Vacations! One word that sums up so many experiences, memories, and feelings. We dream of them. Some plan to visit those picturesque island escapes or ancient long-lost cities. Others are completely content with a quick weekend getaway to get some much needed rest and relaxation. Wherever vacation takes you for however long you have the chance to sneak away, one thing is for certain…we all need them! Outside of the opportunity to collect souvenirs, sink your toes in the sand, and soak up the sun rays, here are ten reasons vacations are good for much more than ever expected.
- Vacations give you ample family-bonding time. That’s a good thing, right? Who doesn’t love multiple hours in a cramped space traveling from point A to point B? If by the end of the trip your grandma’s snoring or spouse’s loud chewing doesn’t get the best of you, then you may not be human. Outside of their annoying quirks, quality time together makes you notice things about others that you may not notice otherwise. You see them outside of their job role or family function as they tend to shed those stereotypes and show the real them. You can connect in ways that were impossible when you were back in reality where life had expectations. Make meaningful connections, learn something new about one another, and deepen your love for them in ways you could never have imagined.
- On vacation, you throw out all of the stops. Salty chips, calorie-ridden beverages, and oodles of sweets adorn any good vacation’s kitchen. And I don’t care what any doctor, dietitian, or healthy food nut says (I can go there because I, too, am one of them), when you are on vacation, you should allow yourself to indulge. You spend 51 other weeks each year being “good” by following the eating police’s rules so that for one week, you can live life to its fullest. And that goes beyond just giving in to food cravings… leave your makeup at home. Don’t even pack your high heels. On vacation, besides those who traveled with you, you are likely to never see others you meet again. That’s great for the fact that you can set aside who the world wants you to be and be who you want to me, all make-up free and frizzy haired (let’s be honest, every hotel I stay at has soft water and my hair always freaks out from it!). Be you, completely, and while you are allowing that to happen, look in the mirror and give yourself all 7 days to learn to love every bit of God’s creation in you!
- Vacations provide new opportunities to keep you in shape. From arm curls from lifting up fruity beverages to a core workout wading in the pool’s deep end, “exercise” extends into uncharted territory which is definitely more enjoyable than being stuck in a gym every other day. In all seriousness, take a week off from your hardcore exercise routines and use this time to exercise your mind. Bring a book and drift away into a different world altogether. Open your Bible and delve deep into God’s word. Or even bring Sudoku puzzles and enjoy a little brain challenge. Whatever your exercise of choice, allow yourself the chance to take a physical break by putting in the time for a mental workout. It does the body good.
- On vacation, you get to appreciate God’s gifts to us. You get to put the computer away and the phone down. If you commit to it, you get to disconnect from the busyness of your daily life in a way that can’t be done otherwise. When you do it, and I mean really do it, you start to see things like you never did before. You notice how the sand on the beach is made of millions of crushed sea shells, each that was a home to one of God’s creatures at one point. Or you finally smell the salt in the air as you hear indigenous birds singing each morning. You notice the uniqueness of different cities, and you come to appreciate that God made this world for us… for us to enjoy, to take in, and to celebrate. It’s like a birthday present that you’ve finally unwrapped – a priceless gift from God.
- Vacations give you a chance to breathe; like really breathe. That crisp air leaves you yearning for more. Even the best yoga instructor can’t prepare you for the deep, constant, relaxing breaths that you get to experience as you disconnect from life as you know it and go off the grid. Even though you know that your inbox will extend into the depths of abyss upon your return, you realize that one week away won’t cause the world to unravel. You can take that week to let go of what is holding you back, be reminding that you put the most stress on yourself, and realize that the only thing you need to do to get through literally everything is breathe. That Lamaze training may not have only been helpful during labor, huh?!
- Speaking of work, vacations give your work purpose. We all work hard and long hours for sure. In fact, we spend more time working most days than time spent with our families. We tell ourselves we work to live not live to work, yet we put in an extra hour here or there just to get “caught up” or take an extra weekend shift to earn a little extra cash. For what purpose? To pay the bills and put food on the table. And to save up for vacation! You may not get a raise each year, but an annual vacation is like a personal gift to yourself; consider it a thank you for all you’ve done!
- Vacations challenge you to be open to new things. This is true whether you want to or not. Just one vacation mishap will prove that the best planned vacation is one that isn’t overly planned. Roll with the punches. Try things you never have before. Try parasailing or zip lining. Try a new dish or take a gander at cooking one! Open your mind to new opportunities and I can guarantee you that not only will you be amazed; you may just incorporate a bit of this vacation-fever into your daily life upon your return.
- Vacations allow you to create memorable experiences. If one thing is for certain, there are only two things in this world that I know of that you can’t be robbed of… an education and an experience. Both are well worth the investment. When you look back on life, you won’t remember how a Vera Bradley bag made you feel or how awesome it was to drive that expensive new car that will need repair in a few years. Nope, those things are just things. They are stuff. They break and tarnish. The go out of style and need replacements. But experiences don’t. They are etched deep within us and shape who we are and who we become. Stop spending your money on toys, clothes, or other non-necessities and start saving up for vacation. I promise you that it is well worth every penny.
- On vacation, anything seems possible. You sleep in king-sized beds with feather pillows and dream of ways to save the world or at least leave your mark. And the funny thing is, it doesn’t seem so far out of reach while you are on vacation. You gain clarity on what makes you happy; what drives your soul. Don’t turn the possible impossible as you venture back to reality. Keep that good mojo flowing and nurture it like a seedling. With some water and TLC, you’ll come to realize that anything really is possible if you put your mind to it with God by your side.
- Vacations make you appreciative of what you have and grateful to have a place to call home. Let’s be honest, absence does make the heart grow fonder… and that’s especially true on your trek home from a restful trip. Yes, you know that your oasis will drift away, but we all yearn for our own beds again. Any good vacation will leave you with a plethora of memories and a longing to come back home. If you lived on a vacation every day of the year, it wouldn’t be a vacation anymore. It would become your new reality. And as nice as that sounds, you will look past the surf boards and palm trees and come to not appreciate it as you once did. Just like every up has a down and every go has a stop… every vacation needs a home for you to return too. They are just the yin to the other’s yang.
Make time and take time to recharge, refuel, and renew yourself. Don’t let your vacation days go to waste, ever. Don’t settle for a one-day hiatus here or there. Schedule a week, if you can, and stick to it. Disconnect completely. Soak it up for what it’s worth. Your soul needs every minute of it. And once you get home, start planning your next!