How to Get Over “Vacation Guilt” Right Now
In our fast-paced society these days, the economy is running wild and a lot of us are chins-deep in work to follow through the demands of the market.
Most of us consider ourselves lucky for even having jobs but few of us rarely consider the harmful effects that working too hard can cause to our health.
Whether we are passionate about what we are doing or not, from time to time, we all need to dial down and opt for a vacation to recharge those batteries.
Most of the modern-day workaholics would immediately answer with a question “why”, so let’s bring some answers to the table and save you from thinking too hard about it.
ARE YOU SURE YOU NEED A VACATION RIGHT NOW?
Everyday work can easily get us to lose our nerves or cause depression, anxiety, and inability to handle daily problems.
Most of us, when we think about vacation, consider only physical rest, but mental trauma that working too hard can bring may need healing as well.
From time to time, it may be wise to ask yourself whether you’ve been feeling down lately.
Analyze your latest reactions?
Did you recently have an unexpected and uncalled-for burst of anxiety or anything resembling a nervous breakdown?
If your answers to the questions above are affirmative, you should consider taking a break.
Vacation might be your best prescription here as work-related stress can be the leading cause of psychological disorders as is known to science since 1980, to say the least.
WHAT IS VACATION GOOD FOR WHEN YOU HAVE A LOT TO DO?
Besides taking a break from work and taking a rest, vacation serves not only as a passive recharge of our batteries.
In other words, you shouldn’t take time and do nothing because doing nothing for too long can be as draining as doing something you don’t really enjoy that much (work).
Think of a vacation as an opportunity to actively recharge yourself by doing things that you actually love doing.
Besides, giving us a chance to catch our breath before we dive into further work, vacations should be about dedicating some time to ourselves as well.
Think about when did you last do something for yourself instead of doing something for your career or your boss? When did you last enjoy your meal in peace?
If you couldn’t even find the time to eat and you constantly took takeouts for the last couple of weeks, then it’s a sign you need to change something.
Taking a vacation can be a good strategy to give yourself some space and time to think things through and organize your schedule better because at least half of your stress comes from organizing poorly.
That’s why today you even have something called organizational studies.
Think of management and how it became the leading skill of contemporary entrepreneurship.
A big part of it is organization, right?
Organizing is not just about scheduling. It’s not just organizing our space and doing some feng shui either. It’s about organizing your mind and your thoughts first.
Having a plan and a blueprint for your actions.
Structuring your inner life that will bring structure to your everyday life is what organization is about.
There’s no organization and no organism for that matter, without rest.
Even machines have to do it from time to time, so why would you be typing your brains out 24/7?
If vacations and breaks are omitted from your strategies, your structure is bursting at the seams.
Rest is an important part of work, whether you’re a businessman, an athlete or an artist.
Just think of music and how at least half of it is actually silence.
It’s the combination of sounds and silence that creates the composition. It’s the same in the domain of work.
WHY DO YOU FEEL THE “VACATION GUILT”?
Ask yourself why do you even feel guilty. What’s the thing that does not let you relax?
These days, besides having a good job, a nice salary, a big family and a decent social life, one is bid to find some leisure time for himself.
However, everything is so fast-paced and outcome-dependent that we seem to be under constant pressure.
We fear that we won’t do something good enough or that we won’t be able to deliver the goods in due time.
Yes, time, the eternal thief that slips away.
One of the few natural currencies that we were given to spend at our will (or so it would seem).
Many people are under constant fear of not having enough time to do what they planned to.
Some plan to ambitiously and some plan too poorly…
Others don’t plan at all and there you have it – a deficit of time.
It’s a paradox that one should always be wary of how he spends his time.
Constantly counting the hours and obsessing over not wasting any time is a sheer waste of it and a sure way to strain yourself so that you’ll slack in the future.
Too ambitiously craving for productivity and proficiency can and will backfire.
You will grow tired and won’t be able to pick up the pace if you work too hard because all of us have our limits and while we should work to cross those boundaries, we should do it carefully.
Completely disregarding them is not advised.
