Why time away is so important

That relaxing feeling that you get as you get off the plane and drop your clothing off at your hotel. Ready to take on the world as you start your much needed time away from work and your every day life. Little annoyances don’t seem to gather much attention from you today. There’s a sense of calm about you. Your interactions with people don’t feel forced and a bit more fluid. The slow pace of the people walking in front of you or maybe the receptionist taking his time with each patron, no worries at all. Why? You’re on a holiday of course!

We might not have the same experience when starting a vacation, but as you ease into your week or maybe even weekend, you start to feel different. Your stress level subsided just a tad. The only stress you might feel is making it from one attraction to the next on your fun filled time away.

2020 has been the definition of a shit show, but you have to get away. You have to remember the importance of taking time away from your daily routine to experience the world around you. Your body demands it and more importantly, your mind thrives on it!

When you take time away from work and your every day life, your stress level decreases. The constant stress of work (whether it’s a constant behavioral front that you need to have or maybe the pressure of making a certain deadline) puts your body on high alert. Sadly our bodies weren’t made for this type of stress.

In the past, our flight or fight response would begin in our mind when we saw some type of threat to our well being. It could be a bear in front of us as we are trying to walk through the forest. Maybe a large river that we have to cross to make it to our destination. The heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature increases. The muscles tense and our mind becomes sharpened to make decisions about survival. This sadly happens in our day to day life, but now it’s almost a constant. You feel this pressure consistently and our body wasn’t made for this. Our bodies aren’t made to be in constant pressure and it causes severe health issues.

Our coping mechanisms vary. We could grab a cigarette and take a rush of nicotine through the body or maybe a depressing sensation from alcohol. Maybe it’s sleep or exercise, which are much more positive solutions to the every day stress. My solution, take a holiday!

The studies have been so consistent with time away, that they have been substantially published. Overall well being for most people, improves as they consistently have some form of a vacation away from life. Even several days after a vacation, they have found that people feel a stronger sense of wellness. The people that travel more are found to have even higher rates of happiness than the people that don’t. Think of it as a tune up! When you get away and come back to your life, you are often more focused than before because you’ve added some clarity.

Can’t get away at the moment? Studies have even found that if you simply plan a trip somewhere, you can even feel the benefits of this! Maybe your trip isn’t for another year, but even minor planning of where you will go and what you will see, will still calm your stress level and get you thinking differently.

There is a reason that companies will often push you to take vacation. There are way too many studies that show that people that take these vacations, come back and are much more productive when they get back into their daily lives. The benefits for the company include: reduced health insurance costs, happier employees and more productivity.

There are too many people that don’t take vacation days in the United States and it’s one of the leading causes to burnout. That sad feeling of depression or overworked mentality often causes a lack of productivity. The series of excuses that people use for not taking vacation are as follows: I can’t, because I will have too much to do when I get back. I can’t because I don’t fully trust in my team getting the job done. I can’t, because it just might cost too much. All are great questions, but here is my rebuttal. Do you truly care about your relationships and health? You should ask what is important to you and what these excuses mean to your work life. First off there is no job that is worth your health. If a job is putting your work/life balance in jeopardy, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere. You also have to trust in your team when you are gone. If you can’t trust in them to get the work accomplished without you, maybe you aren’t training them to be strong, independent workers. Finally, if you think that you have to break the bank just to take some time away, you should look into some budget friendly trips that will barely cost you.

If you’re stuck like me and feel like 2020 has you held hostage, take mini vacations. Take a four day weekend and get out in nature. I might not be traveling the world and taking two week vacations to meet phenomenal people and experience foods I’ve never tasted, but I still get away and recharge the battery for a bit. Whether it’s a simple weekend camping in a park or taking a road trip for two days up the coast, it matters. I’ll even say that maybe it could be as simple as placing a tent in your back yard and making a promise to only be outside for the weekend!

If it doesn’t matter to you, you can do it for me. The next time I come into a restaurant and meet a waiter, I’d much rather meet with someone that has a great story about the hike he did this past weekend, than the one that pulled the double to get extra tips to carry him through. Take your vacation, because we would all rather get that glimmer of excitement from someone’s eyes that has a story to tell than the rolled over eyes of a person that’s burnt out on life!

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I've lived several places in the United States. Born in Michigan, lived several years of my life in Florida and currently in California. I was enticed with travel from an early age. I've traveled around most states in the US and have ventured across Europe. As my love of travel continues, my passion grows deeper with learning about new cultures and what makes them unique. Travel with me as I gather my thoughts on travel and experience the world through my lens.

2 thoughts on “Why time away is so important

  1. You always come through for me Chris. Just yesterday I was telling my sister how angry I was at Covid….being a traveler and an adventurer of the world I was feeling confined, annoyed and exhausted of the same four walls around me. Although my home is my sanctuary and I have certainly been kept busy with art, gardening, writing, research etc…..you are 100% correct…my anger started subsiding once my sister and I started talking about my mini vacation and visit with my dad out WA way….it was like this wash of normal life washed over me.
    You are a wise one …thank you.

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    1. I’m with you 100%. It gets us into a mild depression in a way. We were fortunate enough to get a camping trip up to Lassen national park a couple of months ago. It got me out of my funk quickly! Even if we can’t travel physically, we can always travel amazing places in our mind!

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