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Do You Need a Vacation?

Back view of summer vacationers relaxing looking across water to mountains
Image credit: photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash.

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Giving ourselves the gift of a vacation is a way of taking care of ourselves. Whether it’s time in the Caribbean, laying on a beach on Long Island, or a staycation, taking time off from our busy, stressful, structured lives is vital, and from my perspective, emotionally healthy.

Break the Cycle

Every day we wake up to a written, or mental, list of tasks we have to complete for our family, our job, and to maintain our household. This routine can become mundane, or frustrating, as we often delay things we want to do, in favor of what we have to do.

A vacation provides us with permission to forget about that list for a while. It’s so important for our emotional health to break the cycle of, “have to’s”, and allow ourselves to experience, “want to’s”, for a period of time to prevent the feeling of being burnt out.

Whether we are an executive of a major company, a healthcare professional, office worker, auto mechanic, or a stay at home mom, or dad, we all need time away from our daily routines. This break provides us with the opportunity to take care of ourselves.

A time where we can:

  • Regroup.
  • Replenish.
  • Relax.
  • Nurture ourselves.

It’s important to make certain we don’t wait all year for this one opportunity. Being sure to make time to incorporate fun and relaxing activities into our day throughout the year and take care of ourselves is essential for emotional health.

But there’s something really important about having several consecutive days, or weeks, during the year for a vacation to permit ourselves to do nothing more than relax.

Contrasting our daily obligations with what we have to do, with a chunk of time devoted to what we want to do, refreshes the mind and body. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., psychology professor and author says, “Vacations have the potential to break into the stress cycle. We emerge from a successful vacation feeling ready to take on the world again.”

We Deserve to Have Something to Look Forward To

For some, getting away and out of the house is really necessary to separate from the daily routine. Whether our routine consists of a job, family, chores, or other obligations. For others, just not working feels like enough of a break. Planning time for just staying at home and experiencing a little escape from daily obligations, a staycation, may be exactly what feels right.

Staying Home? What Can We Do on a Staycation?

  • Sit in our backyards.
  • Listen to the birds.
  • Read.
  • Swim.
  • Walk in a local park. 
  • Enjoy uninterrupted time for our favorite hobby.
  • Visit family and friends.

Participate in enjoyable activities we’ve waited to do when we have the spare time. This designated time permits us to do whatever brings us peace and makes us happy. 

What is the Key to a Successful Vacation?

Checking in with ourselves and becoming in touch with what we need, want, and what will fill us up—and not what other people need, or will say, about our choice—will help determine what feels right. One person’s idea of an ideal vacation may induce more stress than it alleviates for someone else.

Everyone is Different

Some may love to travel to a resort that caters to every need, but others may experience more worry about the cost of such a trip, or the hassle of traveling, and enjoy the vacation less. Bringing our stress along for the trip defeats the purpose of a relaxing escape. We must determine what’s going to help us decompress most effectively. It’s a personal choice. We know what feels right.

When You Love your Work Time Off is Still Important

For those of us who love our work it may be more challenging to discover what we would like to do for a break, because we’re happy with our work and our everyday routines. We don’t hate our job, and aren’t experiencing the desire to escape daily demands and get away from it all.

Sometimes when you love your job, it seems a little more challenging to ‘leave it’. It’s not so obvious that a vacation is what needs to happen to maintain health and happiness. When we don’t like our work, or if we work 50 hours a week, the need for a break is much clearer. The idea that a vacation is essential to refuel begins to fill our thoughts and alerts us to this need.

Sometimes Planning a Vacation is Necessary

Allowing ourselves to work in a constant state of stress and demands can result in unexpected physical and mental exhaustion. Our mind may not tell us to plan a break, but we don’t want to wait until our body does.

Chronic stress takes a toll on our body. It can impair the ability to resist infections. That little time away from work could prevent unanticipated, and undesirable, time off later. Whether we plan a vacation, or a staycation, either can help our bodies to:

  • Resist infection.
  • Maintain vital functions.
  • Decrease irritability, depression or anxiety.
  • Improve troubled sleep.

When You Need More than a Vacation can Provide

Sometimes a vacation isn’t enough to relieve the weight of demanding obligations. If you feel that way, speaking with a trusted psychotherapist at Long Island’s Nassau Guidance & Counseling can help alleviate that burden. Our licensed therapists have helped many people find methods to cope with the stressors of the day to day, and reap the rewards all year long.

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