Jon Stolpe Stretched

What's S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g me now?

Coming Back From Vacation

Getting back into the swing of things following nine days of vacation can be a real challenge.  I especially felt this Monday and Tuesday as I was playing catch up on e-mails, phone calls, and required meetings.  I feel like I have a lot to learn about how to transition from vacations and other breaks back into the routines of work and family activities.  There’s got to be a way to keep the refreshment alive.  There should be some ways to prevent post vacation burnout.

Some ideas come to mind:

1.  Schedule margins in your schedule to breath and to relax even if it’s just for 15 minutes.  This is challenging for me – especially at work where I am on call all the time for help in making decisions or for scheduling resources.  I have tried to make it a habit to step out of the office for a few minutes at lunch time.  This gives me a chance to get some fresh air, to touch base with my wife on her day, and to catch my breath before heading into the afternoon.

2.  Keep thoughts of vacation alive by talking about your vacation and sharing pictures.  I love to hear about the vacation adventures of my co-workers, and I like to share my stories as well.  I love what I do at my job most of the time, and I really appreciate when our personal interests and adventures intersect with work.

3.  Discard or put aside e-mails and other correspondence that are not important, are not urgent, and can be put off until later or not read at all.  I know this can be challenging as it requires a discerning filter, but it’s important.  In today’s information driven world, we have to relearn that it’s okay to miss out on some things.  We don’t need to know every piece of information out there.  What did we do before computers and the internet?

4.  Compose a “to-do-list” and use it to prioritize tasks that must be attended to with greater urgency.  A “to-do-list” can be helpful in documenting the things in our head.  It can minimize the feeling of stress that comes from not knowing where to start.

5.  Be intentional about continuing activities that provide refreshment and renewal.  Leanne and I have taken a few evening strolls through our small town since returning from vacation.  It may seem simple, but these walks have provided relaxation along with time together.

I wish I could say that we have it all figures out and that these five steps are easy to follow and an easy answer to overcoming post vacation burnout.  But I can’t say these things.  Life after vacation can be crazy – but I’m so glad we got away.

What tips do you have for transitioning from vacation back to everyday life?


August 18, 2011 - Posted by | experiences, family, life, stretch, thoughts, vacation


  1. One minute of Sabbath every hour. Stand up, stretch, breath a prayer.

    One hour of Sabbath every day. Can be in two or even three pieces, but not broken into shards. Time to cleanse mind and heart. Step out of routines and responsibilities. Personal devotions, phone call to spouse, getting outdoors can all be part of this.

    One day of Sabbath every week. This does not mean inert, but Saturday home chores (both necessary and often a good break from the work week) are not Sabbath. A special flavor of refreshment and renewal can come on Sunday (not easy for a pastor who preaches on Sunday, which is not Sabbath).

    One week of Sabbath every year. This is not the sightseeing vacation but a time to unwind and listen to God, to spouse, to children. A time without rigid schedule or things to accomplish. This can come in two or maybe three pieces, but each one needs at least an overnight or two.

    This formula is not original to me, but I have found it beneficial and have followed it with some degree of freedom for at least 20 years.

    Comment by Norman Stolpe | August 18, 2011 | Reply

    • Dad, I really appreciate your insight! We live in such a crazy place and time where people seem to be measured by how busy they are. Sabbath is a great idea! Thanks!

      Comment by jonstolpe | August 19, 2011 | Reply

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