How Vacationing Can Save Your Life


Vacations are essential to your mental health.

Okay, stop laughing. It sounds ridiculous, right? But I'm completely serious, and my family lives by this motto.

We believe in the healing power of family time. Time away from the normal routine, spent with our favorite people.

In a typical work-week in America, we spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our spouses and our children. (Click here to learn more.)

And so in my house, we place a high value on vacationing. It's not just about the destination, activities, or the money.

It's about us.

And we agree that is money well-spent.

We've been known to book a vacation as much as a year in advance.

The benefits?

We pay on the trip in small increments all year.

Even better?

We enjoy the countdown. Actually savor it. It's all part of the fun, and gives us something to truly look forward to.

Anticipation builds as we plan our itinerary, study maps, and even make reservations at popular restaurants way before our departure date.

We visit Barnes & Noble to scan the travel section, and buy a book touting the best advice for travelers to our current destination. (Later, these books become informative additions to our bathroom 'library'. Everybody has a bathroom library, right?)

We also keep a jar for loose change, and fill it all year to use as spending money on the trip. Each time a coin hits the bottom, we can visualize our upcoming adventure.

One year, my husband and I booked a vacation to Disney World eleven months ahead, and didn't tell our sons. On Christmas day, we wrapped the vacation as a present and told them "We're leaving tomorrow!" One of our best vacations, ever.

Whether you're traveling a long distance, or just enjoying a 'stay-cation' at home, time away is just what the doctor ordered. Literally.

It seems like common sense, right? Stress and anxiety wreak havoc with the body and mind. Vacations help to ease these symptoms.

(For more information on the health benefits of vacationing, click this link by Health Net: https://www.healthnet.com/portal/home/content/iwc/home/articles/health_benefits_of_vacations.action)

I've put together a list of vacation quotes to support my theory that taking (at least) yearly vacations can save your life.

You've worked hard all year, accumulating paid time off. What are you waiting for? Cash those days in, and force yourself to relax.

 

"A VACATION IS WHAT YOU TAKE WHEN YOU CAN NO LONGER TAKE WHAT YOU'VE BEEN TAKING." -Earl Wilson

Everyone needs a vacation.

Everyone.

No exceptions.

Work can be stressful. Happy employees equal smoothly running companies, and that equals less stress for everyone.

Often times, employees are made to feel guilty or pressured into staying at work, and not only will the workers suffer, but the business will as well.

The same is true at home.

Modern families tend to put so much personal emphasis on 'doing it all' that they can forget how to just relax and be in the moment.

Allow yourself to take the time away.

"A VACATION IS HAVING NOTHING TO DO AND ALL DAY TO DO IT." -Robert Orben

In today's world, multi-tasking is essential to day-to-day life. Juggling work and personal time can be more stressful than waiting in line at the DMV.

It is important to allow yourself a period of time where you can let it all go and actually do nothing.

It may be difficult at first, but you'll catch on quickly. Your brain will thank you for the much-needed rest, and other parts of your anatomy as well!

And when you return, you'll feel rejuvenated and refreshed - ready to face life's daily challenges with a smile.

My family likes to make vacation photo albums, complete with journaling about the trip.

We love going back after the trip is long past, letting our memories serve as their own 'mini-vacation' in our own living room.

Bonding through the memories.

"I LOVE PLACES THAT MAKE YOU REALIZE HOW TINY YOU AND YOUR PROBLEMS ARE." -Anonymous

It's okay to take a break from the 'little things.'

Yes, the work deadlines, groceries, soccer practice, bills, doctor appointments, and home-made meals are all important.

But you'll find when you take a holiday, the importance of the day-to-day essentials seem to fade into the background, at least for a little while.

You don't have to travel far, or even travel at all to find your perfect vacation spot. It can be as simple as visiting a park, or sitting on a cushiony front porch chair with a book you've been meaning to read...

And remember, there is no bad vacation.

Make the most of bad weather, delayed flights, and lost luggage.

It's an adventure, and you're building memories with your family.

I remember one year I forgot to pack underwear for my young sons. Yes, underwear. An essential part of daily attire.

So...we washed them in the sink and blew them dry with a hairdryer. It's still time away, which is what it's all about. And we still laugh about it years later.

You might also worry about the money you're spending. Let's face it, if you're traveling to a popular vacation spot, everything will be marked up and expensive and you should know that going in.

My husband's favorite phrase is "It's just money, we'll make more." Of course it would be more practical to pay off that credit card or put extra money toward our mortgage payment.

But guess what? Time spent together making memories that will last for all of us is worth it. Your children will grow up--like mine did--and you can't get that time back.

And...you don't know how much time you'll have on this Earth. Don't spend all the time you're here focusing on bills and work.

Make the memories now.

The bills will still be there when you return. You'll pay them.

And you won't regret taking some time for you.

"I HAVEN'T BEEN EVERYWHERE, BUT IT'S ON MY LIST." -Susan Sontag

If there's really somewhere you'd love to go, set your sites on going there. Even if it seems like an impossible dream.

My husband and I always joked about going to Hawaii for our twenty-fifth anniversary, never really thinking we'd be able to afford a trip that far away. We married very young, and money was always tight.

Guess what?

We decided to just do it.

It took years of saving, but we did take that trip and had the time of our lives. You can't take those memories back, and the time we spent together was good for both of us.

Set your goal, and go for it!

"WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, TAKE A VACATION." -Betty Williams

What are you waiting for? Go book your next vacation now!

And don't forget to pack a book.

Keep on Reading ... and Relaxing!

Kristen

"VACATIONS ARE LIKE GETTING LOST IN A GOOD A BOOK. YOU MAY ONLY ENJOY THEM FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, BUT THE MEMORIES ARE WITH YOU FOR A LIFETIME." -Kristen L. Jackson

 

Kristen L. Jackson, Author of KEEPER OF THE WATCH

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