How To Really Enjoy Vacation: Something all youth ministers should do

It appears that for the next couple of weeks we’ll be missing staff members here and there due to vacation.  Some people are heading to the beach, others are hiking in the mountains and some may just be chilling out at home with the AC blaring.  All of us are just looking for a little R&R before the fast paced fall approaches.
I have to admit that throughout my career I have not been the greatest at taking vacation.  I’ve taken time off, but to really vacate the world and refresh and rejuvenate has not always been a priority.  And if I have been on vacation I haven’t always vacated in the right way.  Believe it or not there is a right way to do vacation and it doesn’t cost a lot of money.  Here are a few tips to consider:

  1. Plan Well In Advance: Trying to book a vacation last minute is extremely difficult.  When you are running if you find that you are thirsty it means you are already dehydrated.  If you plan a vacation when you are feeling burn out, chance are you are burnt out…you’ll need a sabbatical to bounce back.  Book it months if not a year ahead and protect it.
  2. Take 10 Days: 3 for detoxing, 7 to enjoy the freedom from work.  If you can take 14, and for some of us that might mean emptying our vacation bank, but it’s okay.  Too many times we think one day off will do the trick.  A vacation needs to be an escape, not a day to do errands.  The length of days really does make a difference.
  3. Leave All Tech Behind: Do not check email, Twitter, Facebook, your blog or any thing that might strike an emotional response about work.  Put up away messages and inform people you are gone if you have to, but do not allow a medium to draw you back into your working world.
  4. Do What Relaxes You: Granted big trips are fun, being with lots of family can be fun, but before you start orchestrating the epic adventure ask yourself, “Am I going to need a vacation from this vacation?” That’s a question that only you can answer, but do something that brings you closer to God, not death.
  5. Come Back A Day Early: Do not make your last day of vacation a travel day because those can be tiresome.  Instead plan on giving yourself a day of rest at home.  This might also be a day to check the status of your voice mail and email, but do that with caution.
  6. Bring Me Back A Souvenier: I know we might not know one another, but it would be the kind thing to do after all of this advice…I’m just suggesting.

Planning the right vacation can be hard due to the emotional feelings of anxiety.  We fear that the evil work fairy is going to create chaos and make the work load explode out of control.  As long as we prepare and plan ahead we should be fine.  Plus, vacation should be an exercise in our Sabbath, it’s something we need to reconnect with God.  Taking time to step away and reconnect with God, family and ourselves is one of the best things we can do in furthering His kingdom because it prepares us for the long journey ahead.

What do you do for vacation?  What makes it difficult for you to escape?