Year after year statistics show that workers in the U.S. take fewer and fewer vacation days, and women take even less time off than men. Often these are paid vacation days that employees aren’t using.
What’s up with that? As someone who lives and breathes travel, I can’t understand why anyone would not take advantage of time off. And wait until you hear the reasons people give. Number one? Fear you’ll be viewed as a “slacker” or maybe the boss will decide while you’re gone that your position isn’t so essential after all. Of course, no one wants to be laid off, but working yourself to the bone isn’t healthy either. Productivity actually decreases among workers who don’t take enough days off. We need vacations to feel rested and renewed.
Another reason people give for not taking time off is they don’t want to deal with all the work that piles up in their absence. I can relate to that. Whenever Peter and I take a trip, we have to work really hard before we leave and again when we get back. That’s not even counting keeping up with email while we’re away. But the truth is I don’t mind working more intensely at times if it means I can escape for a while.
Being in a new place helps me disconnect with the constant barrage of worries and responsibilities that go with my job. As owners of a business, Peter and I carry our work around with us 24-7. Getting away makes it easier to empty my mind of the work-related busy-ness that shadows me the rest of the time. Maybe when we are in different surroundings, our brains are too busy processing new stimuli to allow us to worry about work.
Another reason people don’t take time off is vacations cost money. Sure they do, but if getting away is a priority, you can budget and save and find ways to afford a trip every year. And you don’t have to go far. Virginia has tons of cool places to visit. For affordable accommodations, stay with friends or relatives, check out Airbnb, or try camping. If you don’t want to take a long trip, just extend your weekend by a day or two and go someplace nearby.
You’ve heard the expression—“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Get out of your rut and take some time off. Pick a place you’ve never been before and find renewal in new surroundings. Spend time in nature and reconnect with what’s real. Turn off your cell phone, close your eyes, and listen to the wind in the trees. You need a break, and you deserve it! What are you waiting for?