Have you ever wondered how you can bring vacation home with you? My family and I spent ten fabulous days at the beach last summer. After months of pushing ourselves with work and school, we approached our vacation enthusiastically. We were ready to play hard. For this particular beach trip, I chose to leave all my devices at home. Yes, even my phone. Gasp! By doing so, I disconnected entirely from the outside world. I experienced freedom from any distractions involving email, text, and social media. For those ten days, I immersed myself in the relationships surrounding me. I gave myself fully to the five faces that matter most to me. It was glorious!
To be honest, I had to readjust a bit. I noticed a natural tendency within me to reach for my phone any time we wanted to research local attractions or restaurants. How dependent had I become on such a small device! Yet, within the first twenty four hours, my heart soared as I embraced being present in the moment. My family laughed. We played. I soaked in memories we created together. I rested from the demands of life and nourished my soul in God’s presence and with my sweet family.
As we returned home, our hectic schedules resumed immediately. I found myself grasping for any resemblance of vacation in hopes of getting those days to last just a bit longer.
Vacations come and go too quickly, don’t they?!
Regardless, I asked myself: In what ways could I bring vacation home with us? As I explored this question, I recognized what I loved most about our vacation. I then identified how I could incorporate these elements into our rhythm at home. If we want to bring vacation home with us, we must be intentional about creating space to discover new ways to laugh, relax, and rest together throughout the year.
How To Bring Vacation Home With You
To discover how to bring vacation home with you, you need to think through the key ingredients that make your vacations unforgettable. Take a moment to consider your favorite trips from the past.
Why are these trips special to you? What did you do? Who were you with? What special memories come alive and conjure up happy emotions?
Now that I’ve got you thinking in terms of vacation, answer the following questions to see how you can bring the concept of vacation home with you and make it a regular rhythm in your schedule throughout the year.
Let’s take a look at these questions.
IN WHAT WAYS DID YOU FIND REST?
Did you enjoy days marked with no agenda whatsoever? Were you able to sleep in (or at least let your kids wake you) rather than an alarm clock? Did you appreciate a day or two without having to abide by the clock (thus allowing yourself a mental break)?
A few times on vacation, we ate dinner as late as 9 p.m., and we laughed about it. Then, we played games with the kids well into the evening. We had no care in the world. Not only did we experience physical rest, but we gave ourselves permission to live outside a demanding schedule, thus resulting in mental rest as well.
Explore what “restful” means to you and snag a day with your family where you have no agenda at all.
IN WHAT WAYS DID YOU LAUGH AND HAVE FUN TOGETHER?
Did you play games together without keeping track of time? Did you have a dance party, swap silly jokes, or watch a funny movie? Laughing together over a shared experience is a great way to relieve stress and connect hearts.
To recreate this at home, schedule a time to do something fun together on a regular basis. Designate a specific day and time each week as “Family Time” where you order pizza and do a fun activity together. Take turns allowing each family member to choose what the activity will be. Make it a No Device Zone during this allotted time so that everyone can be fully engaged.
WHAT NEW ADVENTURES DID YOU EMBARK ON?
Did you enjoy exploring a new attraction on your last vacation? Perhaps, you created your own excursion off the beaten path. You can keep your family’s adventurous spirit alive even after vacation ends.
Plan to go off exploring as a family often. See what exciting ventures await you locally or within a few hours’ drive from home. Make a bucket list with contributions from every family member and knock items off your list throughout the year.
DID YOU LIVE FULLY IN THE MOMENT WITH NO DISTRACTIONS?
Nowadays, we are consumed with the need to be constantly available to everyone. The concern of missing an important message or being out of the loop overwhelms us. Not only do our fingertips stay busy but our minds are occupied as well.
Is anyone else guilty of giving a half-hearted answer to your child when your mind is preoccupied with that text message you need to send?
Yet, when we make the intentional choice to put away our devices and be fully engaged in the moment, we experience a new release on what matters most. It’s making a conscious decision that everything else can wait until later.
In saying all this, I urge you to try something new: spend quality time as as family with no devices in the room. When you return home from work in the evenings, silence your devices and leave them in your bedroom. Engage in meaningful conversation as you cook dinner with a child by your side. When you assist with homework and are waiting for your child to finish solving a problem, pray quietly over him. Play a board game or read books together with zero interruptions.
Be Fully Present.
To be honest, I forget to put my phone away many days. I need to get better at this but my kids always remind me of this goal. As soon as they tell me I’m on my phone too much, I throw it (literally, onto a soft surface like the couch in dramatic fashion) to show them how serious I am about who matters most to me.
Being Intentional With Our Time
I’m not always perfect at keeping a healthy balance. I’m still working on implementing these elements on a consistent basis. Yet, every day I strive to be intentional with the time I have with my family. Because the truth is, we have one opportunity to raise our children. Regardless of how we spend our time, the years are going by quickly. My goal is to live life with no regrets and to raise world changers in the process. How about you?
In order for us to have a positive influence on our children, we must connect with them first. Let’s live beyond the daily grind and find ways to create space where we can grow, laugh, explore, and rest together.
If you are struggling with carving out uninterrupted, quality time as a family, take a moment to talk it out together. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can readjust your schedule so that each day is enjoyable.
As you think about your past vacations and even prepare for future ones, I encourage you to consider how you can incorporate the elements you love about vacation into the regular routine of your home. Life is lived in the every day moments. Let’s be intentional about how we share our time together as a family.
Your family is a gift from God, and I pray you will enjoy one another every day just as much as you do during vacations.