Rest on purpose

There is a small window of time between the end of our children’s summer sports seasons and the start of their fall high school seasons that my husband and I intentionally make space for a family vacation.  For years, the first week of August has been our time to see new parts of the world (or revisit old favorites), hike new trails, paddle new waterways, taste new cuisines, and make new memories.

This is the time of year I am typically preparing to take a vacation. But we all know the chorus to this song by now: this year is different.

What isn’t different for me, though, is my yearning to take the annual break I have grown accustomed to.  Not too far under the surface, I sense the need for respite that is only provided by time away from the office.  Vacations give me the opportunity to relish a second cup of coffee, read the next chapter of the book, linger in conversation, deal the next game of cards, toast one more s’more, and stay up late enough to see the stars shine bright.

As we work through this pandemic, I am finding I need these restorative experiences just as much as – actually more than – I always have.  I also find I need to be more intentional about making time for them.  I need to rest on purpose.

Tricia Hersey notes, “Rest is a healing tool for empowerment.”  Your rest doesn’t benefit just you; it benefits those around you, as well.  Imagine what our world could be if it consisted of wholly well-rested people.

It's hard for many of us to disconnect from the office right now, especially if there isn't the excuse of a big trip to do so. I’d like to offer three simple steps to help ensure you get space to rest on purpose this year.

Plan your exit.

Mark your vacation days on your calendar as early as you can.  Notify your colleagues as soon as you can.  Think through your obligations and make arrangements for coverage while you’re away.  Work ahead or adjust timelines so you can truly disconnect.  Block your calendar for your last scheduled hours in the office, so you have time to address those last-minute emergencies that arise (they always do).

Plan your absence.

Expect that while you are out, things will come up.  Identify someone (or two) who can respond to urgent requests on your behalf.  Enlist their support, brief them with essential information before you go, and empower them while you are gone. We create a culture where we can all thrive and get the rest we need by offering them the same gift of support and coverage when they take their time to rest.

Plan your re-entry.  And do it before you leave.

Expect that your inbox will be full, and your Teams Chats will be clogged. Expect it and plan for it.  Before you leave, reserve time on your calendar to clear your inbox and respond to Teams Chat threads.  Schedule time to meet with the people who provided coverage during your absence. It’s our culture to appreciate one another, send them a note of appreciation and offer to provide the same coverage for them when they need it in the future.

My hope is that this post will prompt you to rest on purpose at a time when disconnecting is more difficult than normal for many of us. Your wellbeing is important and we all need to take a moment to recharge.

I want to know, what will rest on purpose look like for you this year? Let us know on social with #WorkingAtTR!


Kelly is a Business Agility Coach #WorkingAtTR. 

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