Healthy Vacations and Recreation

It is better to do nothing than to waste time.  Viktoras Kulvinskas

Refreshed by a vacation of our own, we’re picking up where we left off in May on Beyond Health’s 2017 Journey to Optimal Health. This Journey is an invitation to learn new ways of thinking about your health and then to take specific steps towards becoming healthier, with support from us at Beyond Health along your way.

You may have begun the Journey with us back in January, but if not, it’s easy to join in at any time, and beneficial at any age or in any physical condition.

In Never Be Sick Again, Raymond Francis, our founder and president, presented the idea of a health continuum, from death on one end to perfect health on the other.  No matter where you are now on the continuum, whether you’re suffering from a severe disability or feeling OK but aware you could be feeling even better, you have the potential to move either way on the continuum depending on the choices you make every day.

The Journey is about making those choices, both big and small, that move us towards the “perfect health” side of the continuum.

One such choice, and our theme for the month of July involves rest and recreation. This includes vacations, sleep, and activity done for enjoyment and relaxation, all of which serve to revitalize and renew us . . . to, in a very real way, re-create us.

Americans are a nation of doers and achievers. We tend to discount rest as being idle and “doing nothing.” As a result, it’s easy for us to ignore important cues from our bodies telling us we need a breather. While pushing through fatigue may feed a sense of feeling powerful and in control, it’s actually not very smart.

Chronically pushing past natural limits means: (1) becoming less effective in doing the task at hand; (2) accumulating repair deficits (our bodies make repairs in our down time), which ultimately leads to premature aging and illness; and (3) resorting to various escapes, diversions, distractions, and addictions to try to reduce the resultant stress. These waste time, energy and resources.

Action Step:  Get up and walk around a little, feeling your body—your breath, weight, movement.  Then sit down with eyes closed and ask your body what it wants right now.  You may be surprised.  It could want more movement; it could want a nap, a hug, a glass of water, or just to sit for a few minutes doing nothing.  Within the limits of practicality, give your body what it wants.

Repeat this periodically throughout the day for the next few days so you become more conversant with your body and its needs and preferences.


  1. Francis R. Never Be Sick Again (Deerfield Beach, Florida: Health Communications, Inc., 2002), p. 54.
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