You probably feel that vacation is a complete waste of both time and money, because, as capitalism deems it, time is money.
If you think of it in that key, everything is a currency then, especially your energy.
Since there is no free lunch, you should be mindful of where you choose to invest yourself and some investments are necessary to produce revenue.
Vacation is surely such investment. It just transfers saved energy to the currency of dollars over the course of time.
“WILL I HAVE ENOUGH TIME?“
If you feel like your boss is standing above your head, pick up the pace, but do it calmly. As the old Latin expression goes – Festina Lente.
As long as your mind is cleared, everything else will be, too. Important thing is that you don’t have to deny your vacation guilt.
Try to remember that your boss takes a vacation, too.
It’s not just a privilege of being a boss, it’s a means to become one too if you use it wisely.
Do not make excuses just to avoid a few days of resting that you surely deserve.
Workaholism is as detrimental to your health as much as it opposites are.
There’s no need to feel guilty for leaving and making as if all the jobs fell on you only.
Take those free days because you earned them.
You have a right to them and they didn’t come in a contract just out of nowhere.
There’s a medical, physical, psychological and economic need for them.
There is so much chance that people won’t ever use free days if they are saving them for later so plan ahead and don’t postpone.
ISSUES OF THE WALLET’S DEPTH
Every one of us probably experienced to hear our colleagues talking about their vacation plans, exotic destinations, cool adrenaline sports… for which we may not have opportunities to experience.
The economy issue becomes one of the biggest problems for suffering from vacation guilt.
Not having enough resources to provide a good vacation can have you lose your motivation for both the job and the vacation.
That way you can linger in between and not do anything right.
QUALITY VACATION IS NOT ABOUT THE FINANCES
The amount of money spent on vacation is not a guarantee that the vacation will be good and vice versa – if you’re broke, all you need is some free time and some good ideas to plan and have a great one.
So we shouldn’t be making excuses for not having enough money.
There are so many things we can do for us to relax a bit outside of our workplace.
Those who are thinking twice before taking a vacation have their reasons for that.
The biggest barrier to overcome before taking a vacation surely is a fear of being replaceable.
On the second place comes a feeling of heavy workload and in the third-place lies a lack of coverage at work.
Whether you are in your 20’s, 40’s or 60’s, you deserve a vacation.
There’s so much different kind of works, but each of them is specifically hard in their way.
If you are working like an engineer, teacher, manager, maybe psychologist, then you deserve a good mental break for yourself.
If you belong to a category of physical workers, or both mixed mental and physical, then you surely deserve both kinds of vacation.
Humans are hard-working creatures and because of that, they won’t let their hard work and earned money to go to waste, but that can backfire as well.
U.S. Travel’s research showed the results of tracking America’s vacation usage in 2018.
It looks like millennials are mostly interested in workcations.
IF VACATION SOUNDS TOO SCARY, CONSIDER TAKING A WORKCATION
If you are not familiar with the word Workcation, here’s the explanation: Workcation implies traveling somewhere with the intention of working remotely, either fulltime or for a part of your leisure activities.
About 24 percent of Americans didn’t take a vacation in more than a year.
What’s worse are that 12 % of them who said they didn’t have a vacation for more than three years.
There’s nothing worse than realizing that we’ve wasted our opportunities for a good time. As time flies and there’s no stopping or reversing it, some things you should do when you’re of a specific age.
You won’t climb Mount Everest in your sixties, right? Some people will, but not all of us have that stamina and willpower.
According to The State of American Vacation results, 85% people reported they love seeing their child excited for the experience and practically all of them said that the priority of taking a vacation is to relax and reduce stress as well as to make memories.
Well, you can’t make memories if you skip the whole thing, so it might be best to consider Workcationing if you’re that hung up on working all the time.
According to Kari DePhillips and Kelly Chase, hosts of the podcast Workcationing and serial workcationers, travel should have its benefits to the company as well and not just to the employee.
“Traveling has the effect of breaking you free from your routine, and for us, that has helped us in our goals to live more intentionally.”, said Kelly Chase.
