As my vacation is winding down I’m struck again by how restorative time away from work can be, and how much we all need these breaks.
The word vacation has the same roots as vacate (from Latin vacātiō – freedom, from vacāre – to be empty). Vacations – whether daily, weekly or annual are effective only if you really walk away from work. It’s particularly hard to disconnect from email, the internet and texting … but “needing” to stay connected electronically may keep you from connecting with your surroundings and your loved ones. If the idea of emails piling up adds to your stress, compromise by scanning, deleting (and not answering) your emails when you are on vacation.
There’s a tendency to think that vacations have to be a planned trip away for at least a week… but here’s another perspective from WebMD.com: “While it is ideal to have a full week or two off from work, it may not always be feasible, and there’s still the rest of the year to deal with. Weekend getaways are also good for rejuvenation. So is an hour to yourself during lunchtime or a few hours on weeknights.”
Plan a half-hour or hour (on days you can) to disconnect and “vacate” from your work in whatever way makes you happy.
Try to really have a full day off every week (call schedule permitting). There’s a reason most religions in the world build in a day away from work – it’s part of the rhythm of rest we need as human beings.
Plan a long weekend away (or even a day) by yourself or with loved ones every couple of months. Make it time free of electronics – go hiking, sit on a beach, stay at a great bed and breakfast, eat great food.
If you have vacation days you are storing up – start using them! And, when you take those days off work, don’t use them to “catch up” on chores or other tasks…take the time you need to recharge your batteries.