About two months ago, my husband and I were sitting on the couch one night, both exhausted from our fuller than full schedules. I had been working seven days a week most weeks for almost four months and he was doing the same with school, striving to finish his degree before returning to work. In mentioning how mentally and physically drained I was feeling, he picked up his tablet and said, “I think we need a vacation. Let’s see where we can go.”
Immediately, I felt a number of things. First and foremost, I was excited at the prospect of getting away from my computer and doing something different. I love my clients and my jobs dearly, but I needed a moment to just decompress and get away.
My mind flitted to all of the destinations we could go—from someplace warm and tropical to even just a cabin nestled in the woods somewhere—which left me feeling more energetic than I had in ages. That is, until all of the questions started to creep in.
Did we have enough money? Sure, we had some cash stashed in savings, but should we really pull it out and use it? With a couple months before my husband’s graduation date and some larger upcoming expenses, would it be financially irresponsible to go away from home now?
Was there enough time to go? If we went, it would have to be in a couple weeks, when my husband was on break from school. Was that enough time to get my projects done and keep my customers happy in the meantime? Realistically, could I get away and still have clients when I return?
Question after question surfaced, each one giving me a number of reasons as to why we should put the vacation on hold and just stay put. And, apparently, I am not the only one who feels this way as a 2013 study found that 4 out of every 10 workers did not take all of their paid time off (what’s that?), leaving more than 3 days left untaken.
Well, fortunately we did decide to get up and go and it turned out to be one of the best things we ever did. So, if you are in need of a vacation but have a hundred reasons as to why you shouldn’t take it, here are seven reasons why you should:
According to The American Institute of Stress, 10 percent of all strokes are caused by work-related stress. Stress is also the leading cause of all other illnesses and diseases, accounting for 75 percent of all doctor’s visits and costing $300 billion per year in lost productivity and medical expenses. So, taking a vacation and decompressing can literally save your life, or at least keep you healthier so you can enjoy the one you’ve got.
As Albert Einstein once said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Therefore, new experiences can help you increase your knowledge base and make you better both professionally and personally. They give you something more to draw from as you can learn something from everything you do—especially if it is something new.
The human body requires down time in order to restore its energy levels. This is partially why sleep is so important. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute points out that it is during your slumber that your brain improves its function and your body repairs any issues, making you better mentally and physically. Time away from work can have the same positive effect, leaving you feeling more energetic upon your return.
More Positive Memories
When you’re older and retired, which do you want more memories of: your long days at work or your time spent with those you love? If you’re like most people, you answered the latter, which makes taking a vacation a great way to create positive memories that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
While it may seem like working more would allow you to get more done, taking breaks can actually increase your productivity. The 2013 study referenced earlier found that productivity is actually enhanced before you go and when you get back. That makes it a double bonus!
It is very easy to get caught up in work and home, which often leaves very little time for tending to the relationships that matter most (think spouse, kids, parents, grandparents, and siblings). Therefore, spending quality time with family experiencing new and different things is a great way to strengthen these relationships, making them more fulfilling for everyone involved.
There is nothing like stepping away from the same old work and the same old work space to help you gain greater clarity about what you want in life. It gives you time to realize what is working for you, as well as what is making your life feel incomplete. It also gives you time for those “aha!” moments to appear, helping you see which way you want your life to go, compelling you to make the appropriate changes if necessary.
So, what do you say? Are you ready to take that vacation? Go online and book something now. I’ve never heard anyone say, “Boy, I regret taking that vacation.” I’m sure you won’t either.