In many of my business lectures, I ask my audience how many of them take regular vacations. I'm always shocked when I see how many pet professionals don't schedule vacations or downtime for themselves.
Did you know roughly half of all Americans don't take annual vacations? And if they do take vacations, it's common that they stay connected to work or even bring work along with them! Are you guilty of either of these situations? I have always scheduled downtime for myself. However, I admit I am guilty of being connected to work wherever I am - even when on vacation.
Scheduling time off for yourself is important to your overall physical and mental health. There are many positive effects to your well-being.
Here's a short list of positive attributes to scheduling down time for yourself.
- increased productivity
- open to new ideas and viewpoints
- increased creativity
- lower stress levels
- higher energy
- improved moods
- positive relationships with family and friends
I learned early in my career the importance of scheduling time off for myself. I have always been an over-achiever, taxing my system both mentally and physically on a regular basis. Yet, I always maintain an intense pace. Why? I know the importance of unplugging.
The key is getting it SCHEDULED. What gets scheduled - gets done. That's true for everything, including down time!
Schedule time to disconnect. Schedule time to unplug. Schedule time to breathe. Schedule time to just enjoy life.
Here is a collection of ways to unplug. Use it to get your ideas flowing on how YOU can find time to decompress from an abundant (and sometimes insanely busy) life.
- Daily Down Time - Do something every day you enjoy. Maybe it's spending quality time with your family or friends. Cooking. Exercise. Sports. Reading. Doing something creative. Just take the time to enjoy the simple things life offers.
- Full Days - Book a day just to do something fun and special. You might opt to include only yourself. Or plan an activity with friends. Or with family. Many times, special days don't require money but they do require time and planning.
- Weekend Jaunts - When is the last time you booked a weekend excursion? Everyone has different tastes. Some enjoy the solitude of the woods, water, or slopes. Others get a charge out of dog show weekends. Others gravitate to the city. There are literally thousands of things you could do on a weekend, creating special memories for a lifetime.
- Staycations or Holistay - If your life is supercharged or you don't have the financial resources for a full-fledged vacation, staying home could be the best answer. What is a staycation or a holistay? It's when you stay home and participate in leisure activities within driving distance. You sleep in their own bed at night. You might make day trips to local tourist sites, swimming locations, or participate in fun activities such as horseback riding, kayaking, wine tasting, hiking, or visiting museums. Most of the time it involves dining out more frequently than usual or participating in carefree dinner menus.
- Vacations - Think big. Have fun. Head to the islands. The slopes. Experience a cruise. Explore areas you have never been. Participate in activities that are new to you. Every city, state, and country has a wide range of activities. The only thing holding you back is your imagination and possibly your pocketbook.
A word of caution. When planning any type of downtime - is make sure it stays downtime. Don't over schedule too many activities. If you do, you will just jump from one frenzied lifestyle into another. You won't relax and rejuvenate.
Vacations and down time reduce stress and improve health. Time away makes you an effective, productive, and happier worker. You'll be refreshed and ready to tackle whatever life tosses your way. Take the time to get down time into your calendar. You deserve it!