Friday, June 9, 2017

Are You Too Busy to Take a Vacation?

A Facebook friend posted a short video clip of himself and his young daughter sharing where they would be vacationing with their family this summer. Then they asked Facebook friends to share where they would be vacationing this summer. At last count, there were1,300 views of the video, 90+ "likes" and 65 comments!

The comments were good to great and interesting until I read the comment, "What's a vacation? It's been so long, I've forgotten."

Really!? That comment made me sad.

We seem to lift up and honor "busyness" as sign of strength, a sign of endurance, a sign of competitiveness, a sign of "they" can't do without me, I'm indispensable.

When I read a comment like that, I begin to think this person is a workaholic and perhaps a micro-manager. I wonder what its like to work with or for this individual.

Taking a vacation is as essential as getting enough sleep every night, eating a balance diet, getting exercise, being relational with others and learning as part of one's continuous improvement. 

I fall into bad habits and ruts. It's the way I've always done it. It's working, don't mess with it. That's not me. Faster is better. And... "I don't have time for that!" Vacations challenge this thinking.

Here is what I know for sure about taking vacations:

Vacations improve my health and well being. It usually takes me two or three days to unwind, but stress subsides, heart rate slows down, sleep becomes longer and deeper! Studies show taking vacations actually increase longevity and quality of life! 

Vacations improve relationships including marriages, family members and work cohorts! I know I can stand to make better connections with those I love and care about.

Vacations inspire my creativity and jump start my productivity. Vacations remove me from my ruts and offer new vistas and stimulation for ideas. The world gets a little smaller when I travel and experience new cultures and meet new people. My ignorance takes a hit!

All of this only works if I leave work behind including the office laptop and office smartphone! I unplug from my work world.

Planning a vacation and creating anticipation of going someplace new is part of the vacation experience! I begin to imagine what it will be like to experience the unfamiliar. 

When I travel, one of the things I do to keep a vacation alive after I return is to take a small blank journal along to jot down notes, thoughts, experiences, sketches and rubbings of what I saw and did as well as the people I met. With a glue stick, I paste ticket stubs and maps I used into these journals. I leave blank spaces so I can print out photos and insert them. I reference these travel journals and relive the moments. I find looking at these journals to be healthy and stress-reducing. They spark creativity and bring joy! These journals inspire me to dream of our next vacation! I don't leave home without it!

"The ant is knowing and wise, but doesn't know enough to take a vacation."                                            - Clarence Day

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