Is maximizing your fun actually making you anxious??
It’s taken me awhile to figure out that (for me) less is more. This means less house, fewer possessions, a small wardrobe (uh-oh, now you’re going to check out my three pairs of pants), and fewer “big” vacations (but more frequent mini-vacations, like going to Northern Liberties by Uber and enjoying being “away” in a completely different landscape from my beloved West Philly).
But in recent years, when I’ve been working hard to build my acupuncture practice, I notice that I’ve been needing more. More food, more sleep, and more vacations (the Northern Liberties sort or otherwise). Working really hard requires energy, and if you’re not putting enough fuel back into your system by taking care of yourself, eventually everything gets really unwieldy and spread thin, until you collapse. (Luckily, this hasn’t happened to me for a long time, but I’ve been there before).
I noticed this desire to “maximize” (to cram in the fun, to spread myself thin) recently, when my sister and I booked a family vacation together.
Every year when I was a kid from ages 6-15 roughly, my family went on the same vacation to the same condo at Hilton Head Island. The condo was free through my dad’s workplace, and because we lived in landlocked Ohio, we all looked forward to that dreamy beach time every summer. Then, when I was 16, my dad changed jobs, and we lost the condo but ended up living in Wilmington, NC a few miles from the ocean, so that Hilton Head was quickly forgotten as we settled into the rhythm of living by the beach.
Earlier this year, my parents moved from Wilmington to Virginia and with the loss of that Wilmington house near the ocean, we all started dreaming about that condo in Hilton Head again.
2017 is my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary, and my sister and I started planning a family vacation to Hilton Head as a surprise for my parents.
Basically, we’re sending mom and dad on a nice vacation but are also crashing that vacation by bringing ourselves and our partners along. We presented this idea to them a few months ago, and they were thrilled.
We started looking at dates (as my family has some sort of insane genetics around long-term planning) and settled on May 13-May 20, 2017, a Saturday-Saturday, the standard 8 day and 7 night rental. But then I realized this meant I would miss almost two weeks of work with travel time included. And my sister just changed jobs and has limited vacation time.
Our dream vacation was beginning to feel slightly cramped rather than dreamy. While all of us were super excited about Hilton Head, we were also filled with dread about squeezing in the travel time and balancing that with the rest of our lives.
We realized we could change the dates to May 14-May 20, have a regular old Saturday to pack and get ready, then drive down on a Sunday morning, and have a whole day to get there caravan-style. (Boy do I wish we still had the CB radios we used when driving there in the 80s with the other family who traveled along with us).
With this plan, we could return on a Saturday morning to Virginia/Philadelphia, which would give my sister and I a whole Sunday off to rest before returning to work. The thought of that resting day fills my heart with ease.
So with some sadness but immense amounts of relief about the logistics and the breathing space on either end of the trip, my sister and I booked a condo down the street from that condo of olde (which, by the way, was not available) and left resting time in terms of travel to and from South Carolina.
So what does summer vacation have to do with the winter season we’re in now?
As we head into the holidays, and into the ultimate season of rest and restoration (at least ideally), I invite you to think about how you can trim down your holiday schedule to include a little resting time, some breathing space for yourself and your loved ones.
I know that there are so many fun possibilities during this time of year, but I would also like to invite you to go with the flow of winter and create a bit of ease for yourself. Look closely at your schedule. Is there something you can say no to, to carve out a peaceful day at home? Can you pass on one of those holiday baked goods for the sake of your overall health?
If overdoing it is your instinct, I would love to invite you to think about what under-doing it might look or feel like.
What can you let go of for the sake of leaving some time to enjoy the calm of winter and feel restored, or at least less depleted?
If you try it, let me know how it goes! I always love to hear from you.
Happy Holidays. In the spirit of less is more, I invite you to find a deeper sense of rest and calm. Connect with the ocean in your heart, and enjoy the rest and restoration of winter.