Whether walking the beach or working, be fully present on your working vacation

While I love exploring the country, there’s a lot to be said for staying in one place.

Yesterday we left the beach house that we’ve been fortunate to visit for the past 20+ years. It’s become a touchstone for our lives, like children’s height notches on a closet door.

It’s tempting to work all the time and our culture rewards workaholics, but this week I wanted to truly unwind with my family. To “Connect Deep.”

And yet, I had a bit of work to do.

This is the push-pull of modern life. Many of us take “working vacations” and come away not feeling we got much of either done.

Finding balance

I want to share how I managed to both unwind and connect with my family, and also get my work done. What I learned could help you on your next vacation or your next weekend—or tomorrow night after you come home from your workplace.

My technique is called “being present.”

Ghost crabs remind me to stay present to my surroundingsFor example, when I sat on the beach and found my thoughts straying to my new book (read the news here) I practiced noticing that I was not fully present to the world around me. I then mindfully brought my attention to my surroundings.

First, I noticed the funny ghost crabs scuttling from hole to hole in the sand, their eyes perched above their bodies like flower stamens. I tuned into gull cries and the rhythm of the waves. Being present is a technique we learn in meditation and yoga, for those of you who also have these practices.

On the other hand, when I was at work in the beach house, I would occasionally daydream about how great it would be out on the shore instead of inside. When I caught myself at this, I again mindfully came back to my work with a reminder that the sooner I finished the sooner I’d be on the beach.

How about your weekends?


How many times do we spend our weekends thinking about work? Too many. If you’re going to think about your work instead of decompressing from the work week, you might as well pitch a tent there and kiss your life goodbye.

Sure, there are times when you have crushing deadlines and surprises. If this is a way of life instead of its exception, please seek a balancing technique that will give you a sense of joy each day.