There’s no denying that life is busy. Regardless of your status, your title, or your lifestyle, I don’t doubt you are busy. I’d also bet you’d love a vacation right now. If you’re anything like me I feel like I do not have time to vacation. As much as I would like a vacation, I have so many other things that demand my time and attention. Often before I know it another month has passed and I’ve made no plans for my next vacation. When I don’t take breaks, I find myself feeling stressed over small things, having minimal energy and even feeling anxious. I certainly could do better at making time for a vacation. If you’re like me, read on to find out what I discovered when I looked into how many people struggle with making time for a vacation.
Who Wouldn’t Take A Vacation? That’s Crazy!
For many of us, we are just trying to balance our day to day lives. To you that might mean work, children, kids activities, rushing home to make dinner, errands and the list just goes on. For me it’s running a small business, moving, taking care of family and my marriage and countless other things. By the time the weekend rolls around I end up using that time to catch up on chores (more work) and leftover work items. Basically a whole lot of work and no play. Not taking a vacation doesn’t seem so crazy when you think about all the things you need to do.
What Are The Effects On One Who Does Not Vacation?
A recent article in Psychology Today discussed research that suggested chronic stress takes its toll on our bodies. It affects our ability to resist infection, maintain vital functions and our ability to avoid injury. When you’re stressed out and tired, you are more likely to become ill. Your arteries take a beating and you’re more likely to have an accident. Your sleep will suffer, you won’t digest your food as well, and even the genetic material in the cells of your body may start to become altered in a bad way. Mentally, not only do you become more irritable, depressed, and anxious, but your memory will become worse and you’ll make poorer decisions. You’ll also be less fun to be with, causing you to become more isolated, lonely, and depressed. Well, that sounds like a whole lot of awful stuff right there. All of these things are why making time for a vacation is so important!
Does This All Sound Familiar?
Taking a vacation has the potential of breaking the cycle of stress. It does so by allowing you to disconnect from the everyday routine to spend time with family and friends. In the end, you will actually be more productive at your job, have a better bond with your family, and improve your physical and mental health. A recent Gallup study preformed by the Allina Health Care Group shows that women who took vacations were more satisfied with their marriages and said the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning the vacation. A person can feel the effects up to eight weeks before the trip and the health and relational benefits can last long after the trip is over.
What Can You Do?
The thought of making time for a vacation and planning it all out may sound stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. How about a staycation? Here are a few ideas that you can do spontaneously with your spouse, family, or friends that take little to no planning.
- Be a tourist in your own city. Taking a break from rushing from one point to another allows you to take in the sights that you rush by everyday.
- Visit a state park. These forgotten treasures allow you to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life (and people) to relax and have a romantic picnic, relax or take a walk at a well maintained beach or lake, or tour of local historic attractions.
- Go camping. Maybe the idea of sleeping in a tent sounds even more stressful but hear me out. Many local state parks offer cabins that can be rented for much cheaper than a hotel room. They often offer nearly the same amenities. An added bonus is you can get away from the TV, computer, technology. This allows you to really unplug and spend time connecting with your family or friends.
- Want to be more adventurous and feel like you’ve really got away? Visit another city in your own state. Many websites such as: Skyscanner and Groupon offer cheap last minute flights for less than $100.00 to local cities in your area.
If You Absolutely Cannot Make Time For a Vacation Right Now, Then What?
Set aside some intentional time to regroup and recharge. Date night, spa day, whatever you can swing. However, I challenge you to try out some of the tips above if you are struggling with making time for a vacation. Some of those choices making getting away from your daily life easy! If you find that making time for a vacation and yourself is a constant struggle, there may be something deeper going on. I would encourage you to reach out to the therapists at Family Therapy Associates. They are trained to help individuals like you and me find coping skills and realize we are worthy of investing the time in ourselves.
I know I’m going to do better at making time for a vacation, starting now. What are some trips you’ve been wanting to take?