#PTonICE Daily Show – Thursday, August 10th, 2023 – Reconceptualizing vacation

In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, ICE CEO Jeff Moore challenges the common belief that vacations and time off are necessary to decrease stress levels. He argues that the expectations around time off may not align with reality, often leading to discontentment. Jeff suggests reconceptualizing the idea of time off and vacations to have better trajectories and lower stress levels.

Jeff then discusses what creates low stress levels and a healthy ecosystem. He addresses the issue of returning from vacations to a chronically disorganized routine. Jeff explains that when our day-to-day lives lack discipline and organization, we often find ourselves in a cycle of feeling like we need a vacation, being disappointed by its inability to meet our expectations, and feeling worse off as a result. Jeff emphasizes the importance of taking ownership of our day-to-day routines and reorganizing them to break free from this cycle.

Take a listen to the podcast episode or read the full transcription below.

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Alright team, what is up? Welcome to the PT on ICE Daily Show. Welcome to Leadership Thursday. I am Dr. Jeff Moore, currently serving as the CEO of Ice. Thrilled to have you here live via Instagram or YouTube. Thrilled to have you on the recording if that’s the way you’re taking in the show. It is Gut Check Thursday. Let’s get right down to business. What is the workout that all of the Ice Train folks are going to be taking on this week? It is as follows. 35, 25, 15, 5. So we have 4 rounds descending in volume. They are going to be double dumbbell push press but not real heavy, 35 and 20. And then ab mat sit ups are going to be paired with that. Okay, so you’ve got your 35 dumbbell push press drop down. You get your 35 ab mat sit ups. In between each round, you’re going to run 200 meters and the rounds are going to be 35, 25, 15, 5. Okay so you should be able to keep a pretty high intensity up because the volume on those rounds are dropping. Make sure you get a snippet of that. Put it on Instagram. Let us know what’s up. Hashtag Ice Train. We love seeing everybody throwing down on those Gut Check Thursday workouts. Real quick, courses coming up. I want to highlight cervical spine. If you want to be out there solving neck pain, radiculopathy, headaches, all the things that come with that upper quarter region, get to this class. We’ve got 3 options coming up. August 26, 7. It’s going to be at Onward Charlotte. September 9, 10. It’s going to be at Onward Atlanta. In October 14, 15. Going to be at Onward Greenville. So going to be in North Carolina, going to be in Georgia, going to be in South Carolina. So belt there and hit that course. Learn those skills. Serve those patients well. Okay, welcome back to Leadership Thursday.


We are going to have a conversation about why I think we’ve gotten vacations wrong. And I want to talk a little bit about the origin of this episode. So the other day I posted on Instagram some of the best advice I’ve ever received. It was from a friend. It was many, many years ago. And he said to me, if you play between the ages of 25 and 35, you will work hard for the rest of your life. If you work hard between the ages of 25 and 35, you will play for the rest of your life. And as I’ve watched now coming up on wrapping up the second decade of my career, I’ve seen a lot of people finish off their careers, seen a lot of people start them, myself going through my own. A lot of observation and the amount of truth embedded in that quote has been nothing short of shocking. When you get in the right lane early, and you get to you get with the right people early, you wind up doing what you love and excelling at it. And of course, just like investing, the earlier you do that, the more it compounds. And it really creates a scenario where the back two thirds of your career not only are more of what you love, but really decompress the stress. On the other hand, if you kind of get yourself into a financial hole and you’re not in the right lane, and you’re nearing the halfway point of your career, it really becomes a tough thing to dig out of. And it just sets you up for a bit more of a grind on the back end. Now we could have a whole episode about that quote alone, but that quote got a lot of feedback. And anytime you talk about working hard, you tend to get a lot of DMs and messages about the need for people to avoid burnout. And specifically that people need vacations and time off to decrease their stress levels.


