I just got back from a much needed vacation and it wasn’t just any ‘ol vacation either. I took a full month with my family and recharged in Croatia.
It was much needed and I don’t regret a single dollar spent or a single missed day of work.
I was with my family. I didn’t have my kids spend their summer bored and under someone else’s care while mom and dad worked and I am a much happier, productive mom and entrepreneur because of it.
I look around me and I hear it all the time… “ I never take vacation” or “ I don’t have time for vacation” … as if it is some badge of honour people wear. And while I don’t propose we all take 1 month vacations (go ahead if you can and want to!), we should all take a day, a weekend or a week to recharge our batteries and connect with those we love. We will be better for it. Here’s why:
1. Your office is not a place of inspiration. Generally it just isn’t. Day in, day out at a desk or in an office doesn’t really stimulate the mind. Diverse cultures, interesting new surroundings and scenery (like my amazing view from my balcony in Zadar, Croatia below) prompt great ideas.
2. Time off is medicine.
Your stress and anxiety levels are lower – not just because you are not working but because you are away from your usual day to day grind and responsibilities – at least for a brief moment. You get to disconnect and turn off panic mode just for a bit.
In a study at State University of New York at Oswego, 12000 men between 35 and 37 were surveyed. Men who went on vacation regularly reduce their overall risk of death by 20% (Source; Home and Garden)
3. You get some much needed sleep. Better sleep equals more energy.
4. You can get some much needed sunlight. We all know that too much sun is bad for you but did you know that too little sunlight is bad for you too. Sunlight is a natural way to reduce stress. Natural sunlight provides much needed Vitamin D, is essential for absorption of Calcium, boosts serotonin and staves off depression. A day at the beach (within reason and with the right protection, of course) can do wonders for your mental and physical health.
5. It can be a perfect time to reconnect with your family. I am with my family whenever I can but it is just not the same when you are in the midst of your daily grind – driving to school, doing homework etc. It’s when you are away from the every day chaos that you have a chance to get to know each other again, learn what makes them tick, see what makes them smile. Those moments of silliness this summer when we were away from computers and phones were priceless.
6. You get to know you. When was the last time you had a moment to yourself – not worrying about the next meeting, what you were going to cook, who was going to go to the bank, when you were going to go grocery shopping, clean the furnace, call the insurance guy… etc.. … you get my drift? When was the last time you emptied your mind and focused on you. A break in your routine away from it all may be just what you need to let go, find out what makes you tick and discover yourself, where you are and where you want to go. You can’t do that when you have a million things on the go.
To be more productive, to unleash your creativity and to rejuvenate, I suggest everyone takes a break every so often. It does not need to be a full out vacation.
Take a break mid-week. A “mental health day”, perhaps. A day off – just to clear your mind and rejuvenate.
Plan long weekend getaways by yourself or with your loved ones. Changing your surroundings can make a huge difference.
If you don’t go away, treat your weekend like an actual break. Do what you love. Turn off your phone and computer – read a book, get a massage, or have some “play time” where you actually have some fun with family and friends without work interruptions.
If you are employer, know that time off for your employees can make your employees much more productive and happier. It can reduce the number of sick days and poor decision making. Too much accrued vacation time is a red flag for burnout.
My vacation this summer was a different kind of vacation. We returned to our roots, we visited family, my husband and I went back to where we were married and began our lives together. I rediscovered the beauty, the people, the food, and the amazing culture in one of my favourite countries in the world… Croatia. Most of all… we took a break. We lived. We enjoyed. We realized that we should be working to live and not living to work.
I can’t wait for my next vacation!
Don’t forget to book yours.
To your success and outrageous goals,