A few years ago my husband and I started traveling a bit more, including taking a number of trips to Europe. I remember standing in line to visit the Duomo in Florence, Italy, and I began chatting with an Australian couple in front of me. They asked how long we were in Italy for and my response was 10 days. They gasped. I quickly asked how long their vacation was and their response? FIVE WEEKS! As we began to encounter more and more people from other countries I quickly realized something...
Americans don't take breaks and when we do, they are short.
I always hear countless stories of friends and coworkers forfeiting vacation time at the end of the year. We are all acutely aware this is a part of our compensation packages yet we all usually have time to spare even though we've worked hard, earned it and need a break!
And it's become even worse with the pandemic.
There's no where to go, there is no point in just sitting home, etc.
And when we do go somewhere it's too much time away from work.
I'm lucky to be working for a company who actually encourages using our time off and even gave us 3 additional "mental health" days this year for employee appreciation day.
But guess what? I still have 8 unused days as I write this on December 20th.
Also, as I write this I am on my 10th day of a 15 day vacation. Let me tell you, it is GLORIOUS!
This is the longest vacation my husband and I have ever taken, in our entire lives.
We are lucky to have companies that allow for this amount of time off and we chose not to have children so our "fur kids" are being well cared for at a boarding center.
I came on this vacation with all intentions of writing and sharing knowledge my entire trip. We even said before we left that we would set aside a minimum of 30 minutes per day while making breakfast to work on our business but guess what? We both checked out and have done NOTHING for the first time beyond remembrance and we both realized how much we both needed to do NOTHING.
I am RELAXED, not stressed and not anxious.
Our lives have all become filled with non-stop hustle and bustle and I truly believe we don't even know how and when to stop anymore. Expectations become heavy and hard to turn off. This has become even worse with many people working remotely and not being able to disconnect from work at the end of the day.
We were on a boat tour the other evening with a couple expecting their first child. There were two couples who are empty nesters and they said if they could share any advice with the expectant parents it was to still vacation just the two of them. Vacation as a family and also as a couple. We can all learn from that.
I don't write this to boast about my long vacation. I write this to remind you that we all need to take breaks! And as long as we can take them for. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that health and well-being peaks on the 8th day of a vacation. So consider planning at least 8 days for your next vacation!
We earn it, we deserve it, and our souls and minds genuinely need it!