Disconnecting to Connect


There I was, packing for our first big vacation in ten years. Like most people, my husband Chris and I find it difficult to take time off. And taking off more than a week? Impossible.

We were finally going to Italy. A place that had been on my bucket list forever.

As I sifted through the jeans and t-shirts, I said to Chris, “I’m trying to decide about bringing my laptop.”

The look on his face said volumes. Then a long pause. Followed by a sigh.

In measured words, very quietly, Chris said, “You have not had a real vacation from your computer for three years.”

Quickly defensive, I said, “That’s not true.”

Chris proceeded to rattle off the projects that I had completed on our last several “vacations.” They included writing my book, practicing my TED talk, and working on my weekly blog.

I stopped in the middle of the closet. Busted. I hadn’t even seen it.

I flashed back to our most recent vacation, which happened a few days after my TED talk had gone live. I remembered with a heavy heart Chris standing by the hotel room door, sunscreen and ball cap in hand, ready to hit the beach. And then my reaction.

“Just a few more minutes, honey. I want to thank some more people for sharing the link to my TED talk.” Reluctantly, he had sat back down and began reading his book.

Ouch. Don’t you hate it when your spouse (or mother, or boss) is right?

It turns out I’m not alone. 40 percent of people who receive paid vacation do not use all their time, according to a recent Boston Globe article. Half of those people said it was because they were “too busy” at work to take their vacation days.

So, I mustered up my courage and decided to go totally offline during our entire trip.

No cell phone. No laptop. No emails.

Just lots of gelato. And walks on cobblestone streets. And pizza like it was meant to taste.

Guess what happened?

I learned an important lesson:

Sometimes you need to disconnect to connect.

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When we don’t really step away and recharge, we’re just pretending.

It took some planning, for sure. (I’ll be sharing that with you in a future post.)

But the important thing is, I wanted to come clean.

To let you know that I don’t always practice what I preach. And sometimes I don’t even know I’m cheating. Cheating on my health, my husband, my patients.

People who take more vacation have higher performance reviews at work, I recently read in a CNBC article that suggested the best way to get a raise was to take a vacation.

We don’t always know when it’s time for time off.

When we don’t really step away and recharge, we’re just pretending.

Mostly to ourselves. Don’t let that happen to you.

Share with me in the comments below what you’ve been lying about. Maybe it’s a promise to yourself that you’ll take more time off. Or take better care of yourself. Or spend more time with your family. Connecting and sharing with each other can only make us better, on so many levels.

Here’s to more gelato!



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3 thoughts on “Disconnecting to Connect

  1. antonio

    I did the same but I went from Italy to the United States . I came back home yesterday . In fact I have a very busy life and going on vacation for me it’s like a miracle . Tomorrow I start working, I know …it will be a tough day!

    1. Starla Fitch, M.D. Post author

      Good for you, Antonio, that you took time for vacation and that you took time to disconnect! Hope your visit to the United States was as magical as mine was to Italy. Your country is beautiful, my friend. Grateful to connect with you.

  2. Pingback: The Secret Method to Digital Detoxing - Starla Fitch MD

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