Sunday, August 25, 2013

SPENDING THAT "SUMMER VACATION;" by L.D. Stearns; August 1913

The following article was published exactly one hundred years ago this month. Although the specifics aren't timeless, the overall inspiration and ideas are. How many of us would not benefit from a week like this? One of my very favorite articles and I hope that you enjoy it, too.

It's time to think once more about vacation. What? Not going to take one this year? Can't afford it? Times have been hard—you've had sickness these last months, and your pocketbook is about empty?

But you need it, friend. How about that?

There are long weeks and months ahead when you must work; when you must not only give of your best, but make that best an efficient best. And you can't do it if you're not up to par physically, for however much one may push one's self there's a point beyond which Nature cries “halt!” You're like a machine, friend,--finely adjusted, delicate of mechanism, capable of great things; but you must see that the machine is in working order if you expect to turn out work that is satisfactory both in quality and amount.

A year or two ago, my pocketbook was empty, too. I'd had sickness; had done almost no work for a full year; and I, also, said--”There'll be no vacation for me this year.” And then I looked into the weeks ahead, and I saw the work waiting to be accomplished. I felt the need of recuperation, as you feel it now, and I said,-- “But yes, I'll have my vacation; and I will plan it so that every minute shall be rest; and best of all it shall cost me nothing, or next to nothing.”

In my room there chanced to be a long, wide window seat. I spread a rug over it, and piled it with cushions. I resolutely put my work out of my sight and out of my mind. I dressed the room in a holiday dress. A new fruit dish, piled high with fruit; a few magazines; a book I'd been wanting to read; one or two new articles—inexpensive, but seeming to make the room new,--and my vacation had begun. At the end I had gained in weight, in strength and vigor, and was ready to take hold of work with a new power and delight. You don't need to take a long trip, or spend money for such a vacation, and you will find it well worth while. Try it for yourself and see.

Whether you live in one or two rooms, or in your own home,--whether you work in factory, store, office, or are a busy housekeeper with your family about you, it is all the same. Make it your week.

Put aside worries. Forget work. Just relax, and live only in the minute as it comes and goes. Change your diet completely. I ate nothing but fruit. It's a wonderful tonic. After the first day, you won't want anything else; and even if you do, it will do you worlds of good to go for the full week without a mouthful of cooked food. Eat a few nuts if you like, and they agree with you, and drink much water. Be absolute and regular about it. At least eight glasses a day is none too much, and ten is better. Have certain times for it, and don't neglect it. Don't put a single article on throughout the week that is not absolutely fresh; and above all, wear your very prettiest skirts and under-clothing. Don't neglect the daily bath, either cold or tepid as you prefer; and I find a small quantity of Epsom Salts in the water gives the skin a wonderfully fresh, active feeling. Invest in a new kimono. You can buy for 59 cents almost any time at a sale; but see to it that the colors are soft and restful, and such as you are especially fond of. There's an inspiration in clothes. Try it, and see. Somehow, the sun seems brighter when one is absolutely fresh and dainty from top to toe.

If you are in the country, and can, instead of the window seat, or the couch, fix up a place under the trees,--either a cot, or a couch, or a blanket with a pile of pillows,--and spend the days there. But whether you are in the city and country, indoors or out, live idly; dream; watch the sky; breathe deep, full breaths many times a day; eat slowly; and in a week's time you will feel a new creature, with none of the work and strain incident to getting ready for some journey you cannot afford. Your pocketbook will be scarcely a bit thinner, and you will have no bills staring you in the face as result of your “summer vacation.”


aprilsatelier said...

I am a great believer in "staycations", especially since they keep me close to my kitties, my books, and my sewing machine. I love the idea of special loungewear, like the kimono. It certainly dignifies the experience and gives it extra charm.

Wonderful article!

Kathy said...

I like "staycations," too.
Someone tried to tell me that people "back in the day" didn't experience "burn-out." This article certainly acknowledges that the benefits of a vacation were known a century ago.

Laurie Aaron Hird said...

Thanks so much for the comments. I didn't know that there was a name to describe the article. "Staycations," says it very well; I like that.
How funny that someone thought that people 100 years ago didn't experience "burn-out." From what I have read, they most certainly did.
Thanks again for writing and I hope that you enjoy my next vacation article.