As a child, I used to love going to my father’s house for what felt like a mini vacation or packing up the Bronco II with my mom, brother and sister and heading to Disneyland for an overnight stay and a two day adventure in the Happiest Place on Earth. Those memories are so clear and I can still feel the excitement that came with each journey. So as I contemplated what I could do with my family this summer, it only seemed natural to embark on our own family adventure vacation. I wanted to test a belief I had as a kid: Getting out of my normal routine, with my family, and enjoying them in an exciting environment is a fun break from day to day stressors. And that is just what we did. My husband, 5 year old daughter and I embarked on a 3 hour road trip to the fun-filled town of Hershey, Pennsylvania and spent 2 fabulous days and nights exploring and taking over Hershey Park! Needless to say, we had a blast and made memories that will not soon be forgotten.
You may be wondering what this has to do with psychotherapy. Well let me fill you in. In our busy lives, we work hard, we burn out, and then we do it all over again. Taking a vacation is a way to recharge yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. There is plenty of research that shows giving yourself a break is an important way to prevent overall health deterioration and to reduce stress. The idea is to carve out some time to engage in some good old fashion fun and relaxation and to spend time enjoying life.
Still not convinced? Here are the facts: 1) Americans work longer hours than any other country without mandated vacation time. China gets 3 weeks of paid vacation and Europeans get about 6 weeks of paid vacation on average. 2) Work is inherently stressful. We need vacations to recharge ourselves. Not taking some time off to get away is like knowingly preparing yourself for an inevitable burn out. 3) Research indicates that physical and mental health issues are connected to not taking regular vacations. More specifically, men and women who do not vacation are more susceptible to stress related conditions, heart disease or to have a heart attack! 4) People who take vacations are more productive at work and feel better about their jobs!
Now, many may argue that a vacation must be a week or longer for it to be truly restful. I agree that taking a longer vacation can be beneficial. However, it isn’t necessary to overlook the merits of a shorter break. You can feed your soul with a short visit to a relaxing or adventurous place close by. These short breaks may not be as relaxing as a 10 day excursion but they can be just what you need to prevent burn out and reduce stress. To make the most out of a shorter trip, start preparing a week before by getting plenty of sleep and by taking mini breaks throughout the day to practice being in the present moment with mindfulness exercises such as meditation and mindful eating.
So please, do yourself a favor and take some time off. You deserve a break. It’s good for your health!
For more information about this or Chamin Ajjan Psychotherapy, LCSW PLLC please contact Chamin Ajjan, MS LCSW at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917.476.9381.