Monday, August 24, 2009

To Vacation or not to Vacation in today’s Economic Times!

Are you overworked? Are you feeling tired of your day-to-day grind and you just can’t seem to snap out of it? When was the last time you took a vacation? Most American’s do not take advantage of that thing called ‘vacation time’. Why is it important for us to take vacation? The number one reason is our health. Most health journals have documented that vacations are good for your overall health and well-being.

The benefits of taking a break from your daily grind go far beyond just the obvious benefits. Vacations can increase our creativity and allow our minds, body, and soul to relax and be open for creative new possibilities. Some of the other benefits of taking a vacation:

  • Prevent burn out

  • Keep us healthy and allows us to “recharge our batteries.” Taking a break from the blackberry, emails, and work can actually improve our job performance once we return back to work. You return with a fresh outlook and you are able to dive back into work more efficiently.

  • Vacations Can Strengthen our Family Bonds: Spending time enjoying life with loved ones can keep our relationships strong help you enjoy the good times more which will allow you to handle the stress of the hard times easier. In fact, a study by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services found that women who took vacations were more satisfied with their marriages.

Here are some additional Health Benefits!

1. Reducing Your Stress Levels – incorporating daily breathing techniques, meditation and visualization techniques to ward off stress are important - but it might do us a world of good if we got away at least once a year. I am not saying you have to go on a worldwide vacation tour. There are benefits to just leaving home and escaping everything that reminds you of the conundrum of life. By breaking the routine, meeting people, doing different activities, and letting our eyes feast on new surroundings; we put stress on the backburner – even for just a week or two. When we come back from vacation, we can face stress again, this time with renewed vigor. Stress is directly related to heart disease. So taking a vacation is just one outlet to reducing our stress levels.

2. Engaging in New Behavior – Engaging in new activities and behavior is like wearing a new outfit! When we go on vacation, we stimulate our five senses and do things that are not part of our tired and boring routine. If we choose a vacation where physical activity is encouraged and healthy living (like visiting a resort or going on a retreat) we use our bodies in ways that we typically don’t in our day-to-day life. If money is an issue, go and visit a friend in another city that you haven’t seen in a while and enjoy the new scenery of their hometown flavors.

3. Engage in Solitude – it may sound contradictory but solitude can restore our faith in humanity. The day-to-day grind of client emails, phone calls, meeting, appointments, and non-stop interaction with others can run us down. The constant interaction with people could burn you out because you don’t have much time to think inwards. Taking a vacation in a remote island where you can enjoy your own company can make you reflect about how fortunate you are to be in the company of friends and strangers day in and day out… but you need to get away from them to appreciate that! Retreat settings can also help you reflect and spend time on introspection.

4. Take Advantage of Vacation Time – let all of your hard work pay off by taking your well deserved ‘vacation time.’ Splurge and pamper yourself. Knowing that you have the financial resources to take time off is a good feeling; thousands of people would give anything to have that feeling.

Where can you go and what can you do?

1. Customize a Wellness Retreat with Flor Escapes. Flor Escapes fuses travel with wellness and culture to develop exclusive holistic retreats. Trips include uplifting activities such as enlightening workshops, natural spa treatments, yoga and/or Qi Gong sessions, cultural activities and more. All destinations, hotels, guides, spa treatments and healers have been specially selected to ensure that each trip be a true escape and journey to relaxation, self-discovery and fun! Properties represented by Flor Escapes are handpicked spa-based hotels that create enchanting and revitalizing experiences while taking a proactive stance in protecting the environment and supporting their local communities.

2. Attend a Pre-Designed Wellness Retreat to fit your needs. Rejuvenate, engage and go within, uncover some majestic historical venues like Mexico’s Mystical Triangle, and explore other cultures.

3. Go on a weekend retreat and renewal at the Kripalu Center in Massachusetts! You can choose from activities and design your weekend experience or simply enjoy solitude. A typical day might look like this: Wake, stretch, and stroll down the hall to a morning Kripalu Yoga class; take an experiential workshop or get outdoors on a guided hiking, kayaking, or biking excursion; spend some quiet time alone, enjoy a meditation walk, or join a tai chi class on the lawn.

4. Go to a new city or country each year and explore a new culture! A client of mine recently returned from a trip in Peru. He hiked the various mountains, visited an ancient village where they still spoke the ancient language, and had a Shaman travel for two days with the group conducting several spiritual ceremonies. If this all sounds too ‘frew frew’ for you go on an African Safari! Explore the powerful wildlife and unique landscapes in Africa.

5. If funds are low go visit a friend in a nearby city. Soak in the local flavors and feast your five senses on a change of landscape. This will help push those stress levels down a few notches.

Safe Travels!

Tanya L. Colucci, M.S., NASM-CPT, CES, PES
Co-Founder Infinity Wellness
Master Instructor NASM
Director of Private Training MINT