Isn’t it time for an intermission from your normal, daily life?

Family vacations were a high point for me growing up. It was a time to explore and learn about the world around us. We didn’t have a lot of money and that required a bit of creativity. We consider ourselves lucky that our parents took the time for breaks in their schedule to spend time with us.

A simple definition of ‘vacation’ is when someone is away from home, school or work, in order to relax or travel.

I like to think of it as an intermission from your normal, daily life.

Many of us have a tendency to push ourselves too much and ignore the chronic stress that comes with that constant drive to achieve something. In the U.S. we tend to take “time off” for granted and treat it as a type of luxury. It’s not. We all need a break.

Expedia did a study called Vacation Deprivation and found that a vacation for most can just be “a remote office away from the office.” People are still engaging with work, taking calls, and checking email regularly (guilty!). And a lot of paid vacation goes unused for various reasons.

We’ve all had a conversation about work-life balance and its relevance. But are you actually doing something to create that needed healthy balance?

After our recent family vacation before school started, it was a great reminder that taking a break — a vacation — is healthy and a key part of stress reduction. Here are 7 reasons why it’s important to schedule vacation on a regular basis:

  1. Helps you be more productive. We seem to have a productivity obsession in America. What does being productive actually mean? It’s the ability to generate, create or enhance some type of goods or services. Vacation deprivation can increase your mistakes at work and quality needs to be taken into consideration. It shouldn’t be just about volume of output.
  2. Strengthens motivation. Think of motivation as a battery that needs to be kept charged. There will be times in our life when we aren’t motivated because the battery runs low. And when you’re motivation is strengthened with a re-charge, you are more likely to achieve your goals.
  3. Makes you appreciate what you have. A vacation gets you out of your personal bubble and comfort zone. It’s a reminder to live in the moment when you can and to make the most of each day. If you get a chance to travel, you will see how different others live and that gives you a different perspective.
  4. Gives your brain a boost to allow for more creativity. Creativity can be increased through new experiences. Those experiences affect your senses through new smells, sounds and sights. This broadens your mind — increases flexibility to new ideas — to better understand tasks at hand and help with problem solving.
  5. Reinforces leadership skills. The act of busy-ness is something many like wear as a badge of honor. It’s okay to step away from the pressures of your daily environment, especially if in a leadership role. Taking a break will help you focus and that will lead to better decisions.
  6. Allows you to focus on healthier habits. Our bodies aren’t made to constantly consume energy; that will lead to exhaustion and be prone to illness. Chronic stress can lead to bad habits such as poor eating, less exercise, and less sleep. We need to restore our energy and regular down time is needed for that to be effective.
  7. Improves your relationships. A well-deserved break is needed to reconnect with family and friends. Spending time with others and creating memories is important. We are more connected and refreshed after a vacation, ready to take on the challenges that await each of us afterward.

At a young age my father instilled in me the importance of exploring and to put myself in different surroundings that allows me to view the world through a different set of eyes. My husband and I both understand this, which has a positive effect on our marriage.

Vacation doesn’t have to be some exotic location either. You can explore your city or stay at home and escape by reading a great book. Use your imagination.

I hope this persuades you to plan a break and use those vacation days!

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