Because of a guilt trip, you are getting tired twice as much. By skipping a vacation, you think you’re saving yourself for work, but if you don’t get a break, you won’t be able to do your work right.
Since the guilt does not result in any good, here is the advice on how to get rid of it.
SELF-ANALYSIS, INTROSPECTION, AND CONTEMPLATION VS. GUILT TRIPS
As long as we don’t change the way of thinking, we are just gonna suffer from our guilt trips.
It’s a psychological problem and it should be addressed as social or self-imposed anxiety.
You shouldn’t deny the feeling of guilt, but try to get rid of it instead.
Just breathe and count to ten. Realize that nothing will fall apart if you take a vacation, but something may crumble if you don’t – you yourself.
Realize that people shouldn’t live to work, but reverse.
Since life comes first and matters way more than work, you should always strive towards looking at the bigger picture.
Your devotion to the company’s goals should meet a likewise devotion of the company to your wellbeing. Remember that you shouldn’t aim to work to survive, but go for working to live.
Do not allow other people to tell evaluate your reserves of energy. Listen to yourself and if you feel like you are tired, then take a break.
We’re not saying that you should always go easy on yourself.
As always, it’s wise to be moderate. That goes for both ends. Don’t work yourself to the death.
Otherwise, companies may take advantage of you.
You’ll produce profit and the only thing that you’ll get in return are hair loss and stress.
Learn to put your needs in the first place.
If at the brink of day you find yourself laying in bed, thinking about how much you don’t want to get up in the morning, it’s time for a change.
If you face with guilt for trying to alleviate the pressure that you’re suffering from, you should try and get to the root of that decadent attitude concealed under premises of being conscientious.
What causes that guilt? Perhaps you should talk to a therapist and see where it’s all coming from and what’s it all about?
Perhaps you’re trying to avoid something by pushing yourself to work too hard all the time. Be mindful!
This is a Latin expression that means – remember the death or remember that you are mortal and that you will die.
This one is usually quoted next to Carpe diem – seize the day. Use the opportunity.
Remember the reason for working In the first place. Remember your goals.
They surely didn’t concern producing revenue. What would you do with all that money if someone just gave it to you is what you should be asking yourself…
Then, when you get to an answer, go and do it. It’s about happiness.
Money should just be the means for it, but if work becomes an obstacle to your path of happiness, then it’s all in vain.
Be a friend to yourself and deconstruct that guilt trip.
Otherwise, you’ll be a good worker and a bad friend, spouse, parent and you’ll end up living and dying for nothing… only to spin the wheel of revenue for your company or boss? Now, how tragic is that?
MOST COMMON EXCUSES PEOPLE ARE USING FOR NOT TAKING A VACATION AND WAYS TO COUNTER THEM:
Feeling guilty for leaving – You won’t admit you are tired, just you don’t get fired?
Let’s resume something. Dealing with guilt is a waste of time. Guilt is supposed to be there when we do something wrong, but there is NOTHING wrong with enjoying the free time you EARNED!
Saving the days – The more you are saving them, the more is the chance you’ll end up never using them.
Too much work – Look behind yourself and find where you make mistakes. Plan the work on time so you can enjoy your leisure activities time.
Make a pro et contra list and focus on the reasons for taking a vacation
You shouldn’t consider vacations a luxury, but a necessity for a healthy life.
Make a list of reasons for taking a vacation and read it to yourself out loud. Constantly remind yourself of the reasons why vacation might be good for you:
To reduce the stress – if you are dealing with burnout or pressure at work, getting a vacation will immediately reduce the problem and get you out of stress that doesn’t allow you to see clearly.
Helps you stay healthy – Stressing is one of the main reasons to get heart disease or high blood pressure. Studies have shown that going on vacation can reduce the risks of getting sick. You can also take some time to exercise on vacation. Swimming might be a good mixture of healthy and pleasurable.
Maintain the focus – Chronic stress results with memory problems. Constantly working without breaks makes people distracted and produces problems with concentration thus causing damage to the work you’re doing.
