Making the most of your time off

The concept of vacation is often misunderstood.  Modern media assists us all in having visions of clear blue waters and white sand beaches.  While these things can be part of a vacation, they are not a necessary part.  So exotic travel, while it might be nice, is not actually required.  In fact, vacation can be something simple and close to home.  Anything that gives you a break from your everyday routine can be a vacation- at least from a psychological perspective.

Science tells us that having a relaxing event to look forward to creates happy hormones in our brain. The benefits of these hormones not only help us during the vacation time, but also when we are looking forward to the event and for a short time after.  We know our brain experiences a happiness advantage for approximately three months before a vacation in the anticipation of the trip and for about a month after we return.  So that means by strategically planning small trips once every three or four months, we can use this happiness advantage to our benefit year round.

Now please understand, I am not made of money.  I work way to much and can never seem to get ahead.  The moment I get my head above water, a new expense pops up.  Taking a vacation every three months seemed all but impossible to me, until I started planning these mini-breaks into my life.  What I have found is the benefit of having a break to look forward to really makes it easier to manage my workload during the non-vacation times.  It is like a personal reward system that you build right in to the structure of your life.  

Now, time might be a slight issue.  You can easily schedule these mini-vacations into a weekend of a long weekend.  In fact, at times, my mini-breaks are just one special day of hiking or exploring a new city.  Anything new and out of the ordinary that you will be able to look forward to with sincere interest.  By visiting family or friends, or even camping, you can cut back on the costs and make these vacations fit into your budget.  No reason to be high line all the time.  Some times getting back to the basics is the best way to wind down.

Now that you know this , please use it to your advantage.  And another thing, when you are on vacation, be on vacation.  Please do not be on the phone or computer doing work the whole time you are away (I say this as I am sitting on a balcony overlooking the Gulf).  So that being said, I will be back to blogging next week.  For the rest of this week, I am taking a much needed vacation.