What I did on my winter vacation

I had a marvelous holiday break. We went to see family the first few days, and after a “stressful but could have been worse” return home (I wasn’t feeling well and we were flying into a big snowstorm), we had twelve blissful days of being home with no real agenda. We took one day trip (musical instrument store and zoo), went to one gathering (New Year’s Eve – came home at 11pm) and that was pretty much it. I slept a lot, did a fair amount of yoga (but nothing crazy), and worked on some sort of project almost every day. Except the days I didn’t feel like it, in which case I read most of the day.

It was heavenly. The projects were things I’d been wanting to do for quite a while. Some were fun (spend my Christmas money on yoga DVDs and a 6′ square mat), and some were tedious (finish hanging smoke detectors). I actually did a fair bit of canning – I’d received a big box of grapefruit from a colleague, and I had a bunch of chicken and beef I wanted to turn into stock and beef tips. (Twenty-four quarts of stock/meat plus half a dozen jars of citrus – the pantry is groaning!)

I actually had goals for this stay-at-home break. Without some idea of what I want by the end of the break, I tend to fritter away time, become a couch potato, and I generally feel like a slug after four or five days. So, each day, I tried to:

  1. Rest – sleep enough, but don’t lay slugabed past 8:30 or 9.
  2. Feel tranquility and appreciation. Serenity is a presence, not just an absence of stress. I now live in a place that oozes tranquility from the earth, the trees, the very air. And I realized that I’d not been noticing that nearly so much now that it’s gotten colder and I’m in moderately high gear at work again. So: take time and notice the peacefulness each day.
  3. Go outside. I didn’t actually do so well on this one – several days, I was only outside to get wood from the garage.
  4. Do some slow, deliberate movement. Yoga or qigong fit that bill.
  5. Do some project work. This ended up not being the same amount each day, and some days I didn’t do much at all.
  6. Vigorous exercise 5 times over the break. This was things like running on the elliptical, taking long hikes, or more vigorous vinyasa yoga at the gym or home.

This worked really well, and it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. I went back to work on the 7th and found I not only had energy to do the work (and wow, it was a “hit the ground running” return to work…), I wasn’t fried by the end of the day. And that continued through the whole week. Now it’s Sunday, and I didn’t really feel like I *needed* the down time of the weekend. Which should mean I’m not depleting myself, and going to wind up in exactly the same spot a few weeks down the road.

I feel like I’m actively changing the shape of my life right now. I’ve had a fair few thoughts on this process…more on those later.



  1. alex said,

    January 13, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Emily – hi and happy new year. I ran across your blog by accident recently, Andy posted link to facebook, I think. Nice job. Content, presentation look awesome. Great to hear you’re well and were able to rejuvenate over break. cheers
    Alex (from cohousing long ago, now living in Montana)

    • Emily said,

      January 16, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Hey, Alex! What’s shaking in Montana?

  2. Jen said,

    January 16, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Wow, go you! Very inspiring. Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts about this — I’m working on it myself and would welcome another viewpoint.

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