I graduated college in 2008 and moved from cow town Davis to “the big city” San Francisco to pursue my dreams. My career took a jump-start and from then on it was go-go-go all the time. My business blossomed and I LOVED every second. I found that my work allowed me to experience what psychologists describe as “Flow”. “Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.” It’s a beautiful thing to find a career that allows me to feel so present and alive. However 5 years later I realized that it been a while since I took time off… 5 years in fact.
I know I’m not alone. Maybe you too experience flow in your work. Or you have sick time accrued but feel guilty taking time off. Or you just cant find time between the kids, laundry, and activities to plan a getaway. Whatever it is, we all have crazy schedules and could use a little extra support in taking time OFF. In fact unplugging from the fast pace of our day-to-day may be just what the doctor ordered. Here’s why:
Relieve stress. Of course the #1 benefit of leaving everything behind and relieving your brain of all your worries is reduced stress. Countless studies have shown a direct link between stress and health conditions such as headaches, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other types of infections acquired as a result of a weaker immune system. It has also been scientifically shown that taking vacations reduces the incidence of burnout. Relief from stress often gives us a new perspective on life, allows us to regain energy, and often allows us to find simple and sometimes obvious solutions to problems that had previously seemed impossible to solve.
Regain your fitness. Have you ever been surprised to come home from a vacation in better shape than when you left? Thats because without the stress of the nine to five grind our bodies have enough time and freedom to repair themselves. It’s easier for our system to fight sickness when we’re on holidays because it’s not working so hard trying to fend off all the other environmental obstacles that come between us and our health goals. It’s a widely accepted truth that chronic disorders, such as back pain, migraines and sore throats, also disappear when we’re on a break. Vacations also allow us ample opportunities to exercise because we walk greater distances, swim, chase the kids around and play sports. Just standing upright instead of sitting down at a desk all day help you look and feel fitter. This regular movement throughout the day boosts your circulation, fitness, energy levels, and provides you with that post vacation healthy glow.
Feel inspired. Most of the year, we live on a schedule. We eat at the same restaurants, see the same people, and experience the same environment. This monotony reduces the opportunities for inspiration and for new ways of thinking. By traveling to a foreign environment, we put ourselves in an uncomfortable situation, and allow our brains to think differently. Visiting places that move you and doing things that you’re passionate about are an instant fast-track to idea heaven. Stagnant surroundings make for a bored and dull you, so get your juices flowing by getting out of your daily routine and going on a trip.
Revamp your relationships. I don’t have any fancy studies to back this one up, it’s just common sense. A real vacation is the ideal time to reconnect and revitalize relationships that have taken a toll from an on-call, always-on, and work-obsessed culture. A vacation is a great opportunity to build bonds with each other in a different setting and to create lasting memories.
Improve your mental skills . Some studies have found a positive relationship between vacations and intellectual function. Cant argue that one! A well-rested mind that is free of worry is often more effective.
Enjoy life. If you do the same thing day in and day out, at the end of your life you haven’t experienced much. Taking time off can be a great opportunity to fill your life with rich, new experiences. It could be a healing retreat where you can rest and turn inward, or a strenuous physical challenge to blast away the worries of the world, or a busy schedule of guided tours, classes, and social interaction. Which type of vacation will reset your life-balance button and heal your tension-tattered psyche? There’s only one way to find out. Take a trip and fill your life full of enjoyable experiences.
Don’t feel like you have time for a vacation? MAKE TIME. The secret sauce to all of this is planning ahead and creating time for rest. Alternating periods of activity and rest is necessary to survive, let alone thrive. It has come to my realization that if we don’t plan ahead to take time off it will never happen. We have to actively work to experience our lives or we might never live them. I am now realizing that taking time to live will only inspire your work, and you must enjoy all the days of your life not simply work through them. Don’t put off enjoyment of YOUR life. As the years go by, are you doing the fun things you always said you’d do one day? Ask yourself: If not now, when?
With that said I am now off to a week-long vacation in Turks and Caicos. I promise to bring back lots of stories of my adventures and a healthy post vacation glow. I hope to hear stories of all of your travels as well… till then, Im OUT!
Other Things To Check Out This Week: