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Is vacation another thing that we have to sacrifice because of the pandemic? I really hope not.

I understand that travel is, at best, risky and for many destinations and activities, prohibited. I know that many people are out of work, struggling to get by, and those with jobs are worried. I know that these are difficult times and that the idea of vacation might seem untimely and out of touch. It might feel selfish, or like it is just not the right time to take off.

So, I ask again, along with everything else that it’s necessary to do without, is your vacation another thing? I not only hope not, I’m actually on the side of it: it should not. In spite of, or perhaps because of, all the other things that are going on, we need to take a break from work and recharge more than ever.

I know this because I just took a week off and I am surprised at how much better I am because of it. I expected a week away from work would have a positive effect. Though, I’m surprised at just how much better I feel. Even without a destination or lots of friends to share the good times with, it was so important to make that full break that formal vacation offers. Right now when the lines between work and home are so blurred, it helps to draw a hard line to help you step away. Turn off the devices and disconnect. I forgot how important and necessary that is until I did it.

Many things motivate us to do our best, and a crisis or challenging time like this certainly motivates, and has motivated us, for many months. I felt like my vacation gave me some of my joy back. Yes, most of the issues are the same as when I left, but I just feel more able to cope with it all.

Numerous studies have consistently shown the benefits of taking vacation for people – less stress, lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, etc. But they also show that vacation benefits companies too. People are more innovative, collegial, and productive when they take time to get away and recharge.

I’m not suggesting lavish trips that you can’t afford or doing anything that is in violation of rules or common-sense preventative measures. I just want to remind everyone that even if your ideal vacation isn’t available, embrace what is. Put yourself in a vacation state of mind.

What relaxes you now? Do that. Maybe it’s bingeing a great show or rereading a favorite novel. Maybe it’s video games or trampolining in the yard with or without kids. Whatever, if it relaxes you in the midst of this craziness, then do it. Schedule time off from work and that’s your vacation. Plan safe, local excursions. Think about what you like to do and find it near you. You might be surprised by what you find nearby and it can be a great way to support your local businesses.

The point is, take your vacation. Take a long weekend if that’s all you can get away for but please, give yourself a well-earned break and recharge. As much as we may feel we shouldn’t, or can’t, or don’t deserve it right now, we’re wrong. We need it. We aren’t helping our boss, coworkers, or our own job security by doing too much for too long and getting burnt out. That leads to mistakes and problems. We aren’t doing our friends, neighbors, or communities that need us to stay healthy and safe any favors by getting overworked and sick.

I scheduled my time off because I thought I knew how important it was. I did, but I underestimated it. That’s why I’m encouraging everyone to do your darndest to schedule some much-needed self-care; your vacation. I’m encouraging all my friends who manage teams, or run businesses, or care about their colleagues, to encourage and help each other take time off. In the long run, it’s better for everyone.

 

Want to share your vacation experience or thoughts on the topic? Post below or contact me.

 

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