Vacations are not for the weak. In fact, they make you stronger. So why do so many of us avoid them?
It’s hard to believe that half of us don’t take all the vacation time we’re allotted. How is that? In fact, of those who forego vacation, most give up 70% of the time they’re allowed to take. Incredible.
We just got back from two weeks at the beach, something we save for and anticipate all year. It’s paradise. Now, I’m not talking about a four-star resort. It’s a wonderful place we’ve visited nearly every year for close to 30 years, a home away from home.
Our kids have grown from toddlers to teens, from solo to boyfriends and back. We’ve welcomed extended family and been there just the four of us.
The cool thing about our vacations is that we immediately slip into our individual daily beach routines of bike riding, reading, walking the beach at dawn, taking an outdoor shower and so on. It’s a total break from normal, and while I don’t claim to avoid checking email, I’ve gotten better over the years about limiting my time online.
In fact, that’s the point. If you’re calling in and emailing, you’re not on vacation. You’re just telecommuting. One of my colleagues returned from his beach vacation yesterday and asked if I still re-live the beach schedule in my mind.
No, I don’t. While our time at the beach is sacred, once we leave, we’re gone. Hopefully ready to take on the world back when we resume our normal routine. (By definition, vacation, after all, means a break from what you usually do. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a vacation.)
Apart from the logical reasons to vacation — mental health, a break in the action, time to gather your thoughts away from the daily routine — there is a physiological reason to pack up and leave town. The brain, it seems, needs to rest in order to work well. Someone who stays at the office because they’re afraid of losing their job or in a misguided effort to show how dedicated they are is actually less effective because they’re not giving their brain a rest.
It’s true: vacations actually make you a more valuable employee. Not that that’s the reason to take one.
Summer is still here. You have a few weeks left. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get away and you definitely shouldn’t stay home. Recession or not, a vacation can help you function better as soon as you return to normal.
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