Give Yourself a Break!
You know the meme, “Have a life you don’t need a vacation from…” yeah, right. Get real. Unless you are a Hilton—that’s hawwwt—and have a life that is a vacation; chances are, you need a break.
At any given moment the typical adult is multitasking with deadlines, project and staff meetings, dishes in the sink, laundry, kids’ schedules, etc., in sync with the internal soundtrack ‘Under Pressure.’
Daily life is full of stress and taking a break from it is good for you. Studies prove it.
Too many people believe the myth that a five-minute mental mini vacation is as good as the real thing. If it were true, the TSA would have figured out a way to screen it. So, we know better.
Real Vacations are Best
- Psychological Benefits.
Clinical psychologist Deborah Mulhern shares the problems that occur when our brains don’t get enough time to relax, “… the neural connections that produce feelings of calm and peacefulness become weaker, making it actually more difficult to shift into less-stressed modes.”
When people don’t destress, they are unable to relax, have increased anger responses, and have trouble with focus and concentration.
Taking restful vacations actually increase the brain’s ability to focus and be more productive on a daily basis.
- Physical Benefits.
Regular rest and relaxation provided by vacation time is a benefit to blood-flow and heart health, also reducing the risk of stroke. It also helps people sleep better and improves their immune system.
When the brain feels under constant stress, it triggers the fight-or-flight response and creates large amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol.
That cortisol blocks the body’s natural immunities against illness, weakening resistance to cold and flu viruses.
Reasons and Solutions
Even with all the evidence of the benefits, people still hesitate to take regular vacations. Below are the most common “reasons.”
- Taking a vacation results in repercussions at work.
The boss doesn’t take vacation and creates an environment of pressure for employees to follow suit. Unfortunately, that culture exists in some places. A few things you can do to counter this attitude are:
- Plan well in advance to avoid the excuse that project deadlines will be missed.
- Communicate with your boss at regular intervals as vacation time nears.
- Create an easy to follow plan for trusted colleagues handling your workload while you’re away.
These things demonstrate your value and awareness of the company’s needs without sacrificing your own.
- It’s impossible to unplug from the job, even when on vacation.
- Set up your out of office including contact information for the colleague filling in for you.
- Identify in advance what is considered a true ‘emergency’ at work and have a plan of contact in the event one arises. Otherwise, be incommunicado.
- Send a competent proxy to meetings that are scheduled while you’re away.
- Taking a vacation will result in a mountain of work when you return.
If you’re someone who gets a hundred or more emails a day, the thought of inbox volume awaiting your return can trigger enormous anxiety.
- Leave your out-of-office messaging on but modify it to indicate you are addressing the communications in a time-sensitive manner; then go offline and read emails sorted by subject, sender and date.
Note: Having others handling your workload works both ways, so be happily prepared to return the favor for your coworkers.
- Vacations are too expensive.
They don’t have to be. As with any new venture, take it a step at a time.
- Try a staycation, first. Check out local attractions and events during a three-day weekend. Go to a street fair and have your phone set to Do Not Disturb.
- Consider going to a nearby resort, bed and breakfast, or vacation house/condo rental during their off season.
- Plan ahead for the general date that you want to take your vacation, then watch for last-minute deals when they’re trying to sell bookings that are still available.
- Go on a picnic – maybe even in your backyard or on your balcony.
Now is the time for you to reconnect with yourself. Real rest and recreation cannot be replaced with five minutes of fantasy.
What is your idea of an attainable vacation? Share your thoughts in the comments.