That’s what I want to zone in on because I think that our expectations around time off are really, really aired, if you will. And the problem with your expectations not being aligned with reality is that discontent is the inevitable result of that. So let’s see if we can’t reconceptualize this a bit and wind up with better trajectories. So think about what creates low stress levels. So if we’re going to talk about stress levels, what creates low stress levels? What creates a healthy ecosystem? The answer is the following. Now we could put nine bullets here, but let’s go with the really, really big rocks. That when you have them dialed in, your stress levels tend to be low, your nervous system tends to be really under wraps, you tend to feel really dialed. Probably the biggest one we’d all agree on is sleep quality. The consistency of it we know is the primary driver. But the other small things, having it cold in the room, having it dark when you’re eating food, not having those late meals, sleep consistency is probably, or sleep quality, driven primarily by consistency, is one of the biggest drivers to day to day having low stress, having more energy. Number two is a regular fitness routine. You’re getting to the gym at the same time that you’re engaging in quality fitness. Number three is nutrition, that you’re eating a quality, clean, well-balanced diet. Sufficient in protein, void, hopefully, of a lot of nonsense and processed foods, that you’re eating quality nutrition. When you’re doing these things that we preach about all the time, your ecosystem tends to be optimal, your stress levels tend to be low, you tend to feel your best when those variables are dialed in. Now think about how those variables fare when you’re on vacation. And I think we would all agree the answer is poorly. You’re sleeping in a totally foreign environment, your consistency of your sleep is all over the map, you’re trying to get some fitness in but it’s random, it’s not nearly as structured as usual, and your nutrition, let’s be honest, leaves a lot to be desired. It’s usually very fun food, you’re usually trying a lot of new things, but you tend to be eating late at night, it affects your sleep quality, all of the primary metrics that create that really well-defined healthy, low-stress human are significantly disrupted, specifically when you’re on vacation. Now does this mean, right, and I think it’s worth saying that if that’s not the case, if those things, if your sleep quality, your gym routine, your nutrition, if those things are better when you’re on vacation, your day-to-day routine needs a serious second look. So if you don’t have those things dialed in better on your day-to-day and your usual environment compared to when you are out in some random state or country where you’ve got no control of the other variables, if you do better on those things out there, you need a serious look at your level of discipline and organization on your day-to-day life. But I think for the vast majority, as we would agree, those things are pretty dialed when we’re at home and they are very erratic when we’re on vacation. Now does this mean that we shouldn’t take vacations? And the answer to that is of course not, right? A lot of the coolest memories in your life, right? The things that you’re going to do that you’re going to look back on and say, gosh, that was crazy or do you remember that? And the stories that fill your life, a lot of those things are going to be formed when you’re on vacation. Your perspective will expand, right? You’re going to be in new environments. You’re going to be seeing new people. You’re going to be looking at things differently because you’re outside of your usual routine. Your relationships with those that you go on will often deepen, whether it’s your partner or your family or your friends, right? You rarely spend that kind of concentrated time and it creates incredible opportunity for those relationships to deepen. All of these incredible things are going to happen when you’re on vacation. What will not happen though is usually that your stress level will drop because the things that drive that are generally disrupted. So then what’s the secret sauce?


The secret sauce is developing a routine that allows you to look forward to, but never need a vacation. That’s the most important thing, right? You can’t wait to do it. It’s going to be a blast. You know those memories are going to be formed, but you don’t need it because your routine day to day is so dialed that you feel outstanding, even under the presence of high workload because you’ve dialed in those metrics. So developing a routine that allows you to look forward to it, but not be desperate for it, not require it. And number two enables you to bounce back upon your return because if you do vacations right, a lot of that stuff is probably disrupted and you’re probably coming home, hopefully thinking the classic quote, I can’t wait to get back into my routine. That is a very healthy thing to be thinking, right? Like, hey, we went out there, we collected incredible memories, we got new perspective, we deepened relationships, we did all of the enriching things that vacation can bring. But now I’m pumped to get back into my dialed in routine because that’s what’s going to drop back down my stress level. That’s what’s going to allow me to perform optimally. So hopefully you’re coming back to a routine that’s dialed that not only did you not even need the vacation in the first place, you’re bouncing back in two to three days, as opposed to having that post vacation hangover for weeks on end where you can’t get your act together, which only increases your stress, which makes you need to step away again. And now you’re in this vicious cycle of trying to survive when you’re there and always wanting to be gone. The exact opposite should be true. You should love when you’re gone and be taking a ton from that, but you should be strengthening while you’re home to be able to enable that. Not weakening while you’re home, hoping that it can do something that it can’t when you step away. That’s the challenge. The bottom line is people need more disciplined lives to decrease their stress levels. And people need vacations to enrich their existence. Unfortunately, a lack of discipline in our day to day lives requires a need and a desire for vacations chronically and a hope that they can do something that they usually won’t. Simply because the organization of them doesn’t tend to organize our nervous system. It tends to disrupt it, which in the right amount, when you’ve already got it balanced, is an amazing stimulus to get you to think differently, to get you to freshen up, if you will.


But if you are coming back to a routine that’s chronically disorganized, you’re going to be in that vicious cycle of, I feel like I need a vacation. The vacation didn’t do what I wanted it to do. Now I’m a little bit worse off. And we go back and forth and back and forth. And there’s really no getting out of that wheel until we reorganize and take ownership of what we’re doing on the day to day. Then we can enjoy the vacations and be strengthened by our routine. So just want to put that out there because so often people are saying that people need vacations to decrease stress. I think we can live in a way that we don’t need that at all. And yet we do get great things from those breaks and can certainly take them as opportunity allows. Hope that makes some sense. Had some great conversations this week. Feel free to continue those in the comments. Everybody have a wonderful Thursday. Thanks for being here on Leadership Thursday.