Micro-vacations for the entrepreneurMichael Schwengel
Being an entrepreneur can be difficult. It’s full of long hours, endless plates to spin, and if you’re at the start of a new venture that needs constant nurturing, no “real” vacations. As winter descends upon us, the desire to escape to turquoise waters, warm sand, and limited cell reception can become R-E-A-L, and yet sometimes it’s just not the right time to get away for an extended period.
But I’m a true self-care wellness nut, and know the importance of taking time away from work, not only for my own sanity but that of my team members and loved ones as well. And as much as I enjoy getting swept up in the passion of running a business, if I don’t check in with myself to find balance, unwind and clear my head, burnout can creep in pretty quickly.
A trip to the Greek Isles isn’t in the cards right now, so in lei, I’ve really started to embrace the concept of “micro-vacations”. An idea that takes the benefits of vacation and time away like clarity, novelty, playfulness, ease, and rest, and bakes them into really small batches…micro batches! Below are a few great ideas to get you micro-vacationing in no time (no saving required).
- Go to your happy place, literally – even if it’s just for an hour. For me, one of those places is the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota (see photo above). On a snowy day like today, I love that within 15 minutes I can be transported somewhere that has 75 degree weather, humidity, fragrant flowers, and humongous tropical plants. I made a visit earlier this week, sat on a bench next to a giant fern and let my mind wander off into eternity. When I got back home in time for my next conference call, I felt like a new person.
- Meditate 30 minutes a day. Okay, how about 5? The benefits of meditation have been widely publicized ranging from: reducing stress, controlling anxiety, lengthening attention span and promoting emotional health. The more you practice meditation the more you benefit, and the easier it becomes. (If meditating 30 minutes a day is too much, start with once a week for 5 minutes and work your way up to 20 minutes or MORE)
- Work somewhere new! Finding a novel place to hunker down can provide new perspective for anyone who is hard at work. This fresh perspective can spark new ideas and keep your mind centered. I suggest finding a new coffee shop, or maybe grabbing a day pass at a local coworking spot. If that’s too much effort, find a different nook in your normal work environment or home.
- Unplug for an hour a day and live like your ancestors. Studies suggest that unplugging and distancing ourselves from our devices even for a short period of time can help us recharge, sleep better and may even improve your interpersonal relationships. Perhaps unplug and go to a workout or yoga class (during the day). Or learn to cross-stitch!
- Block off an hour on your Google Calendar to do nothing at all. Find a cafe/coffee shop or quiet space and be still, become bored. Allowing yourself to actually “feel bored” yields to introspection and more creative thinking. So seek out those unproductive, less adventurous, quiet, “boring” moments in life. You might want to bring your journal as those creative ideas will start coming.
- Cue up your favorite podcast/article/video for 10 minutes a day and sit back relax, and get your learn on.
- For those of us without children, volunteer with kids or take your niece or nephew on a playdate. The world takes on a completely different form through the eyes of a child, and while you’re crawling on all fours pretending to be a horsey, you may gain a new perspective on what really matters to you.
Take one or all of these ideas and apply them to your life weekly and you will start to feel more relaxed and ready to take charge again when the time is right (no tan lines needed).
Great article Michael! You’re spot on with these “micro-vacations,” we all need them. I’m going to take your advice on blocking off time to do absolutely nothing, that sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing!
Yess! – I love my “nothing” blocks of time. Highly recommended. Thanks for stopping by, Josh 🙂