Is a Real Vacation Even Possible Anymore?

Now that we have these wonderful gadgets that allow us to stay connected at all times, most of us never seem to be able to truly get away.  No matter how far we go, we can usually be reached on our cell phones, and with our Smartphones we’re tempted to log in to see what’s going on in our absence.  Can’t we just let it all go and enjoy the sights and sounds and easy rhythms of our vacation?

Why It’s So Hard to Get Away on Vacation:

1) You feel guilty about leaving the work to others.  You know they’re already overburdened and you may think you can do it better, or you know a little bit more about a particular client or problem.

2) You feel worried that they’ll discover that maybe you’re not as indispensible as you want to think you are; or you’re worried that you’ll lose ground to other people.

3) You’re afraid something really positive and exciting will happen while you’re away, and you won’t be there to witness it.

4) You’re so used to the fast pace and stimulation of work that you feel bored with your sudden tranquility.

5) Keeping busy keeps you from focusing on the things that are really bothering you; maybe you’ve been using the frenetic pace of work as distraction

6) If you’re vacationing with family, maybe you’re unused to having all this so-called “quality time” together, and maybe it’s difficult to reconnect and communicate.

Why Vacations are Worth the Hassle

Even though there may be good reasons  for your reluctance to let go, there are many benefits to getting away:

1) Even though the first few days of tranquility may be difficult, once you settle in you will experience a level of stress reduction that’s difficult to achieve in your workaday, home environment. And stress reduction is good for your health, your peace of mind, and even for your brain functioning.

2) Connecting with family and friends and really bonding over time allows for deeper understanding and connections that can be brought back with you. If everyone can agree to put down their gadgets at least for a good part of the vacation day, you can really have an experience together, rather than just being in the same location but spending most of your consciousness interacting with people who are not there.

3) On your return, your work is likely to benefit.  Getting away from the projects that have consumed your attention gets you out of your tunnel vision and allows you to gain a new perspective.

4) Getting away can allow you to reflect on larger issues than just where you’re focusing at work. You can think of the whole operation you’re a part of, not just the area you usually deal with. You might even gain some insights on the big picture of your own life and what’s important to you.

Vacations are rare events – they cost money; they take planning – don’t waste yours by not really being there.

What about you? Can you take a real vacation? Do you have any tips for getting that done? Any rules your family adheres to?

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