As I unwrapped the package, I started to get a whiff of the scent that had been captured inside. It was a mixture of salty ocean water, sand and dead fish. I smiled, closed my eyes, and for a moment was back at Cedar Key. Unfortunately, the moment had to end. I opened my eyes again and remembered that I was 10 hours from the closest ocean. The package contained a unique bowl, made of concrete mixed with sand and shells from Cedar Key with a fern painted on the inside. A reminder of a very special place.
Do you have a special place? Somewhere you know you can go and leave the stress of day-to-day life behind? It’s so important to take a break every once in a while – especially for those in the non-profit world. I know it may seem counterintuitive. There are so many people who are in need of our help, how can we take a break? My question back is – how can we not? What good can we be for those we are serving if we burn ourselves out? What good can we be if we’re not there?
About a year ago, I saw a blog post from a writer who indicated that she felt, if you’re in the nonprofit world, it should be an all-consuming endeavor – otherwise you’re not really committed to it. I feel that the truth couldn’t be further from the truth. I believe our work goes much more smoothly (and people are better served) when we are well-rested and have a balanced life. There’s a certain amount of perspective that comes from that.
I have friends and family in Denmark who are very perplexed by the way we live here in the United States – especially as it related to long hours and little to no vacation. The Danes I’ve met are very focused on personal relationships. And, in their 35 hour workweeks, they somehow manage to get close to, or the same amount done, as we do in our 50 to 60 hour workweeks. I could make some educated guesses about why that is, but I’ll leave that up to other people to debate.
Have you started planning your next vacation (or stay-cation) yet? Tempted to skip it? Please don’t. You’ll be able to do much better work when you’re not exhausted and stressed out. A bonus? Somehow (for me at least) great ideas tend to come after I’ve rested and given thoughts a chance to settle themselves out. Another bonus? You’ll have more interesting stories and more to talk about.
So, please let me know in the comments – where is your favorite resting / vacation spot?