Bummed Out on Your Beach Getaway?

It was hot – and I mean hot – the last time I visited Virginia. It was summer 2005 and we were spending the week with family friends. Just before dinner one evening, I decided to check my office voice-mail messages. And then … my cell phone died. I decided then and there to leave work behind during excursions.

Vacations have never been the same since – and that’s a good thing!

Devoting my attention 100% to just having fun enriches my experiences and helps me re-charge, which ultimately enhances my work when I return. 

A recent blog in The Washington Post about “vacation blues,” however, poses the question of how beneficial vacations truly are. Here’s an excerpt:

Turns out a Netherlands study found that many people have trouble relaxing during the early periods of their vacation. And for some, the vacation doesn’t make them any happier than people who don’t go away, reports Marta Zaraska, a Canadian freelance journalist and novelist who lives in France.

Our mood tends to be lowest through the first 10 percent of a holiday, one researcher found.

Another researcher says vacationers might be having trouble enjoying themselves because of “leisure sickness,” which is the inability to relax and adapt to the pace of life outside work.

Zaraska writes that other research shows that “even if we do enjoy our holiday, the moment we return to our home sweet home, the good mood starts to evaporate. Two weeks later, almost all the benefits of a vacation are gone.”

I actually disagree with much of the blog. When I traveled to Florida for a few days (not even a full week) earlier this summer, I was downright giddy at the airport, on the flight and throughout my entire trip. What’s not to love about splashing in the ocean, marveling at palm trees and delicious cuisine?

The part of the blog I do agree with is that it’s sort of a letdown when you get home because that vacation you’ve been anticipating – sometimes for several months – is now over. My cure when those vacation blues strike? Start planning the next one.

What do you think?

Why You Need to Take Time Off

As I write this, I’m about three days from taking a vacation spanning eight work days. After three days of driving and a stop at a casino on the way, I (plus my father and two others) will ultimately wind up in northern Ontario on a quest for walleye and northern pike. Aside from eating enough fried fish to make Adam Richman blush, I also hope to use the time on the lake to re-focus and ponder how I can be better at my job — and more importantly, my life. According to the blog The 12 Most, there are at least 12 reasons we should all make sure we take time off and smell the roses — or in my case, rotting fish carcasses. Here are a few reasons, but check out the entire post:

2. This is your brain on vacation
I’ve found it takes a few days to shut off the manic, ever-present and ever-busy chatter in my head. The “OMG I forgot to do xyz” or the “If I don’t find time to do xyz, my business will never be what I want it to be” drifts away after the 3rd day. I’ve found I focus on amazing things like hummingbirds, novels and hearing myself belly laugh in a way that’s been gone for a while.

3. The unbearable lightness of being unscheduled
I go out of my way to not have too much of a plan on vacation. The decadence of enjoying a second cup of coffee while still not having a clue what the day holds is something rare and sacred. My body literally lets go of the tension I carry around in my neck and shoulders the 51 other weeks of the year.

4. The realization life/work/committees go on without you
We all love to make ourselves a little too important. How can our businesses, our organizations, the PTA go on without us? Take a week away, and it becomes crystal clear. Not only CAN they, but they SHOULD. Take that, Ego.

5. Creative Inspiration when you least expect it
Gaze at the mountains, study the waves or take in the view from a hammock and you’ll be amazed at what comes to you.

6. Discovery, discovery, discovery
I like all types of of vacations – adventurous, new places, and relaxing with nothing to do. Whatever kind you take, you’re bound to discover something new. A small town in Michigan might bring you a new favorite beer discovery. A tour of new places in Europe might lead you to a new favorite artist. Whatever it is, never stop discovering. It’s good for your whole being. Vacation helps you do that.