An ardent traveler named Joan spent most of her vacation sunbathing on the roof of her hotel. She wore a swimsuit the first day, but on the second she decided that no one could see her way up there, and she slipped out of it for an overall tan. She’d hardly started when she heard someone running up the stairs; Joan was lying on her stomach, so she just pulled a towel over her rear. “Excuse me, miss,” said the flustered hotel manager, out of breath from dashing up the stairs. “The hotel doesn’t mind you sunbathing on the roof but we would very much appreciate you wearing a bathing suit as you did yesterday.” “What difference does it make?” Joan asked rather calmly. “No one can see me up here, and besides, I’m covered with a towel.” “Not exactly,” said the manager. “You’re lying on the dining room skylight.” ~Anonymous
Many countries around the world are notorious for providing their employees five-or six-week vacations…Think France, Germany, Australia and Brazil. Yet according to a CNN poll, here in America only 57 percent of American workers actually take full advantage of allotted vacation time. With the average employed U.S. worker receiving 18 vacation days per year, but using just 14, that is billions and billions of dollars worth of time lost. And when we do take time off with the intent to disconnect, relax and enjoy, many of us are guilty of being shackled in some way or another to our smart phones, laptops, iPads or other gadgets, busily checking emails or making work-related phone calls, and often wind up with working vacations.
The importance of vacation to emotional and physical well-being is extraordinary. It has been said that like lack of sleep impacts on immunity and ability to make decisions, lack of playtime inhibits our creativity and mood. So however little (or plenty) of vacation time you have, keep I mind that it is a valuable opportunity to reflect, relax, let go and recharge.
While some of us are better at making the most of our vacation, others struggle with the idea of being fully disconnected or detached from our work. And then there are those of us who treat not taking any vacation time at all like a badge of honor. One of us recently overheard a conversation where the non-vacationer in question said with great pride: “I haven’t taken a vacation in years!” Whatever beliefs we have around enjoying or deserving time off are evident in the way we treat one of our most precious commodities.
We invite you to ask yourself the following questions regarding your vacation practices:
When was the last time you took a vacation? How long was your vacation?
What challenges, if any, did you experience being fully disengaged from work responsibilities and commitments?
How did you handle them?
What support and/or advance preparation can you seek or ask others to provide to ensure your next vacation is unencumbered?
Whether you decide to take a daycation, staycation, or to pack it up and go hiking in the Rocky Mountains, swimming in the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean or sunbathing on a hotel rooftop make sure you REALLY take the time off! It is summer, what plans have you made to recharge and revitalize yourself before fall returns?
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