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How to Take a Vacation Day from Work

Updated on March 17, 2013

My Personal Day Off

I took a vacation day from work last week because I had hit the maximum hours of time I could accrue. Not two weeks, not three weeks, not even four weeks. I hit the maximum number of hours of vacation time I could accrue - 200 hours. That's right. Five weeks vacation. And I had to either take time off or lose it. How hard can that be? For a work-aholic, almost impossible. I turned to my co-worker and said I was taking a day off the next day, but I didn't know what to do. He laughed and said to give me my vacation days. He would know what to do with them. I went to my supervisor and told him I needed to take a day off due to hitting the maximum accrual and he told me to request it on the Intranet and he would approve it.

The above quote was taken from the Employee Handbook at my company, but I started to panic at the thought of not coming to work the next day. My home life can be stressful. There's a reason I'm not a stay-at-home mom. What would if I didn't go to the office? I go to work to relax. I work for a cookie company. There are a dozen flavors of freshly baked cookies waiting for me when I get to the break room. I figure out what I need to do that day and do it with virtually no one complaining (well, there are those days, but they're rare).

I went home and planned out my vacation day. This is something I never do, so it wasn't easy. Each person will have to customize their own plan depending on where they live and what is available to them. This was the plan:

Go to the Corner Cafe

Tea and Pastry

Go to your closest café or favorite restaurant. Get a nice bit cup or mug of tea or coffee and pastry or anything else you like for breakfast. Sit at your favorite table, or in my case, on one of the comfortable chairs or couches. Make yourself comfortable. Savor each moment of relaxation. Look out the window. Watch everyone else go by. Listen in on other people's conversations. Maybe even join in. Don't use your cell phone or any other electronic device. In fact turn off your phone and leave your electronic devices at home. If you're brave, don't tell anyone what you're doing or where you are.

Take a Walk Through the Neighborhood

Window Shop

Take a walk or ride a bike. If you live by a lake, take out the canoe. This is not for exercise. This if for taking it easy and being alive. Enjoy the scenery. Get some sun or walk in the rain. Do not have a goal in mind and don't rush. Just stroll. If you live in a commercial area, window shop if that is something you like. Maybe you might like to buy something for yourself for lunch. I'm going to buy some bread and cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and olive tapenade at the local market. I'm might even go a little crazy and get a 1/2 bottle of wine at the wine shop.

Have a Picnic in the Park

Walk over to the park or any favorite quiet spot in your neighborhood. Bring a blanket, find a shady spot and have lunch. I'm going to have a wine and cheese party by myself. All the nannies bring the kids to the park. I love watching them play in the park in the playground. There is also a dog section. Even though I'm not going to bring the dogs, I enjoy watching the dogs play together. If there are clouds in the sky, lie back and watch them change and make shapes.

Read at the Library

Or do some writing

I seem to never have time to read or work on the book I am trying to complete. Now's the time. Don't bring a book or electronic device. Just bring paper and pen. Look through the book shelves and just browse. Pick up a book and look through it. Possibly bring it to a table and read it. Think of something you want to write about that is light and won't create any negative feelings. Maybe even write about a conversation you overheard at the cafe this morning or something you observed in the park or your walk in the neighborhood.

Take a Nap with a Friend

Of course you can always catch up on my sleep. I don't really want to do this or suggest this, but I know I'm often exhausted from my hectic schedule. The couch might be too inviting and you might just be overcome with sleepiness.

This isn't me in the picture (I mean the one on the bottom). This is my dog and partner and I absolutely love this picture.

Here's the the truth. I did horribly. My son stayed home because he had an appointment that my partner forgot about. She had double booked appointments, so I had to take him. He is 15 years old, so all I heard was about "You don't understand me". I had lunch with my partner and son where he kept telling us how confused he was. I tried to sympathize and tell him it will get better. That made it worse. I texted my co-worker who tried to be as supportive as he could be. I went to the library after that to read and escape my son. I wind up reading a deposition that my partner gave for a lawsuit that we are involved in. I had made an appointment to see the doctor because I needed to get a refill on a prescription. I sat in traffic for longer than I liked. Back to the library for some writing. Then I went home to find 4 of my son's friends who were going to stay for dinner. I rushed out to buy dinner and make it. I was exhausted by the time I went to bed. I vowed never to take a day off of work again.

What Do You Think of My Plan? - What Can I Do Better?

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