- Quality of Life & Wellness»
- Personal Development
The Importance of taking a Vacation
What does Vacation mean to You?
It is the time of year when the word vacation is being bandied about at work, school and among friends and family. In the US, traditionally summer is the season for vacations to ensue! Partly because many school systems go from September-June and those months in between are ideal for busy families to find some time to get away together. It also is the time of year in much of the country and in the world, that the weather is favorable for traveling.
Since I was a little girl I looked forward to the months of June, July and August as freedom! Even a young person in school identifies with the need for a vacation or a break from their studies.
As we get older there can be a lot more reasons why we might forego a vacation and continue to work or study without a break. I want to share the reasons why this is not the best option.
One can argue there simply is no money for a vacation and I can't dissuade you from that if it is indeed your reality. In that case, we can look at the ever increasingly popular "Staycation" option that many people are taking.
It is less important what you do with the time you take away from work or school and more important that you simply take the break!
What Vacation can do for you
I've been retired from my 30 plus year Nursing career for a few years now. I have done some volunteer work, been in school a few times and generally have stayed almost as busy as a retiree as I did while working. One could argue that a retiree doesn't need a vacation, but I'm here to disagree!
I have found that no matter the hours or if I leave my house to do a "job", I still am doing similar things every day. There are chores that must be done every day and other activities of life that take place, even when one doesn't physically drive to a job and stay for 8 or more hours several days per week.
For instance, every single day I clean the cat's litter box, feed both pets twice daily, walk the dog four times, fix dinner, prepare produce, clean the house, take out the trash.........you get the idea! While none of these chores in themselves is anything to be proud of or overwhelmed by, there is still a pretty lengthy list of things that I do and feel that I must attend to every day.
When I make the conscious decision to take a "vacation" or a break, I'm taking a break from all of those little chores! It may only be a single day away, but it will be refreshing to have had a day where I let somebody else do the things I usually do in my place.
Likewise, one can take a stay-cation from their job but simply stay home and not travel elsewhere. They are getting a break from the grind of their daily job, and not spending any significant funds to be going away. But, just taking the break from the job can do a person a world of good. Perhaps you can use some of your time off for day trips to sites nearby that you don't normally have the time to enjoy. Maybe you can take in a matinee of a movie that you've been eager to see?
The options are actually endless in how one can spend time away from their routine; the point is in taking the time to get out of the routine and have some fun!
Get off the Treadmill
If one presses on in life without taking any time to simply be, it is very easy to become burned out and even depressed. I adore my pets, both the cat and the dog. Feeding them and tending to them is a pleasure! But, even the things we do out of love that are pleasurable can become burdens when we never give ourselves a break.
It can be so refreshing to go away for a day or more and when the time comes to return to those daily chores, they can now feel like fun! I actually love making dinner every night and doing yoga every day. But every now and then I will stand at the front of my Yoga matt and feel like I'd rather be anywhere doing just about anything else.
It's not that I suddenly have lost my zeal for Yoga! But, it is that doing the same things day after day can make us feel bored and tired and unenthused. I usually kind of force myself to go through the motions and do my Yoga workout even when I feel like I'd rather not. But, sometimes I am good at embracing the moment and recognizing that it might get me further to simply acknowledge that I'm not in the right "mood" or place in my head to have a very effective workout and perhaps do something else instead. On those occasions when I've given myself permission to not do the workout, when I've returned to it, it has been much more enjoyable.
Having taken the little break when I wanted it made it possible for me to return to it with renewed interest and vigor. I have a similar experience around dinner time. Most of the time I have a pretty clear vision of what I want to fix and get in the mood as I gather ingredients and get busy. But, there are those times when nothing in the kitchen looks worth eating and no ideas are coming into my head to get creative.
I like to keep a few "quick" healthy options on hand for just these times. It is refreshing to again, give oneself permission to not cook anything special and just have the quick option instead. On those occasions, it is usually only a day or two before I can return to the kitchen with a renewed desire to get creative and make something wonderful from scratch for my meal.
We all need a break from the day to day grind! Even if we are retired or if we are students! Even if we feel that we don't do anything special, we still need to take a break from whatever the routine it is that is ours.
When we allow ourselves these respites we will be rewarded with a feeling of being refreshed! We've all had those times in life when we've felt that we might not be able to go on one more day doing the same thing, be it a job, school or another daily burden. It's absolutely necessary to take time for yourself and carve out something meaningful as a break.
Let's look further at ways you too can have a vacation, even if it's only in your mind.
You Deserve a Break!
One of the first steps is in recognizing that you need and desire a break! The second step is in knowing that you deserve it. This sounds simple, but it could be the big stumbling block for many of you.
There are a lot of reasons why someone might not feel very deserving of a vacation or a break; perhaps they don't work for a salary, or have a skewed work ethic and don't feel comfortable unless they are being productive.
But, just as people often will not work on their "Sabbath" it is essential that you carve out some type of break for yourself in order to stay capable of dealing with day to day life and all of the challenges entailed therein.
Many years ago I was fairly new to a job and there were other Nurses who had many more years seniority than I did. What this meant was that if I chose to take any kind of vacation, I would not get my first or second choices, but what was left over after the most senior people had their choice. I was told by one of the most senior nurses "Don't even bother asking for a vacation, cause I get what I want and you have no seniority". I actually listened to this nurse and didn't try to take a vacation. I suffered through probably two full years of work without taking any significant time off.
At some point I realized that it was foolish to work like this and that I needed the time off; my children certainly deserved to have their Mother take some time off to spend with them and so, this was the last time I worked without a break during the year!
There are many reasons why a person will work without taking a break; sometimes it's financial and other times it's the way that person has come to live. Thinking that work is the most and only important thing and that to take a vacation or a break is of no use, or even that it is taking away from their job.
I propose that no matter how important your job is, even if you are a top Neurosurgeon or head of an important corporation; you must take time off! You won't remain at the top of your game and it is essential for your wellbeing and that of those you oversee that you are refreshed regularly. And it's especially important for your family and friends to know that you value time spent with them and make it a priority!
Whether you stay at home, travel the world, or just drive an hour to visit an old friend or family member, take a few vacations during the year. You will be glad that you did; your family will be happy for it and the world will not come to an end. Rather, the world will likely be a happier place for you because you chose to take a little break!