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Would I Love a Vacation, No I Really Need a Vacation

By Dr. Stuart Offer, Wellness Coach & Educator, Hickok & Boardman HR Intellegence.

One of my primary job responsibilities is conducting workshops on the many subjects of worksite wellness to Vermont businesses.   It should be no surprise that excessive stress (including financial stress) consistently ranks as one of the top employee issues.  Over two millennia ago Confucius stated “if you love what you do, you'll never work another day in your life.”  I can relate to this phrase as I really love my job.  Regardless of whether you love or hate your job, stress, fatigue and potential burnout can be a problem.  Over time I have come to realize, if I want to preserve my mental health, maintain my happiness as well as sustain my productivity, vacations are as necessary as a good night’s sleep.  In addition, hard research has overwhelmingly confirmed this to be true, and who wants to argue with conclusive findings such as this?  Another realization I have come to experience is vacations can be a sort of good news bad news story.  With all of the preparing, packing, traveling, waiting, crowds, over-scheduling, rushing, go-go-going of a conventional vacation I sometimes come home feeling that I need a vacation to recover from my vacation.

Many years ago and long before there was a cool term for it, I came to realize there is a great, inexpensive and refreshing alternative vacation.  Now we call it a Staycation.  As you may now know this is a true vacation where you choose to stay at home rather than travel.  Over the years I have successfully had some of my best vacations staying right here.  Many folks take the short-sighted view of a staycation and only consider the money saving perks.  I realized, especially with young children, there is so much more than just saving money.  How about decreased stress, decreased downtime, increased vacation time.

In order to fully understand and appreciate what opportunities await you, first you need to define what a vacation is to you.  For me it is first and foremost a break from the usual day-to-day routine, next it’s to spend quality time with my family and loved ones. Everything else is secondary.  Yes, I love to travel but for now it is more about taking a break than breaking away.   All too often I see people opting not to take a vacation because they think they can’t afford it.  This need not be the case.

Let me tell you what has made a great staycation for me.  Most importantly you need to treat this as a true vacation, not phony or counterfeit.  Also, you need to unplug.  This means no call to or from the office, no emails, no work of any type.  Remember this is a staycation, not a workcation.  Choose an actual starting date and an end date.  Pre-plan so you can make sure that you will fill your time with fun and interesting activities.  Unless you want to do nothing make sure to plan ahead.  I allow myself a budget that is less than a