choose to leave the daily world behind, truly do leave it behind. I recently watched a commercial on television. A family was leaving on vacation with their SUV all packed, joyfully reciting all the things they had left behind: cell phones, fax machines, email, television, TIVO, DVD...and, all of sudden, there is a screech of brakes and a hard U-turn. Camping gear flying from the roof, the family heads back to town saying, "What were we thinking?"

They were thinking 'vacation' in the truest sense, but reality caught up to them. They came close to having to amuse themselves, to spend time with themselves, to be in relationship with living, breathing creatures without the aid of technological devices. For some, hiding behind technology is a safety net--the relationship is with the screen. No people involved. Or, the converse: staying in constant touch with others fills every moment, makes us feel indispensable and prohibits us from looking at our own lives very deeply if at all.

Learn to enjoy your own company, to spend time alone. Learn to nurture yourself, nourish yourself with what truly feeds your mind, heart and soul. That is what balances you.

So, if your idea of a vacation is filling every minute, change your mind. Slow down. Relax. Refresh. Rejuvenate. Revitalize. You deserve it...and you are the only one who can give it to you! Start now. Don't wait for tomorrow. You well know that it never comes.

(c) Copyright Rhoberta Shaler, PhD. All rights reserved worldwide.

Visit Rhoberta's website for ezines, free articles, and practical wisdom to help businesses prosper and people flourish. www.OptimizeLifeNow.com Join her online community, tune in to Optimize! Radio, buy books & CD's to shift your life from acceptable to exceptional.

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