I dare you to relax.

No, really, just sit back and truly relax.

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To share, I just returned from a week in Aruba with my wonderful family.  Life is good on that One Happy Island.

However, I was taking this vacation when I did NOT have a true 'break' from life.  My graduate courses went on without me, and I had to continue my part-time job (for which I work online remotely) from abroad.  So, along with my bathing suits and flip-flops, I also packed textbooks, my laptop, and an outline to become a full-fledged paper.  Let the fun begin!

But really, it did.  Although it was tough at times, I was able to separate work-time from vacation-time.  When I was upstairs at my computer, I was working, I was writing, I was corresponding for work and school.  When I was outside, I was relaxing, I was reading, I was listening to music, I was going for a dip in the water.  I did occasionally slip in some reading for classes, but alternated with reading for fun.

My sister and I packed a small library of BOOKs.

Some serious, some funny, some can't-put-it-down, some casual beach reads... all accounting for much poolside entertainment and thought.

After a day in the sun, we'd retire upstairs to shower and unwind (after our tough, tough day of lounging) before dinner.  During that time, I'd squeeze in some work, get things done, so that during dinner I could free my mind and engage with my grandparents, parents, and sister.  (And, of course, to enjoy the food. Check back Wednesday for more on the food.)

We also slipped in some time to stay active.  Not as much as we could have, but hey, we were on vacation!  The first two or three days, I spent a bit of time in the dingy little gym (running on the treadmill, lifting some weights), and one day I went to the 30-minutes "Abs and Stretching" class the resort provided.  It was all alright, but the gym itself was tiny and depressing.  I found myself wanting to sleep in a little more, spend less time cramped on the treadmill, and spend more of my vacation doing what I wanted.  So, I stopped going to the gym.

My sister and I found other exercise on the tennis court.  We didn't play long, but we were certainly moving!  Doing our best to keep our rallies going.

We also did a little walking on the beach.  Had a nice walk on the sand, against the strong Arubian wind!

Picked up some neat shells along the way.  I'm always looking...

Even though I was not on an official, sanctioned vacation, it was nice to get away from the cold and rain for a while, to spend time with my family and indulge in island eats, to soak in the sun and enjoy a good book, to play bingo and look at iguanas...

There's always time to relax, and there's also reason to.  There's never so much to do that you can't set aside work and to-do lists for just five, ten, thirty minutes to focus on YOU.  Do whatever you find relaxing and enjoyable: read a book for pleasure, take a nice warm bath, meditate, close your eyes and listen to music, take the time to enjoy an activity that puts you in your happy place (baking? painting? playing a sport? assembling puzzles? reading my blog?).  

There's always time for you, and you'll be way more productive in your work/life/business activities when you've had the chance to be energized and relaxed. 

How do you like to relax?  Unwind after a long day?  Do you take breaks in the middle? 

So, relax!  I dare you.

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