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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kate Webster

Quiet Power: Vacation Reboot

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

How often have you felt you needed a vacation after your one or two week vacation?

During a recent visit with my parents in our family cabin in Maine, they shared some shocking news—they weren’t going to hold their annual Fourth of July social gathering. I was stunned and wondered whether something else was awry—a health issue lurking beneath their late 70s healthy surface? Or stress from my wife and my visit (plus our dog)? As I shared my concerns with my mom, she chuckled and replied:

“We simply need some time and space to ‘reboot.’ We haven’t had time to catch our breath this past year and wanted to take time for ourselves.”

Reboot? What the heck did that mean? For the two weeks when I was in the cabin before they arrived, I bumped into many folks on their annual guest list who shared how much they were looking forward to my dad’s grilled rack of lamb, my mom’s salads, and a mix of guests’ signature deserts. My parents were letting all these people down.

But as I listened, really listened to what my mom was saying, I stopped all my questioning and realized how heartfelt and important my parents’ need to ‘reboot’ was. This cancellation was for their sanity—to allow them to re-engage with the world refreshed rather than exhausted and stressed out after their vacation.

It’s often hard on vacations to let ourselves relax, as we feel an external need layered with guilt to be go-go-go, tackling the latest hike, investigating the newest local cafe, or shopping among quaint stores. On the several rainy days during my 2 weeks’ time in the cabin, I always felt a bit guilty snuggling into a good book with our dog at my feet or watching an endearing women-empowered DVD.

One of my favorite definitions out of the many that exist for ‘reboot’ is: “To start anew with fresh ideas in a way that is consistent with the principals of the original, but not unnecessarily constrained by what has taken place before.” This, to me, is the true essence of the gift my parents gave themselves and me. In retrospect, with my mom’s words in my heart, I can look back and see that those rainy days were my rebooting days. Now, on my next vacation, I can be more proactive and feel less guilty when I take time out to slow down, let go, and breathe.

If you also struggle to ‘reboot’ while on vacation, here are three concrete tips you can use to come home refreshed and renewed with no need for a vacation from your vacation!

Tips to Reboot

  • Schedule a Reboot Day—you don’t have to wait until it rains, but you can create a day in which there are no scheduled events and let the day flow along its own rhythm. If you are traveling with others, communication is key to let go of expectations and make sure others’ needs are met as well.

  • The Key to Moderation is Moderation—knowing what you need to relax and reboot is essential along with being aware of when rebooting turns into an escape or checking out completely. Listen to your body and heart and, when it’s time to reconnect with the world, you’ll know.

  • Let Go of ‘Shoulds’—Taking time for yourself doesn’t work if you keep telling yourself you should be out hiking, kayaking, swimming, or enjoying sunshine. Turn the ‘should’ into ‘could’ and free up your day to just be.

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