Make Your Getaway! If You Don't Take Your Vacation, Who Will?
April showers do bring May flowers -- I can hardly wait! -- but I'm also aware that April is the month that many of my dear readers fall victim to VPJ -- Vacation Planning Jitters.
How many days and how much money can you comfortably spend on something as frivolous as your well-being? Where will you go? Who will go with you? How many pairs of shoes will you take? Can the dog come, too? Will your boss think less of you if you take time off? Will your job still be there when you return?
If you're beginning to get the shakes, I understand.
But as your most personal trainer, I'm happy to remind you that anticipating, planning and taking a vacation is essential to living a healthier, happier life.
Pop quiz: Who said, "All work and no play makes for a rich, stimulating, satisfying life?" Nobody.
-- TAKE ALL YOUR VACATION. This above all. To enjoy your vacation, you have to take it. It's crazy but true: Americans take many fewer weeks of vacation time than people in most other civilized nations.
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This April, make a pledge to accept all the vacation time you have coming. Vacations don't have to involve expensive hotels or exotic locations. Camp in a state park. Volunteer to clean up a river. Your well-being gets a boost from shifting your mindset: from work to play, from pressure to pleasure, from pleasing the boss to taking care of yourself and your loved ones.
-- GO GUILT-FREE. To work toward health and balance, every one of us needs to relax, regroup and reenergize.
So when you do take your vacation -- you've earned it! -- leave your guilt behind. Don't check work emails or phone the office unless you're forced to. Fretting over work while you're on vacation gets in the way of experiencing new places, new cultures and new points of view. (If you need me to write a note to your employer, just say.)
Vacations create space and time for you to reflect and rejuvenate, to express your imagination and explore your dreams. That's why we take 'em!