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One of my favorite vacation spots: Seaside, Florida

One of my favorite vacation spots: Seaside, Florida

This time of year can be rough.  Long nights, short days, cold, wind, snow.  Ugh.  And for those of us in my neck of the woods (Northern Colorado), spring is a looonnnnnggggg way off.  I don’t even want to think about it.

I was recently reminded how important vacations are.  Sure, they’re nice in the summer; but it’s this time of year when they can work some serious magic on mental health.  And it’s not just about the pretty photos you get by the beach (though those are nice, too).  Vacationing is an important part of overall health.  Here’s the scoop:

  • We all need a break from our day-to-day duties and responsibilities.  Sometimes I feel like if I fold one more hoodie, make one more trip to the post office, or drag the trash cans to the curb one more time I will scream! These tasks aren’t hard, but they get boring.  And work can become taxing and overwhelming for everyone at times.  In order to stay fresh and motivated to participate in the work of our lives – whatever that work may be – we need a break every now and then.
  • It can be easy to take what we have for granted.  Sometimes traveling or taking a little vacation can give us a new perspective that allows us to see our lives in a whole different light.
  • It can be hard to truly relax or “unwind” when we are caught up in to-do lists and the momentum of everyday.  Vacations – even a night or two away – can give us the chance to put down the phone, turn off the alarm and good a decent night’s sleep for once.
  • Good memories: making them, remembering them, and trying to re-create them are all important pieces of maintaining healthy relationships.  No one ever reminisced: “Remember that time we paid the mortgage on time? That was so fun!”  Vacations are not only enjoyable, but also meaningful, and allow us to create and share memories with the ones we love.  And some of the best memories are made when we are on vacation.

Vacations don’t need to be expensive, fancy or glamorous.  A trip to the local Super 8 is adventure enough.  And it might be just what the doctor ordered to get through the next few months of winter.

It’s a Vacation…Not Working from the Beach

It’s vacation season!  Beach trips, mountain excursions, National Park adventures.  What could be better than a trip with loved ones to an awesome place?  In my opinion, not much.

Vacations are an important part of family life.  They provide us with new experiences with our family, create memories to treasure, and sometimes even give us the opportunity to make new friends.  Vacations are also an important part of maintaining mental health.  They give us a break from the stresses of work, maintaining a household, and other everyday chores.  Vacations can also give us perspective on how other people live and how we might be placing too much importance on non-important things.  One of my favorite summer vacation rituals is setting goals for the year ahead.  Work goals, family goals, personal goals.  Vacations give me the time and space to be able to think about such things.

My pre-vacation goal for this summer is to let my vacation actually be a vacation.  Not an on-location working trip or a working holiday.  Off go the ipads, laptops, and smart phones.  On go the out-of-office vacation responses on email and voicemail.  Bring on the fun, relaxation, and memory-making…who’s with me?