Vacation. Vacay. Vacances. A magical word.
In three days, I will be on vacation. Every year, I take the last week of June and the first week of July off and head to a tiny island in Greece with limited wifi, more churches than people, and good Raki. There, I rest and prepare myself for the second half of the calendar year. I read. I think. I sleep. I swim. I watch the sunset. Sometimes I watch the sunrise. I eat Greek salads. I drink rosé. I nap. I do nothing. I work (some).
In 2017, Americans gave up 212 million days off in 2017 ($62.2 billion in lost benefits). This year, 39 million Americans won’t take a summer vacation. I get it, taking time off is not really how I am wired. I have learned, however, that vacation is necessary. It is part of health care, part of self-care. It is not an indulgence, but something that makes me better at my job (CNBC and USA Today).
“Isn’t it amazing how much stuff we get done the day before vacation?” (Zig Ziglar)
- Knowing I am about to be on vacation is a great motivator – almost like I am giving myself an ultimatum. This week I completed two projects that I have been procrastinating on (one of them for 3 months) because I didn’t want to have them weigh on me during my time off.
- Knowing I am about to be on summer vacation also has positive self-care consequences – I have been eating better (because bikini…) and got my second pedicure of the year because of my upcoming trip.
“A proper vacation does three things. It takes you away from the stresses and demands of your daily life; it gives your body time to heal and rejuvenate, and it invigorates your mind by returning you to your normal rhythm.” (Sage Wilcox)
- Sleeping. Being constantly sleep deprived, I have a rule to sleep 10 hours minimum every night while on vacation.
- Daydreaming. I actually let my mind wander, I create space and time in my brain for new thinking, new ideas, more creativity.
- Exercising. I swim every day in the clear, cold, salty sea, which is good for my body and my soul.
- Being. I try to disconnect and to not be constantly attached to my devices. This year, I will try harder.
The post-vacation benefits are real. If you don’t believe me, trust the experts: “We know that when people can rest, relax, recharge, there’s a ripple effect of benefits in terms of productivity, creativity, and collaboration when they return to work.” (Scott Dobroski, community expert at Glass Door), and studies show that vacation has proven benefits, including alleviating burnout and making employees more resilient and better able to cope with stress upon their return.
I will come back from Greece refreshed, reenergized, remotivated, more creative, and more productive, ready and excited for the rest of 2019.