Be Happy And Healthy! Take a Vacation

Did you take a vacation this year or skip it because of high gas prices? According to an Expedia poll a third of all Americans do not take all their vacation days. The Bureau of Labor Statics says that one quarter of all Americans get no paid vacation! That was a surprise to me although as a business owner in a solo practice I get no paid vacation either.

A recent New York Times article by Alina Tugend entitled “Vacations Are Good For You, Medically Speaking” makes the point that recent studies show that vacations are necessary for good health. The article sites two different health studies (one with females and the other males) that showed a high percentage of coronary problems occur for those who do not vacation regularly.

A vacation gives you time to unwind. It allows you to de-stress and relax. There is research evidence you sleep better during and after your vacation. I have always been amazed that the feeling of relaxed vacation calmness lasts for a few days when I return.

By the way for those who carry cell phones and Blackberries to check on work back at the office on their vacation, there have been studies to show that you are less likely to receive the benefits of vacation according to the NY Times article.

So if you didn’t take your vacation yet, now is the time to do it. If you are the type to check in with the office, find a place where cell phones and Blackberries don’t work so you can truly relax. (It can be hard to unhook from the cell phone/Blackberry addiction! but worth it.)

If you have young children, vacations with them can be exhausting. That is not the kind of vacation that relaxes! Young families need to take two vacations, one with the family and one for the parents alone.

As a Grandmother I am always delighted to be asked to baby sit while my daughter and son-in law go on vacation. I once went to Disney World with the whole family so they could have time with each other and I could watch the children. If you have this option, you get a rest and please your parents too.

For my vacation this year, I participated in the Berkshire Choral Festival. I enjoy vacations where I do something I don’t get enough of during the year. For me that is singing. I spent a week learning and rehearsing “Carmina Burana” and then with a group of other singers we performed it on July 19th for an audience. Both the rehearsal and the performance were an absolutely exhilarating experiences. I’m planning to do it again next year.

Whether you like adventurous vacations, learning vacations, traveling vacations or just sitting by the pool vacations, it is important to change your environment once or twice a year and just have some fun. (What is all that work for?) Where you go or what you do isn’t as important as just enjoying yourself and letting go for a bit. If you haven’t scheduled your vacation yet, do it today.

Take Action

1. Vacations don’t have to be exotic. How many of us have gone abroad but never visited the interesting places tourists from other countries visit near our own home. Make a list of the places close by that you have always wanted to visit and plan your vacation around them.

2. Are you an email junkie even on vacation? Start to think about ways to cut down on checking even when you are not on vacation. It wastes time anyway. Make a list of things you can do to eliminate a lot of email while you are on vacation and implement your ideas before vacation.
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