Most of my life I’ve been blessed with excellent health. So when I ended up in the ER on New Year’s Day, it was a bit of a surprise. As was finding out I have an ulcer!

The good news is that I’ll be fine. But I know that things are rarely as simple as they appear. I am a firm believer that stress is the cause of most illness and I’m sure that is the case with my ulcer. My digestive system worked fine until I let my work/private life get out of balance.

It’s so easy to do, isn’t it? To check email or do a little work in the evenings or on the weekends.

I love that I truly enjoy my work, that it’s really not “work” to me. Remember the saying “It’s only work as long as you have to do it?” But even people who love their work must honor the need for oscillation – which is the ebb and flow of life.

This ebb and flow can be seen in nature – the cycle of day and night, the tide going in and out, as well as in our bodies with the waking/sleep cycle, our heart beating, resting, beating, resting, and our breath going in, out, in, out. In this 24/7 culture the pace is sped up, we can have “daylight” (thanks to electricity) all night if we want to. Not to mention that we can be constantly available by voice, email or text with cell phones.

But the price is high. Too high.

Over the years, I’ve gotten better at taking time off, relaxing and rejuvenating. Better at maintaining that boundary between work and play, downtime, rest, relaxation, social life.

But in 2009 I slipped. I moved from Colorado to North Carolina; I’m sure you know or can imagine the effort and energy involved in executing the hundreds of details required in the process of selling and buying homes and moving one’s home and business. And I also experienced for the first time the death of a parent when my dad died.

World renowned business consultant John Dudeck writes, “Studies show that revitalization plays a critical part in achievement. The average person can experience what’s called the revitalization effect. Every time we get totally away (and the key word is totally) from money-generating activities, the average person experiences 8 to 14 days of high clarity and achievement upon return.”

So a two day weekend that is free of any business, can give you a full work week or more of clarity and energy. A full week of true vacation (no work!), gives you two to three months of clarity, energy, productivity and creativity. Wow!

In 2009, I had months on end with no break.

So this month I’m blocking out my vacations for the whole year. If I don’t, it’s a lot harder to schedule them later.

Also, I am recommitting to revitalization days every weekend.

I invite you to do the same:

– Block out vacations now. One week per quarter is excellent. More is better, less if you have to. Just book them!

– Take at least one day a week that is totally free of business, including email. Two days is much better.

You’ll be amazed at how much better everything in your life goes – business, relationships, health. I’ve been successful at this in the past, and I’m looking forward to it again next year!

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