You Need A Vacation(No Really, You Do.)
Lessons Learned This Holiday Season from A [Reformed] Vacation Skeptic
Still searching for that perfect New Year’s Resolution, you can actually stick to and enjoy doing in the process? Well, I’ve got a winner for you: Take a vacation. Seriously, it’s time to use those vacation days you’ve been racking up, pack a bag and get away. You (and everyone else in your life – including your boss) will be glad you did. Here’s are a handful of reasons that “stay-cation” isn’t going to cut it in 2019.
Debunking the Stay-cation Myth
Travel is romanticized, there’s no doubt about that. The excessive number of destination Instagram posts that show up on your daily feed alone is enough to keep you rolling your eyes at the thought of swapping your responsibilities for a margarita on the beach. Those cheesy travel commercials don’t help, either. It’s easy to rationalize not going on vacation—especially when you finally get a few days off—but from one *very recently reformed* vacation skeptic to another, here’s why you actually need one.
At the end of the day planning (and executing) a trip takes time, money, effort – three things you probably don’t feel like giving when you are at the end of your rope. That familiar voice of logic in your head sings a familiar song: “Just stay here… take a STAYcation! It will be so much more relaxing…and free!” So, you do.
When you roll into work on the first day back you immediately resent all of your relaxed, rejuvenated, tan coworkers who were “completely offline” on their days off – because you were very much online. We are creatures of habit when we remain in our natural habitat we inevitably stick to the usual routine… which more often than not includes doing work despite being off the clock.
As a native New Yorker, living & working in a city that a lot of people choose to travel to know first-hand how easy it is to convince yourself a stay-cation is essentially just as effective as a vacation. You plan to be a tourist in your own city and “take advantage of all things this town has to offer” and you know as well as I do – that’s just not going to happen. The truth is, to escape from our deeply conditioned daily routines (fav coffee shop, emails, cleaning, groceries, yoga, Netflix & chill… errands and responsibilities) you have to fly the coop – preferably to somewhere with dodgy cell reception. No one ever returns from vacation and says, “Wow, I really regret taking time off and getting away.” Because when we strip away the learned social constructs attached to taking a break and let go of the Ego-driven measurement of self-worth by our capacity to do, we are left with the simple truth that getting away ~to just be~ is self-care. Travel is literally food for the soul. And ironically, jumping off the runaway train of endless productivity and doing, provides a much-needed dose of perspective, allows us to reconnect with our authentic selves (as beings), and re-energizes us, so we return as a happier more productive version of ourselves.
It’s safe to say I had more than a few mini-epiphanies when I finally gave in to taking a vacation this Holiday Season – So without further adieu – Here ’s just a few of the fundamental benefits of travel that qualify your vacation as an investment in yourself rather than an expense.
1. A Break from the Routine
Routines are our way of organizing our lives, they are important, but they are not sustainable. The routines we create to be more efficient, productive (happy) beings help us make sense of—and simplify—our busy daily lives. But when repeated for too long without rest, our healthy workflow can quickly take a turn towards the robotic, rendering us out of touch with ourselves and our needs. Imagine a car running on an empty tank of gas … except your body can still “operate” … Just because it can, doesn't mean it should (or necessarily wants to).
2. A Whole Lotta New
Waking up to a new view, a new culture, in new surroundings brings out a new side of yourself! When we interact with someone new we are able to see ourselves in a fresh light – This can be a powerful reminder of who you are and the energy you radiate.
3. The Power of Positivity
Happiness is infectious… And the hospitality industry is happy by nature! When consistently met with a smiling face your disposition follows suit. Your energy impacts the next person you meet—And the cycle of positivity goes On and on…
4. Return to Nature
Being in Nature reminds us how small we are in the universe – and can put some of those projects at work in perspective. More Nature = Less Stress.
5. Go Offline & Recharge
Being constantly “online” and attuned to our external (social) environment causes our systems anxiety and puts us out of touch with our internal environment. Turning off the screens & because there’s “No Service” eliminates the fear of missing something or someone attempting to reach us. Recharge your own batteries before you recharge your devices. When we are filled up emotionally, mentally & physically we are able to be more productive at work, more generous with our time, and more understanding of others!
6. Gratitude + A New Normal
No matter how wonderful and relaxing your trip may be, travel is exhausting by nature. There’s nothing like a long travel day (and really any time spent in an airport) to make us appreciate being home again. Come back with a renewed sense of gratitude & appreciation for your daily routine.
7. Remember…Change is good
Switching up our environment changes the elements we are exposed to, which strengthens our systems. Too much of one thing is never good—like that mundane daily routine—traveling allows for a system reset of the skin, hair, nails… Even the digestive system! Just the fact that it’s different is good for you J
Choose a vacation that feels right to you – go with your gut. If you haven’t taken a break in a while, pick a trip that will replenish your spirit rather than drain you.
(Hint: Maybe trekking isn’t the adventure you need right now)
Trust me, this New Year’s Resolution is going to make 2019 your Best. Year. Yet.
Grace McLoughlin, 2019