It has often been said, well, maybe not often, but from time to time on LinkedIn, I read some form of, “Have a life you don’t need a vacation from.” I would dig deeper and suggest as human beings we all need time away from whatever, more or less, our daily routine is. I would also say, “Have a vacation you don’t need a life from.”
I don’t like hearing, “It was just long enough,” with regard to reviewing our vacations to someone inquiring about how they were. If it was truly “just long enough,” you’re not doing it right. By the time you’re supposed to be coming back you should feel immersed in, and just hitting your stride in your new life. Because that is what a vacation is: a new life (if for only a relatively brief period of time).
A vacation done properly should whet your appetite for more getaways. The word “getaway” is another great term for vacation. When we are on holiday, we are, after all, getting away. All of the obsessive compulsive things we do are (hopefully) put on the shelf during our vacations. It may take the first few days we are out and about for our “disconnects” to truly occur.
“I only checked email three times during the week I was on vacation.”
Stay off email and the Internet entirely, except for leisurely pursuits. The Internet is to be used for planning some day trips and perhaps scoping out a restaurant to go to, but nothing more. Checking email, or work-related email accounts, is some of the behavior I was referencing when I said we need to take a break from all of the obsessive compulsive things we do.
While the Internet has helped us be more productive in so many ways, it has also lessened our ability to interact personally. Vacations revisit us to the times growing up when we used to have playtime in kindergarten.
When we are on vacation, it’s supposed to be playtime. We reconnect with our partners. We reconnect with people who are strangers but become friends after sitting next to them in a local restaurant.
We remember what it is like to be human when we are on vacation; our ability to truly socialize returns—the digital age’s social media opportunities, notwithstanding.
When you’re on the last day of your vacation and you’re packing, getting ready to make the trek to the airport, you should be feeling a little bit melancholy. Sure, you may be happy at the prospect of returning home, but if you’re like my wife and I, we only want to return home for our dog and come back to resume our vacation as a whole family.
The prospect of returning to work should not be one fraught with anxiety. If so, again, the vacation has not been adequate. It is only natural for there to be a pile of work waiting for you upon your return. But, if you’ve had a proper vacation, with all the fun, play times you should have enjoyed, you will hit your “to do” list in fluid stride. It will be time to get some work done and you will do so. But, you will perform your job better because you’ve had adequate play time. Your personal and professional lives will once again be at their peaks with respect to synchronization and harmony, if only until the next time you go on vacation.