It’s July and everybody should either be taking—or planning—a vacation, for many different reasons.
There’s an old adage: “If you don’t take time for yourself—someone else will.” Don’t let them. We need to develop a habit, as I featured in an earlier blog, of making time for ourselves. That includes both daily “Me Time” and vacations.
And, since I know you’re wondering, I have transformed my wish of walking daily for 30 minutes into a habit. I haven’t missed a day since Memorial Weekend. It’s wonderful “Me Time.”
Taking Vacation Time
Did you know 50 percent of Americans don’t take a vacation? Yet 73 percent get paid vacation time. Too many love wearing that “I’m too busy,” badge, as if it’s an honor. (It’s not.)
There’s a host of reasons why people skip vacations. Some are fear-based. They fear work WON’T get done when they’re gone. Others fear work WILL get done while they’re gone—and they’ll be downsized out of a job.
According to The Job Network https://www.thejobnetwork.com/the-impact-of-50-of-american-workers-not-taking-vacation-time/
“Statistics show people who don’t take time off for themselves tend to be unhappy and prone to negative thinking.” Who needs that? We don’t.
Healthcare providers agree. Allina Health lists seven reasons to take time off and go on vacation: https://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/thrive/importance-of-taking-a-vacation
Improved Health Stress can contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure.
Improved Mental Health “Neuroscientists have found that chronic exposure to stress can alter your brain structure and bring on anxiety and depression.” Time away relieves that stress.
Greater Well Being One study revealed that in just three days of vacation, people reported fewer physical complaints, better sleep, and mood. These benefits continued for FIVE WEEKS after vacation.
Increased Mental Motivation Chronic stress without time off can cause problems for memory and cognitive thinking. “Taking time off can be like getting a tune-up for the brain, improving your mental health and cognition.”
Improved family relationships Enjoying life with loved ones can strengthen relationships. In fact, “a study by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services found that women who took vacations were more satisfied with their marriages.” Wow.
Increased Burnout (I stress this all the time!) Taking vacations and time for yourself keeps you energized, more creative and more productive.
Boosted Happiness Even planning a vacation can raise your mood for eight weeks prior to vacation.
Finally, if you think you’re too busy to take a vacation of find some time away. You have options.
Hire people to help you do things. Mine your values and delegate tasks. Hire out when:
You don’t like to do it
Don’t know how to do it
Don’t have the time to do it
If you’re still too busy, find a peer partner—friend or professional—to help you. As a coach, I do this for my clients regularly.
Improve your life with daily time away and vacations. You’ll reduce stress and heart disease risk. You’ll also improve your outlook and be better motivated to reach your goals.
Enjoy your time away. You’ve earned it.