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The Value of Vacations

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A coworker came back from vacation the other day and was almost unrecognizable. He appeared relaxed, calm and healthy. He had spent the week with his family in the mountains fishing, hiking, reading and spending time together. They had no phone, TV, computers or video games.

Unfortunately, they had some unexpected cold rainy weather and the roof leaked making all their clothes wet. Fishing was a challenge as they couldn’t start the boat’s motor and had to row to get about the lake. Even cooking was a chore as the gas range broke and they had to use an old wooden stove.

To me, it sounded like a series of problems, but it didn’t matter to my friend. He was clearly refreshed and took on his tasks at work with new enthusiasm. In fact, he made significant progress on some old projects he had been bogged down in for quite some time.

If you’ve ever had this experience, you probably understand. There is something about getting away from everyday routines that refreshes us and gives us the ability to tackle problems with new energy - even when the getaway doesn’t go as planned. It isn’t so much what kind of vacation we go on, just so long as it is different from our normal activities. Novel experiences change us. They help our brain grow and learn new paradigms that can be applied in other situations.

However, gaining vacation benefits is getting harder to do. Not only does research show Americans taking fewer vacations, but technology allows us to be connected almost all the time. Colleagues can contact us anywhere, anytime. Without a real chance to get away and have new experiences, we tend to keep using the same models and getting the same results. After a vacation, we come back different and often have a fresh perspective on our old life and can tackle old problems more successfully.

When is your next vacation and where are you going? If you’re one of the millions of Americans who think they can’t afford to take a time out, think again - you may not be able to afford not to. Vacations are good for us and make a world of difference at home and work. Go ahead, take off and have some fun.

Photo Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/thegaffneys / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Don Kopf published on September 3, 2010 8:43 AM.

How to Keep Your Employees (so they don't take the emergency exit!) was the previous entry in this blog.

Challenging CEOs to Lead the Way to Wellness is the next entry in this blog.

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