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In my last post, “The Blessing of Urgency”, I wrote about the unexpected benefits that can arise out of our difficult times.  One of these benefits – or blessings – is the need to think creatively and find new ways to succeed and cope.  Along these lines, I’d like to suggest that you make “mini-vacations” a priority in your life.

Mini-vacations are essential during a crisis, because crises can go on for long periods of time.  Day-after-day struggles take so much out of us that we need some relief.  In the past, we may have been able to afford extended or more exotic vacations.  We may have been able to indulge ourselves, but that’s not often the case now.

What I mean by “mini-vacations” are times when you can take a break.  It may not be an elaborate break, maybe not for a week, or even a day, but for a few hours.  It means time set aside to do something that’s distracting, enjoyable, and refreshing.  Whatever you choose to do, you can better appreciate it in the moment by seeing and evaluating what you’re doing in a new way you never would have before.

These days, I believe, more people are appreciating and embracing the value of simple things.  Rest and rejuvenation – good old-fashioned R & R – doesn’t have to be expensive.  Thinking creatively has helped me modify my favorite pastimes so that I can enjoy them in ways that are less costly and allow me to get back to work more quickly.

I ride my horse every chance I get.  Being on a horse for any amount of time, even an hour or less, gives me a big feeling of relief.  I also really enjoy driving my car, even if it’s just into town and back.  I used to participate in expensive sports car racing and cutting horse competitions, but I can’t do that for now.  I love to work out, but I don’t go to the expensive spas I’ve enjoyed in the past.  I can’t always exercise as long as I’d like, either, because I’m working longer hours.  What I do in all these areas is much more downscaled, but I cherish every minute in a way that I didn’t before these difficult times began.  When I go out to eat, it won’t be at an expensive restaurant but I’ll appreciate it as much as a fancy, wonderful meal.  I’m just grateful to be able to spend time with my wife at a quick lunch between working hours, or at dinner out on Friday evening after a long week.

So, one of the blessings of urgency is the greater appreciation we can feel for those special, sweet, relieving moments.  The crisis is still there, the stresses haven’t gone away, but mini-vacations can renew our energy and help us come out from under all the pressure for awhile.  They help clear our minds and restore our perspective.  I hope, when the times comes that I can return to more expensive, traditional vacations, that I won’t lose the appreciation I’ve come to feel in the wonderful everyday moments – the “mini-vacations” – I’ve found for myself today.