The Reasons You’re Not Taking a Vacation Are Bull Stop Making Excuses & Start Planning a Trip!
It’s funny that we make excuses for not doing something that we actually want to do. You’d love to go out with your friends more, read for pleasure, sleep in and take a vacation. But you just can’t…you’re too busy, too broke, or too worried about leaving your work.
Whatever the “reason” is, it’s not good enough.
Vacations aren’t merely luxuries for those with perfect lives. They are truly necessary for any hard-working human who desires a happy and balanced life. So, it’s time to stop coming up with excuses and start figuring out where you want to go.
Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em
Almost all professional jobs come with paid vacation days, which is pretty great when you think about it. Your company will pay you to go sit on a beach or explore a foreign city or just take a road trip. Yep, you’ll be sitting there relaxing and making money at the same time.
So why is it that so many of us don’t even use these vacation days? Americans, for example, are notorious for letting these days go to waste. In fact, 41% don’t end up using all of their paid time off (PTO). Why? There are a variety of reasons, but many put it down to professional concerns. They’re worried that taking a vacation will make a bad impression on superiors or will result in an overload of work when they return.
We must, however, remember that PTO is part of our compensation. Not taking vacation days is like working overtime for free or refusing part of your paycheck. This is especially true for people who simply lose their days at the end of the year; if there’s no incentive for skipping a vacation, you’re doing yourself a disservice not to take one. And remember that there will always be piles of work to be done, regardless of whether you take time off or not – but it’s better to tackle it after you’ve taken well-deserved time for yourself.
With our hyper-connected existence, are we ever really away from work? The mere ding of your smartphone can interrupt your relaxing weekend or evening with a work “emergency” that steals your personal time away from you. We work late, we check work e-mail when we’re off and we sometimes can’t even fall asleep worrying about your professional responsibilities. This kind of exaggerated commitment to your job may help your career, but it’s not healthy in the long run.
Logically, we understand the importance of a work-life balance but many of us don’t practice it. The physical dangers of stress are well-documented – heart disease, weight gain, and high blood pressure are just a few risks of high stress levels. When we never give ourselves the chance to release that stress, we’re quite literally killing ourselves.
It’s critical to take time to do things that you enjoy, to disconnect from work stress and to genuinely relax. It doesn’t much matter where you go, just that you are having fun and letting go of some of the tension that builds up from the responsibilities of your daily life.
For all of you workaholics out there, it’s easy to say you can’t possibly take a vacation because your job is too important. But there is such thing as burnout. When you work, work, work without ever taking a break, your energy and motivation will eventually be depleted and you won’t actually be doing a good job at your job.
Taking a week or even a few days away will rejuvenate you, recharge your batteries and leave you feeling rested. When you return to work, you’ll have a lot more to give to your job.
After work concerns, financial reasons are the most common for not taking a vacation. It makes sense…you work hard every day to make money and you have lots of financial responsibilities to think of before you can contemplate unnecessary expenses.
But think of the old question: Are you working to live or living to work? Part of the reason that you put so much time and energy into your job is so that you can enjoy your life, right? Well, that doesn’t make much sense if you leave out the enjoying part.
Perhaps it would be helpful to think of a vacation not as an unnecessary expense but as a required one, like your groceries, gas or cell phone. Start by putting away a little every month. The best way to do this is to set up an automatic savings account with your bank, so that a certain amount is automatically transferred to your vacation fund every month. If you can afford to do $50 a month (which amounts to just a $2.50 coffee every weekday), in a year you’ll have $600 to put towards a trip. You can also put all your stuff into a self storage facility instead of paying rent for an empty house for while you are away.
And remember that a vacation doesn’t have to mean going abroad or staying in a fancy resort. There are many ways to get away without breaking the bank. Here are a few suggestions:
- Go camping.
- Visit a city where you have a friend or family member who will put you up for free.
- Take advantage of deals on sites like Groupon or Travelzoo.
- Travel during the low season when accommodations and attractions are less expensive.
- Take a road trip somewhere within a few hours’ drive of where you live.
- Visit less popular but equally charming destinations, where prices won’t be so inflated.
- Stay in smaller, independent hotels that often offer better rates.
- Find fun things to do in advance that are cheap or free.
By now you should be convinced that taking a vacation is not an option, but rather a necessity. Step away from the computer, put down the smart phone, and leave an out-of-office reply on your work e-mail. It’s high time that you put your vacation days to good use and start enjoying the fruits of your labor.