“Vacations brighten a man. They tend to make his work more

attractive to him and to make him more attractive to his work.”

~ Harry Van Demark

Cranky, impatient, exhausted and a mistake magnet are just a few of the words used to describe someone who is in dire need of a vacation.  Have you ever waited too long before taking time off?  I have!  Actually, this is something that happened very recently for me.  Before my time off in June, I was all of the things mentioned above — cranky, impatient, exhausted and making silly mistakes.  In addition, everything seemed to bother me, no matter how insignificant it was.  I knew it was time to take a vacation, but…    

Why do we wait?  There are lots of different reasons…  It’s really busy at work is a popular reason.  Another is that if you work for someone else, you may only get a few weeks of vacation.  So, you may be very conservative when it comes to using your time off because you think you may need it later in the year (and what often happens is  you end up not using your time off at all!).  Some people feel if they’re out of the office, they’ll miss out on some great opportunities.  And, others don’t know what to do with their time off, so they just keep working. 

Having a solid work ethic is admirable; however, there are many benefits to taking time off.  For example, vacation can be a wonderful attitude adjuster.  By not being immersed in your day-to-day life, it is much easier to step back to see what is actually happening and how you may want to live your life differently.  Switching up your routine (especially if you add more things you love to do) can help to clear your mind, reduce your stress and improve your perspective.

Many people feel they have to spend lots of money when they go on vacation.  Traveling to new or favorite places I’ve been to before can be fun, exciting and rejuvenating.  And, a trip isn’t necessary in order to have a great time off. Are there things you can do close to home that are fun, exciting and rejuvenating?  Perhaps there’s a new restaurant you’ve been meaning to go to or a hike you’ve wanted to do for years.  Maybe there’s a book you’ve wanted to read and just haven’t had the time to.  Or possibly there are friends you keep saying “let’s get together”, but it just doesn’t happen. Or maybe you would really enjoy getting up late, reading the news with a piping hot cup of coffee or tea on the back porch without having to answer to a schedule.  Ahhh…that sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

There’s one more thing I want to share with you about taking time off.  By taking time off you are taking good care of yourself, which, believe it or not, can help you to be more productive AFTER you return from vacation!  Before vacation, we often are spinning our wheels, jumping from one thing to another as well as spending lots of time cleaning up mistakes because as people in need of time off, we often cause more mistakes (e.g., a mistake magnet).  Once we return from a vacation (after the initial period you may need to get “restarted”), we often are more focused, relaxed and raring to go forward! 

Is it time for some time off?  Get it on your calendar today!  Your body will thank you.  Your family will most likely thank you.  And, your professional associates (e.g., boss, co-workers, employees, clients) will definitely thank you!

Helen Kosinski
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