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  • Writer's pictureJosh Wymore

1+1: From vacating to recreating + The Rest of God

Hey there! Here’s one leadership idea and one resource I’ve found beneficial this week:

A grapefruit sliced in half

1 idea: From vacating to recreating

Many of the CEOs I coach are struggling with burnout, and I can relate to them.

My first job out of undergrad was a 15-hour-a-week graduate assistantship that that I loved. I was determined to do the job the way it “ought to be done,” so instead of doing it in 15 hours a week, I invested 40. It was a lot for a full-time graduate student, especially since I wasn’t paid for those extra hours. As we approached Christmas break that first semester, I visualized myself lying on my belly crawling to the finish line. If the break came a week later, I wasn’t sure I’d make it.

The realization that I almost didn’t make it to the break raised some provocative questions in my mind:

  • How would my ways of working need to change if I knew there would be no breaks?

  • What if instead of living from vacation to vacation I simply tried living from week to week?

  • What would my daily or weekly rhythms need to look like for this to be sustainable for me?

These questions prompted a lightbulb moment for me that changed everything.

Up until that moment, my primary means of recovering from work was vacation. I’d turn off my email, leave town, or binge-watch Netflix. (This was back in the days when they shipped DVDs to your house.) In other words, I’d focus on not working. As the word “vacate” suggests, I would check out by turning my brain off and vegging. It sort of worked, but not really. I increasingly felt like an old battery that was slowly losing its ability to hold a recharge.

But what if I embraced recreation instead? Instead of merely vacating and avoiding draining things, what if I made space for activities that were lifegiving? Activities that re-created me—that added energy back into my life? For me, this meant activities like:

  • Hiking

  • Reading (for fun)

  • Writing (for fun)

  • Cooking (for friends)

  • Playing sports

  • Playing guitar

It honestly felt a bit silly to schedule time for old hobbies I’d set aside. With as busy as I am, can I really justify this? Aren’t I too old for this? I’m not very good at these things; is it really worth my time? But as I came to realize, these lifegiving activities were essential for me—not because of the output they produced, but because of what they did to me.

They brought back joy.

They reminded me that I was not just a machine that produced work.

They stretched me and taught me and made me smile.  

Ironically, I did end up “producing” some things from that season—a really bad rom-com movie script (no, you can’t read it), and a long-but-amusing silent movie that I wrote and starred in (nope, I’m not sharing that either).

But again, the point was not the work output, but the internal change. Because I fell back in love with writing, I kept at it. I tried to do it just for myself and simply because I loved it. Despite the fact that it was an effortful process—the opposite of vacating—every day that I wrote added gas back into my tank. And about 15 years later, that effort produced a book that I am proud of.

If you’re feeling burnout on the horizon—or even if you just feel more dull and joyless than you’d like to be—it might be time you considered some recreation.


  • In what ways are you vacating now?

  • What activities are most lifegiving to you?

  • What’s the smallest possible way you could reintroduce some of this recreation back into your life?

1 resource: The Rest of God

One of the books that majorly impacted my thinking about rest during that season was The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. As Buchanan demonstrates, we miss out on the “rest” of God when we ignore his “rest.” Written in beautiful, refreshing prose, Buchanan’s reflections on the beauty of re-creation will encourage you to delight in the world we’re given. 

You can find the book on Amazon or wherever books are sold.

Cover of James Clear's book Atomic Habits

Note: If you purchase a book via the link above, we may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you).


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