Working for my mom opened my eyes to the professional whirlwind both my parents live in every day. Up until that point, all I had really known was that my mom and dad would come home after a long day of work – tired – but ready to sit down and visit with their children.
Something else I was aware of, but had never truly appreciated, was my parents’ choice to occasionally take time off work and spend their hard earned money taking my brother and I on vacations. It wasn’t until I entered their professional world that I understood just how much of a sacrifice taking a vacation was.
They had every reason not to take time off – there were deadlines and responsibilities to think of. Yet everything my parents worked hard for – their professional success and a close-knit family – depended on their commitment to rest and take time away.
Years have passed since I sat down for the first day on the job at my mom’s Insurance Agency. I’m an adult now with a full-time job, and my own time and finances to manage. As I’ve mulled over this idea of rest and how it relates to living a life defined by purpose, sanity, and peace, I can’t help but be convinced that taking occasional time away is crucial to sustainable, long-term success.
Here are five signs it’s probably time for you to take your next vacation:
When you look back over the last year and realize you haven’t taken a single day off.
According to a survey done by Skift, 42% of Americans did not take one vacation day in 2014. That’s a pretty hefty percentage, but is it really a surprise? As Americans, we are known for our grit. This, I feel, is something to be proud of. As a whole, it’s like we have this innate proclivity towards hard work and not stopping until the job is done.
But is the job ever going to be done? The answer is most likely, “no”. Because you are a busy, determined, and successful individual, the job is never really going to be done. There will always be another problem to solve, another challenge to beat, and another project to tackle. But if it has been over 365 days since you have taken a day (or two, or three!) off to rest and recuperate, take a look at your calendar, find a good place to “pause”, and plan your next vacation.
When you begin regularly daydreaming about a land far, far away…
Vacations are not one-size-fits-all. Your idea of a good vacation may include a plane trip across the ocean, or, you may prefer a two hour drive to a cabin in the mountains. Wherever your ideal time away may be, and for however long, it’s important that you follow through and do it – especially once you begin spending your days with half of your brain in the “real world” and the other on an island in the sun…
When you need a new dose of motivation in your personal and professional endeavors.
Have you reached a place of stagnation, either in your career or with your family? If so, a change of scenery may be the boost you need. I recently took a short weekend trip to Seattle with a good friend of mine. We were gone for only a few short days, but the beautiful weather and the view was enough to give me an extra dose of inspiration when I returned the the office on Monday. By allowing yourself to get outside of your usual environment, you will find inspiration and recharge your creative juices!
When you have exited a season of hardship.
Life can be tough. We’ve all experienced seasons of pain – whether it’s in business or a personal loss. During these times it can feel like we’ve been swept out to sea and are fighting the waves for our next breath. At first we don’t believe we’ll survive – but then somehow we do. When we finally make it to shore we are exhausted. This is when we need rest the most. When you find yourself crawling out of a difficult season, give yourself the gift of time away.
When you realize there will never be a “good time”.
It can be very tempting to say, “I’ll think about it tomorrow,” in terms of planning our next vacation. Tomorrow becomes next week, next week becomes next month, and soon our time away becomes a dream we may never realize. The truth is, tomorrow is not promised – the time is now.
If there is something you want to do or a place you are wanting to go, and you are waiting on your ‘someday’, may I encourage you to wait no longer. Today is the day to look at your calendar, grab the people you love and plan your next vacation – whether it’s across the globe or right down the street.