Take Time for Yourself

Take Time for Yourself

Last week my wife and I spent 7 glorious days on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. This was the first time I had ever been to that island and honestly, I didn’t even know it existed until my wife suggested it to me.

We are coming up on 20 years of marriage this month and thought this would be a great way to spend it. We’ve been to O’ahu with the kids and went to Maui for our 10th anniversary. Those were both fun trips, but this Kauai trip was something else! Some of the scenes were jaw-dropping. We took lots of photos of course, and I was able to bring and fly my drone as well and captured some really amazing aerial video of the island.

We stayed on the north shore at the Hanalei Bay Resort in Princeville. Which, I didn’t know the song Puff the Magic Dragon was written after this area, but that’s what the locals told us…

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea; And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honalee

Whatever. I always thought it was about pot in the 1960s, but what do I know?

What I do know, however, is that if you get a chance to visit Kauai, then you should do so. It is unlike any place I have ever been. The island is pretty small, so driving anywhere isn’t that big of a deal and doesn’t take that long. We drove up one day to Waimea Canyon, which is the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, as they say, and the drive was about 2 hours. That really was the furthest we ever had to drive.

I would also recommend doing a helicopter tour if you have the $400 to drop on it…it was worth every penny. Some of the vistas we saw are only accessible by helicopter so you get to see a lot of the island that most people never will.

Anyway, today I wanted to talk a little bit about how vacations are crucial to your physical, mental, and even spiritual health. You don’t realize how important taking breaks from life are, until you actually take one, and then you realize what you’ve been missing and how you’ve been operating at half throttle this whole time. 

There are 3 main benefits I experienced and I want to share them here with you so that I can try and convince to take a break every so often for yourself.

So, the first benefit is…

Helps You Recharge

Physically speaking, taking a vacation actually helps your body and mind rest. There have been so many studies that show that we actually need consistent breaks for optimal performance. This is even true for kids and recess. When recess time is cut or eliminated, then kids’ performance, attention span, and behavior all suffers as well. 

I think that part of this has to do with our biology. Now, I’m no scientist and this could be complete BS on my part, but I firmly believe that we were designed in large part to play at life. Everyone is so serious nowadays. Constant, 24-hour news cycles bombard our minds with bad news. Fifty, 60, 70 hour work weeks create unbelievable stress in our lives. We need a chance to say, “Hey, time out. I need a break.”

As entrepreneurs we are particularly bad about this. We wear our busy calendars around our necks like some sort of medal to be admired. We stay busy for the sake of staying busy. This isn’t healthy. And further, it isn’t productive either. Your mind and body can only withstand so much abuse before they crash and burn. Periodic breaks help with this. Scheduled, planned, and week-long (or longer) vacations help with this.

It’s a challenge not to feel guilty about taking time off. I know that several of my clients and my employees had some reservations about me leaving for a week, but at the end of the day, when I come back refreshed and recharged they could see a difference. One of my employees remarked, “Man, you even look more relaxed.” And he was right. I was.

Stokes Your Creativity

If you do go on vacation, make sure you bring a pad and paper with you or keep notes on your phone (since this is 2018 and all). For whatever reason, whenever your mind starts to relax and let go of stress it puts your creative juices on steroids.

While I was gone I had two epiphany-type ideas that I am sure will change my business in very fundamental ways for the better. I honestly don’t think I would have had these ideas if I hadn’t been away from my business. Sometimes we just are too close to the every day goings on that we are unable to step back and see the bigger picture. 

Not just that, but experiencing new things is a great way to get your creative juices flowing. You are able to see how others are doing things in different industries and model those strategies in your own business. If you have a restaurant or a retail shop you may see menu items that you can add or promotions that you can run in your own shop.

I got an idea for on-boarding new clients from the helicopter tour company we signed on with. They have a slick welcome email series that I plan to emulate. It’s ideas like these that can literally transform your business.

Helps You Get Motivated Again

One of the more surprising benefits of this Kauai trip was that by about the 5th day I was really looking forward to going back into work again.

I had gotten a little burned out I think and waking up and going into the office, dealing with clients, dealing with employee issues, dealing with all the little things that go along with running a business were starting to take a toll on me. I needed a break.

And it didn’t take much. Like I said, just a few days of relaxation, quality time with my wife, and I was all charged back up and ready to go. I was able to see into the future again. You know what I am talking about…it’s this gift we have as entrepreneurs that lets us see the world as it should be. It’s one of the things that keeps us going, keeps us excited. That was starting to fade a bit in my life from being in the trenches too long. I needed this break to clear my head and strategize again.

None of this would have worked if I didn’t have a team I could trust to handle the work while I was out. I am extremely grateful that I have surrounded myself with people who are competent and actually care about the work we do. Culture is so important and I would encourage you not to overlook it.

This is the only way you will be able to take these much-needed breaks in your life. You have to build a team around you. More importantly, you have to give the tools to be successful and then trust them enough to know they will get the work done.

If you can do that then you have truly bought yourself freedom. And after all, isn’t that really what we are all after? Freedom?

If you haven’t taken a real vacation, and I mean a real vacation by yourself or with your significant other without kids or other people, then I urge you to do so as soon as possible. It’s crucial that you do it by yourself or with a spouse or whoever.

We took our kids on vacation to Disneyland last June and it was a lot of fun and I loved every second of it, but I came back home exhausted and more stressed than ever. It wasn't really a break at all and I think that is an important distinction. You need time for yourself to be the very best version of you that you can be.

I know that sounds a little cliche, but it is true. So, trust me on this and go get away. Even if it is a staycation or somewhere local. You don’t have to go to Kauai, although I do highly recommend it!

But go somewhere that you can just decompress and relax. Maybe that is getting a hotel for a few days is a major city that is close by. I don’t believe the destination is really all that important. It’s your mental health we’re concerned with here.

So, be kind to yourself and take a break.

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