So recently, I decided to book a vacation. I was convinced it was going to deplete the little savings that I did have, but I needed a break. (I also think I was starting to annoy people every time I said to them, “You’re going on another vacation?? I’m so jealous!!”) Yeah….I was becoming that person.
As I looked into a vacation, I was stunned to discover it actually WASN’T that expensive. In fact, some weekend retreats I had been looking into in upstate New York, would’ve been more expensive than traveling all the way to Europe for over a week! (A huge travel tip, use airbnb for affordable places to stay, it’s a GAME CHANGER!)
As the trip starting developing and becoming a reality, a side effect of all of this was I felt happier! Research shows people see an increase in happiness from anticipating and planning trips. So if that anticipation gets your happy feelings going, why plan vacations every other year? Maybe take a few vacations throughout the year. They don’t always have to be epic, but make sure there is something about that trip or stay-cation that excites you as you anticipate it. A little warning about stay-cations (vacations where you relax at home instead of going away): If you don’t go away, you may spend a huge chunk of your vacation, running errands, and doing things around the house, that aren’t necessarily relaxing. A benefit of leaving, is that you can’t do ANY of that. You are forced to truly unplug.
If you are not self-employed, your employer is PAYING you to go on vacation. Paying you to relax, and recuperate. Don’t fail into the trap that holidays are a “luxury” for others to enjoy. This is what self care is all about. Treating yourself well is what makes you a phenomenal caregiver. Reframing how you look at vacations as part of your self-care practice rather than a luxury that other people get to do, is an essential first step if you are resistant to this idea.
David Posen is the author of the book, “The Little Book of Stress Relief.” I recommend this book because it has quick chapters that are perfect for those of us too tired to commit to more than that, especially when we are stretched thin. He reminds us:
“Take vacations before you need them. Then you’ll never need them, you’ll just enjoy them. Don’t wait until you are so depleted that your vacation turns into a convalescence. Be proactive. Take timely vacations while you still have some energy to enjoy yourself.”
One last thought, when you return from your vacation, start planning the next one! You don’t have to drop any money just yet, but get the ideas circulating and allow yourself to get excited about the what next.
Take care of YOU.