This morning, I tripped while putting on my underwear – so I knew it was going to be one of those days. I then proceeded to spill orange juice on my son, on my run over to the new family puppy that was squatting to pee on the brand new area rug. So I was actually relieved when I stepped into the office for work today. But it happened to be one of those days when the phone rings off the hook with obnoxious sales people that try to get you to answer the call by freaking you out – saying you’ve been served or something. And in the midst of the ringing phones and the arguments over sports betting down the hall, I got assigned a new project. More to take on…all before 6, when I have to pick up my daughter from soccer practice.
By the end of the day, I was so relieved to step out of the office. Until I got to soccer practice, only to find out that there was a “team dinner” I had forgotten all about. But naturally, I could not admit that in front of the other mothers, so I quickly texted my husband, asking him to pick up my son from his debate team meeting and turn off the slow cooker so they would have dinner. He quickly shot back that he left this morning for his business meeting, and didn’t I remember?
In the end, all kids were taken care of. But the slow cooker was not plugged in – which made the kids grateful, since we got to order pizza.
I, however… did not feel taken care of. I needed a vacation.A luxury vacation. And it’s not just me that is saying this…science agrees. Here are some reasons why you should take a vacation to be happier, healthier, and wealthier?:
1. Your Performance Review could be higher if you go on vacation:
An internal business study found that for each additional 10 hours that an employee took for vacation, his or her performance review was 8% higher the following year.
2. Bosses who take vacations return to work more focused
Although bosses and executives seem to have trouble with actually taking time off and going on vacation (84% of those surveyed have canceled a vacation because of work), they really should – for their own benefit and for the benefit of the company.
A researcher at the Center for Creative Leadership studied the manner in which executives deal with vacations. She concluded that when bosses take some vacay time, they come back a better business leader; they are more creative and better able to think about the long run future of the company.
3. It just might make you smarter
This all goes back to the science of sleep and relaxation. When the brain is relaxed, it can focus on some essential (though sometimes boring tasks), including etching in and memorizing new skills you may have learned in the office the week prior.
So if you find yourself struggling to keep up with a new software, maybe it’s time for you to take a vacation.
4. Day-dreaming on the beach makes you a more creative problem solver
Our brains operate on two levels. If you’re reading this, you are probably operating on level one – a busy bee, and consistently in a “task-focused” mode. Everyday you process about 174 newspapers‘ worth of information. The bad news is…your brain can go into overload at this point, which makes it unable to operate on level 2: the daydreaming mode.
The unconscious brain is surprisingly a better problem solver – because it’s constantly having to problem solve, we just don’t think about it, so we don’t realize this. So letting your brain wind down and wander can give you tremendous creativity and leave you with with an “Ahh ha!” moment.
5. The more [shorter] vacations you take, the happier you will be!
The saying, “The more, the merrier” applies here. Obviously, we are all happy during a vacation…but our happiness extends beyond this. This study looked into exactly what it is about vacations that makes us happy. Their findings? The anticipation of a vacation makes us happy, but we also tend to have increased levels of happiness for a couple weeks after a trip. So the trick for achieving happiness via vacations seems to be taking a few, shorter vacations throughout the year, rather than one big one.
6. Science shows if you can, you should take 1 vacation day every single week
It’s better for you, and it’s better for your boss too. Researchers have argued that companies should offer employees this as an option – so finally someone tested it out. The bosses of this consulting company actually encouraged their employees to take the consistent time off (either a full day, or a couple of evenings), but not all listened. After only 5 months, those that took this mini breaks reported back: they were happier with their jobs and were more proud of the work they finished.
7. If a full-blown vacation isn’t in your budget, take a vacation to your back yard
If planning an elaborate vacation would just add another financial stress to your life, then by all means, don’t do it. Instead, do what I did: I planned a vacation for myself in my own backyard.
I picked a Friday on a week that my husband would be away on business to take off, and planned sleepovers for the kids (at their friends’ houses). I thought about everything I would do at a vacation on the beach…drink a daiquiri, read a book (or two), lay in the sun, learn to paddle board, get a massage and “let loose” a little. So I planned all of those things, in my backyard.
And I did them – I got a little cannabis, which made my back pain go away, and got me loose and relaxed. I enjoyed my book and music more than I ever have. I went paddle boarding, and hired someone to come give me a massage. And, I slept in the guest room.
I had the anticipation, I switched up my routine and tried something new – which kept me happy for a couple more weeks.