Vacations, Travel, and Self Care
Vacations are important for your physical health, they are the perfect way to reconnect with your loved ones and with yourself.
My name is Milica, and I’m a world traveler. I have travelled to 17 different countries, and have stayed at both luxury hotels and at peoples’ homes.
Every country I’ve visited has brought me and my family a unique and memorable experience. Every culture is so magical, you don’t necessarily need to stay at the fancy hotel to feel that magic, but I have enjoyed five-star service, and sandy beaches with ocean views.
What puzzles me, and maybe this is because I’m European, is that Americans tend to not take their vacation time. Why is this?
With the renaissance of self-care, including mental and physical health, it puzzles me how my friends and colleagues haven’t embraced the vacation as a mental health regimine.
So why vacations?
Vacations are important for your physical health, they are the perfect way to reconnect with your loved ones and with yourself. After vacation, people come back more energized, happier and more productive.
More popular, especially because of the recent economic woes, is the trend to take “staycations.” Staycations are great, after all, Orange County, and Southern California in general is vacation land. We have so much to do and embrace right here at home.
But do staycations provide the same type of stress relief? I argue that they do not. Why? Our woes are too close. We’re too easily reached. We come back to work too easily as well.
So why don’t we take vacation?
In the article “This is" by Lydia Dishman on Fast Company, Lydia finds that though women value vacation, “Millennial men, on the other hand, were found to be better planners than their female counterparts. Fifty-seven percent say they set aside time to plan out their vacation for the year, compared to just 49% of millennial women.”
A study at the University of Tampere in Finland shows that for positive impact of vacationing starts at day one, but we don’t let go of our daily stress and responsibilities until day eight.
“Experiences of relaxation and detachment from work positively influenced H&W even after returning home. Working during vacation negatively influenced H&W after vacation.” Effects of short vacations, vacation activities and experiences on employee health and well-being. - Jessica de Bloom
Sadly, statistics show that 54% of working Americans did not use their vacation time in 2016.
“Fear of returning to a mountain of work remains the top challenge to taking time off (43%), followed by the feeling that no one else can do the work (34%).” ProjectTimeOff.com
This hasn’t changed even with open vacation policies, more popular in the tech industry. Why? As a culture, we’re still studying this phenomena. Fear of being seen as lazy, taking advantage of time, not being in the know about our jobs, and fear of losing our position are all reasons people don’t prioritize vacations.
What if we changed our attitude about ourselves and our coworkers? What if we gave ourselves permission to rest? What if it came from the top-down? We all need rest. We’re more productive, happier, and that makes for a better workforce and society.