“Go to your happy place.”
Usually when you hear those words, it’s seconds before you have to endure some form of necessary torture.
In my mind, I escape to a hammock that hangs between two palm trees on a remote island in Bora Bora. I have a rum blended beverage in my hand with a pink umbrella adorning the top. To my right is the crystal clear turquoise waters dotted by overwater bungalows and to my left is an infinity edged pool.
This idyllic scene is so real because I visited it on my honeymoon 18 years ago. Vacation memories provide mental escapes during times of stress but there are so many other reasons to not skip out on your vacation this summer. Let's explore more.
Chronic stress permeates modern life. Working full-time or caring for a family creates stress that builds up daily. The daily stress needs to be managed, but for a BIG reset, we need to get away.
There’s scientific data to back this up. The Framingham Heart Study, the longest running study of cardiovascular disease showed men and women who skipped their vacation time were more likely to suffer a heart attack.
Of course you can rest at home, but the stresses of everyday life are waiting there for you as soon as you step out of the bubble back or pull off that sleep mask. When you’re thousands of miles away from home there’s less reminders of all the things you have to do piling up on your plate.
What have you experienced through your travels? Here's a personal example for ya...
I’m fortunate to be raising my family in a safe and nurturing community. When we took our daughter on her first trip to DisneyLand, she saw a homeless population each day we walked to and from the park. Each holiday after that her letter to Santa always asked for $ to those in need.
Traveling with a family, whether it is your partner and kids, your parents, or extended family on a reunion, all of these combinations can really help you deepen those relationships. There is nothing like a great adventure to bring families closer together.
My grandmother, when she passed away, left her family a small trust fund. I have gosh, I think 35 cousins, so every summer, she would bring together all of us for a family reunion. Her will left us money to continue that tradition. How incredible is that? Due to COVID, we haven't been able to do a lot like we used to, and it's probably going to look a little different moving forward, but that's definitely a way that I have kept the connection my extended family.
A study I read looked at the happiness factor associated with vacationing. It seems like people are happiest in the lead up to a vacation, when they're looking forward to it. As you plan it, you're thinking of all the details. In your mind you're imagining all the adventures that you will go on, the places you'll visit, and the memories you'll make. Basically the anticipation of your vacation is another benefit. Having those memories to share is another bonus.
Let's move on to the next topic: how do we schedule it? How do we actually make it happen?
Money is obviously a big factor. Some people need to stay close to home, or they may even want to just staycation. There is a way to take a vacation no matter how much money you have in the piggy bank.
This is one of the things I consider to be important is to take at least one vacation a year, no matter what that looks like for you. I do annual reviews, quarterly reviews, and I do weekly reviews of my calendar, but at that big annual review, I'm assessing my entire year. That's when I started looking at my vacation time and the best way to plan my next vacation. As soon as you decide to travel, I think it is important if you are planning it with someone, whether it is your family, your loved one, a friend, whoever is to talk about what we will do next year on our trip back home? Make a list of places you'd like to visit and start that planning process right away. This way, you can look forward to it all year long.
You don't have to chose between your personal and professional life. Here's my secret weapon for getting the family chaos to calm.