Vacations aren’t just fun – they’re an investment in your health. For many of us, simply fulfilling daily responsibilities can keep our bodies in an almost constant state of alertness – so much so that even positive events, celebrations, and accomplishments can become stressful. Over time, this kind of pace can cause our physical and emotional well-being to suffer, so it’s important to take breaks – both in small ways on a daily basis and on a larger scale in the form of vacations. Vacations are important – they give us an opportunity to unplug from our everyday schedules in a definitive way, allowing us to let go of stress and discover new things about ourselves.
Some key benefits to vacations:
Enjoying a new experience: As much as people feel comforted by routine and the familiar, they’re also wired to seek out novelty. And, not only can it feel good to have a new experience, but it can also provide a new perspective about yourself and your life. So, for instance, if your thoughts about work troubles are getting you nowhere – and have been so circular that you are dizzy from it all – then a vacation might be just what you need. By freeing yourself to think about and enjoy new experiences, you just might return to work with a new perspective about the situation that troubled you.
Re-energizing your sense of feeling loved and accepted: If you’re vacationing with loved ones, you might benefit most just from allowing yourself to absorb the quality time together. By enjoying their company and feeling the love and acceptance, you are strengthening the connection of the inner images you carry of those loved ones. Then, when you’re back home and stressing about some difficulty, you’ll be better able to summon those images and the comfort associated with them. The result is that you’ll be less distressed by problems and have greater resilience.
Teaching your children to manage stress: By taking a vacation, you’re showing your children that it’s important to prioritize caring for yourself along with taking work seriously. Hopefully, you’ll carry this lesson back to your “regular life,” making sincere efforts to attend to your personal needs the rest of the year, too.
If you’re thinking about skipping your vacation this year, consider your reasoning carefully. When you factor in the benefits listed above, you’ll likely conclude that the wise choice is to take the time off, de-stress, and re-energize!
The Art of Relationships blog posts are for general educational purposes only. They may or may not be relevant for your particular situation; and they should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need help for an emotional or behavioral problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.