I didn’t really intend to take five days off writing, but I was badly in need of a break from deadlines and screens. The end of an overly busy week with a string of too-late nights grading midterms blended into a family vacation to the beach over a long Fall Break weekend… and being away from my laptop for the first two days felt so refreshing to my soul that I decided to keep it up for the rest of the trip. Somehow, the posts I had planned on the importance of self-care seemed hypocritical if my writing time sacrificed much needed sleep or family time. In the past, I would have probably plowed through and did whatever I had to in order to stay on my self-imposed “schedule,” but I’ve learned a few things about myself in the course of the past year – among the most important, my limits and need for rest and refreshment following times of striving and stress.
There’s something so powerful about getting away from the daily grind of life, even if for a short time, to help us step back and “see the forest” instead of our day-to-day view of all the trees. During a morning walk on the beach, the thought came to me that vacations – the relaxing variety at least – are the human equivalent to a “reset” button. When our computer, phone, or other device has been on too long and is acting wonky, we can push a button or series of keys and magically restore everything to normal functioning. The same is true for us; we need times of reset in our lives as well. Time to get to know ourselves and our loved ones all over again, time to reconnect with our Maker on a deeper level, time to reflect on what’s working well and what we need to change, time to eat good food without counting calories, time to laugh and spend quality time with those we love most, and time to lay worry and stress on the sideline for a brief period and just focus on living in the moment.
My absolute favorite place in the world to reset is the beach (once or occasionally twice a year) – There’s something almost magical about being in front of the ocean to put in perspective how little we are in the scope of the Lord who spoke it all into existence and holds all our todays and tomorrows in the palm of His hand. On a more regular basis, I find it helps so much to just get away for an hour or two at a time, and my favorite local retreats are anywhere overlooking the water (I’m blessed to live in a town with both a river and lake), a coffee shop, or the library. I’m a people-loving introvert, so I need a quiet place away from my home and people I know in order to truly “reset.” On a daily basis if I have just a few minutes, my best retreat is anywhere outside with my running shoes, ear buds, and a playlist of favorite worship music.
After the past week, I’m especially thankful for four days of reset – and to return with renewed perspective, priorities, and resolve. Are you in need of reset – or at least a little time unplugged? What’s your favorite location or activity to gain perspective and refreshment?