Take A Vacation

When was the last time you took a vacation?  For Americans in particular that is a loaded question.  According to studies over the last several years, more and more Americans have routinely taken less of their available time off.  While 43% of Americans did not use all of their vacation days in 2013, 54% failed to do so in 2016, a trend which shows no indication of reversing.  This comes even as science continues to explain to us that time off hosts a number of physiological health benefits.  If you are experiencing burnout, loss of humor, or any of these other signs of too much work, then it’s time to take a break.

In no particular order, here is a list of reasons why you should take a vacation:

  • It gives you perspective.  Time away from the norm can generate new insights into your own life.
  • It allows for a technology detox.  Take a cruise and DON’T get the internet package.  You won’t regret it.
  • It rests and restores you, enabling you to avoid burnout.  Sometimes you don’t realize how mentally and physically “spent” you are until you’re off.
  • It brings its own sense of accomplishment.  Did you have a new experience?  That could be one more checkmark off a bucket list.
  • It allows for quality time with loved ones.
  • It can challenge you.  Fear of heights?  Try the parasailing or zipline at your next destination.
  • It creates really cool stories.  See the picture above?  That’s us walking through a steaming caldera in Hawaii; where we’re standing was a giant active lava field about fifty years ago (see the steam? It was HOT.  see the ground?  That’s solid LAVA).
  • It humbles you and helps you appreciate what you have, especially (sad as it is to say) when you visit countries with lower standards of living.
  • It’s educational.  You learn more about places in person that you ever will via books or other media.
  • It allows for time for reflection on your life and what you’re doing with it.
  • You can experience new cultures.  And you don’t have to visit a new country to experience this either (although that certainly takes it to the next level).
  • You can experience new foods.
  • You can reconnect with nature.  Camping in the Grand Canyon or standing on top of a mountain and being able to see for miles will cause you to see the world differently, but so also will a short hike through a local park.
  • You can make new friends with people everywhere you meet (and in the world of social media, you can now keep in touch too).
  • You create life-long memories.
  • And finally: it will stretch you and cause you to grow.

One final thought: keep in mind too that you don’t have to save all your vacation time for one annual “end-all-be-all” adventure.  Studies have actually found that participating in a number of smaller trips throughout the year can be just as beneficial (or potentially even more so) to your mental and physical health than simply having that once yearly “grand vacation.”  So take a long weekend and drive to a new place for a few days.  You won’t regret it.

jeremiah Jeremiah Clark, M.A., is a healthcare IT consultant with six Epic Systems certifications.  He is also the co-owner of Appalachian Digital, a website development agency.  You can contact Jeremiah at JeremiahSethClark@Outlook.com or connect with him on LinkedIn at Jeremiah Clark.