I’m just back from vacation and feeling good.  I worried a bit about stepping away from my business for a week. But if I don’t let myself do this, I’m missing out on one of the key benefits of this work style! I love the opportunity to set my own schedule, even if sometimes that’s more true in theory than in reality. I did it and for now I am well-rested, well-exercised, well-fed and well-tanned (in a bicyclist’s sort of way). I feel re-energized by my time off and ready to tackle the projects awaiting me.

My Adirondacks vacation included a bit of stress. Like the scary hour we spent cycling through an hour-long deluge on a narrow, pot-holed, and traffic-y mountain road. But we survived and it makes such a great story. Overall the vacation gave me relaxing down time. My  brain got  a break and my spirit had a chance to renew. The pressure to “do” and was off. It was a time to just “be.”

Lake George

Lake George, New York              Photo: nlseibel

Time off isn’t frivolous. It gives us what we need in order to keep going. Here are the top three reasons to take a vacation.   You’ll enjoy:

  1. Increased creativity
  2. Better physical and mental health
  3. Improved productivity

With all the plusses vacations offer, a 2013 Expedia.com survey showed that a growing number of us don’t use all of our vacation days. Eleven percent of the respondents felt they were too busy to take time off.  Among those that did take a vacation, 67% took work with them. I’ve been there and done that, even though I know that downtime is important. Here’s the top 3 reasons that Americans aren’t using their vacation time:

  1. Saving time for future trips (25%)
  2. Worrying about negative consequences in the workplace for being away (16%)
  3. Failure to plan ahead enough (15%)

A 2006 CareerBuilder.com survey found that 16% of workers feel guilty about missing work while on vacation, and 7%  fear that time off could lead to unemployment. We put so much emphasis on doing that we forget to value being. Vacations aren’t about achievement, they’re about letting ourselves step back from everyday pressures and remember what really matters in life.

A full week or two off is great. If that just doesn’t seem possible right now, schedule a few long weekends, perhaps one every 2-3 months. It’ll do you a world of good and give you the resilience and energy to handle the challenges of your busy life.


 

Could you use some help in giving yourself permission to take time off? Maybe it would help to find ways to set boundaries,identify priorities and carve out time for you. Get in touch, I’d be glad to assist!


 

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