How to Protect Your Summer Vacation

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Don’t waste it by taking it for granted. Plan it out, communicate that you are unavailable, and rest away.

A few years ago, I made the mistake of planning a vacation right before a middle school work camp (or was it planning the work camp after vacation?). The week before any youth ministry event is filled with last minute details, phone calls and emails. I had volunteers, parents and vendors contacting me when I should have been enjoying the beach with family. Let’s just say I came back from vacation in need of another.

Your rest is important, and one the best ways you can refresh yourself is through vacation. For some of you, the perfect vacation is on the beach, for others, it’s in the mountains, and for some of you, it’s just catching up on all four seasons of Arrested Development. No matter where you go or what you do, it’s important to protect it, and you do that by:

Turn It Off: It’s hard to turn off all the noise going on in your life. Vacation is the perfect time to disconnect from work and the rest of the world. That might mean turning off the computer and putting down the phone (after you read this post … of course).  While it feels weird not to be connected, sometimes we need to disconnect in order to slow down, breathe and refocus.

Get Ahead: Preparing for vacation is like a squirrel getting ready for the winter. To get ahead means creating margin so that you aren’t worrying about that PROJECT or MEETING. Getting ahead means creating a work pace that allows you to slow down instead of stopping cold turkey. It also means putting a plan together for when you walk back into the office. To get ahead means scheduling out your time and prioritizing your tasks. Delegate to your team, and then walk away.

Set Boundaries: Not everyone is going to know you are on vacation, and not everyone will respect that. To protect your vacation, you need to set expectations. That means giving a list of reasons for when you can be contacted. It also means dictating how to be contacted. For example, I tell people that if they really need to touch base with me to text, “Call me now.” If I see anything else, I tend to ignore it. Provide limits, and you’ll communicate how your rest is important to you.

Protect your vacation and your protect your:

    Family

    Health

    Margin

    Time

    Soul

Don’t waste it by taking it for granted. Plan it out, communicate that you are unavailable, and rest away.

What’s your favorite vacation spot? What do you do to rest and relax?  

Chris Wesley Chris graduated from Xavier University in 2003 with a BA in Communications: Electronic Media. He moved to Baltimore in the fall of 2003 where he served as a Jesuit Volunteer for a year. During that time, he was a Case Manager at Chase Brexton, met my wife Kate and felt God's calling to Student Ministry. In the summer of 2004, heI was hired by the Roman Catholic Parish Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland as a Middle School Youth Minister. Today he oversees grades 5-12 as the Director of Student Ministry.

More from Chris Wesley or visit Chris at http://www.christopherwesley.org

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