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I wanted to share a potent takeaway I had from my recent holiday vacation.  It’s a fairly new experience for me to say the words VA-CA-TION, as it was over 4 years into my business before I ever took any significant time off for myself. With that, it’s been a true re-learning process to remember how to relax and enjoy my time away.

SIDE NOTE: I feel it’s all too common to wear our crazy overworked, under recovered lives as some badge of honor…and I am not trying to do that by mentioning my, let’s call it dry spell of taking time for myself to recharge. Quite the opposite. Burning the candles at all 15 ends is not sustainable, and one way or another WILL catch up with you.

With that said I will brag a little in that this recent getaway was one of THE BEST vacations I’ve ever had. I think it’s also important to illustrate that on this vacation we, my wife Van and I, chose to do very little…and I’m not kidding. We 100% chilled out. The majority of our scheduling conundrums on any given day was whether we wanted to watch the next episode of Game of Thrones before or after we took a nap.

SPOILER ALERT: Jon Snow LIVES!

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I feel we’ve all said at one point or another how fast time flies as we get older? But wait, remember those summer days as a kid that seemed to last forever! What happened to those days…has time truly sped up? I think we all know the answer to that. In the end it’s about how busy, distracted, and truly wasteful we become with our time.  The older we get the more quick we are to throw time away. I  wrote a recent BLOG on this exact topic so check it out!

Here’s what’s cool about this recent VaCa for me. Time didn’t fly by. Quite the contrary, there were multiple days where time seemed to almost stand still. Days where I commented to my wife, “Wow, it’s only 2 O’Clock.” It was amazing…and sadly something that I’ve not noticed in a LONG time. Usually days, weeks, months just whiz by. I’ll admit that I was blindsided as to how quickly it seemed to now be writing 2017 on checks…and that’s not a good thing.

Some of you might be thinking, “Dude, you were on vacation. You’re supposed to chill out and do nothing.”  You’re absolutely right, but sadly it wasn’t that long ago where I couldn’t relax. I distinctly remember that on that first vacation we took 4 years ago, it took me minimum 4 to 5 days before I was able to start to chill the heck out, relax, and enjoy my time and even then it was still a stretch. For so long, all I knew was go…go…go, so when I carved out some ME time, I had no idea what to do. I had literally forgotten how to relax. Pretty sad to burn over half a vacation like that but with everything in life, it’s a process and I learned from it.

Here is the positive to this story, I’ve gotten a TON better. Every getaway since that first I spoke about above, I can let go and melt into my down time quicker and quicker, allowing me to recharge and actually enjoy my time away. During this most recent trip, as we were driving up north to our destination, I would look over to Van and ask…”Hey…you in VaCa mode yet?” She’d respond…”Getting there, how about you?”“Yup getting there,” I’d say. The fun is that by the time we finished our 3 hour car ride to the cabin, I was feeling pretty good, and by dinner time, I was there. VaCa Bliss!

I’ve always valued my own experiences as a great opportunity to learn and in some way, help me be a better coach to others.  This story is no different. If you can relate, know that you’re not alone. If you want to change, know that it will take time…and that’s ok. The first step is noticing. I’m thankful to have learned over the years how to relax and slow down. It’s not perfect, as nothing ever will be, but I’m working on it and that’s all you can ask of yourself.

Michael Pilhofer, Owner and Head Coach at MSP Fitness has over 20 years experience listening, observing, and communicating to help people improve themselves. His goal is to create a positive and supportive training environment that inspires people to make long-term fitness and lifestyle changes. He believes in not simply doing work, but doing work that matters – work that has purpose, a plan, with an outcome in mind.