Makes you productive – Vacation time enhances productivity and your immune system which implies less sick days. After a shorter or longer pause, our creativity increases, as much as our work quality.
Strengthens relationships – while being around family or friends, our mind is relaxing and we certainly are forming a deeper bond with the people that we love. Studies have found that people who take vacations and breaks regularly are often satisfied more with their marriage instead of those who don’t take vacations.
Better sleep – Nights without rest and interrupted sleep are signs for too much going on in our minds. A lack of sleep makes us less focused, alerted and interrupts cognitive processes. If you noticed these symptoms then you should think again about taking a vacation you have been putting off.
Improves sex life – Vacation sex became a thing! Scientists showed that the level of libido is less when we are under stress. People who vacation regularly are feeling sexier and have a better romance in a relationship.
PLANNING ON TIME
Ask yourself what a successful day should look like?
Is it about finishing the assignments or some other goals that you may have?
If you prepare and write down the criteria for a successful day, it should help you get through the day and feel fulfilled later. It’s better than to go to bed with unfinished plans stuck in your head.
If you are the kind of person who is not skilled in organization, start earlier. Keep your plans in an e-form or use sticky notes if you have to. If you are tracking them ordinarily, it should be easier to achieve everything.
That’s probably the best way to keep track of your activities and productivity and to plan so as not to overwork yourself nor spare yourself too much for that matter.
You should start with making a daily plan, marking the calendar, limit the time for doing the task, using the organizer.
Start from planning your next day to planning your next week and end up with planning for a month or a semester.
Distinguish your short-term and long-term goals. A good plan will relieve you of your guilt.
Since multitasking can be willpower depleting nuisance, you should read about the benefits of timeboxing.
Timeboxing should help you narrow things down and focus your attention to only one thing at a time.
Also, be sure to pick the ending time for the end of the day to stop working immediately. The following are some good tips on how to organize your work: These are tips of good organizing work.
Determine tasks on sequences – At work, the mind needs to be concentrated so we don’t fall behind work. Since walking through the door, taking a coffee, preparing for work and start, the mind is prepared for brainstorming. But it became a regular feeling and basis for daily planning.
Maintain priority – group all of the tasks together. Decide which should be done first, and which one last. You should start with fulfilling smaller sequences like checking emails, phone calls and making coffee. After that, start doing bigger tasks and be sure not to miss anything.
Set a time – Each task needs a different time to be completed. Think about when is the best time you can do each activity. Set a part of a day for each task and be sure to follow the order.
Remove distractions – At work, you can see many potential distractions – cell phones, social media sound, messages sound, etc. You should use coffee breaks to talk to co-workers, so you won’t distract them and to keep being focused on work while your timer is on!
Unaccomplished business – write down anything you misses to do throughout the day and set it as a priority for the next day. This way is better than multitasking, which gets us to produce the stress hormone.
When you’ve planned everything on time, all you need to do is follow the plan through and you end up with a lot of spare time.
Now use the same method to plan your vacation so as not to stress about some unforeseen circumstances there.
WEEKEND DRINK OR TWO
If you can’t manage to book a week or two for a good break, use your weekends wisely. Fresh air helps you clear your mind so don’t disregard the need for the breaks.
Depending on your interests, make a deal with yourself what is the thing you would like to enjoy in. Will it be inside of your home, or you are a type of sports activity?
If you feel the most pleasant in your cozy home, you can have a drink of wine or two.
Although we don’t recommend alcoholism, a glass of wine is known to inhibit cognitive centers of the prefrontal lobe which literally makes you relax.
Your fear of survival which is due to the economic pressure and the financial ebbs and flows gets greatly diminished after a glass of wine or a few beers.
Since your perception after a glass or two loosens up just enough for you to realize how much you needed a break and that it’s totally ok to make it again sometime. Of course, caution is advised here.
We don’t want you to end up making typical alcoholic excuses about drinking for the greater good, creativity, productivity or whatever.
While we do not endorse alcoholism, we’re not too big of fans of workaholism either.
Both make you waste your life.
If you are an active type, outside activities might not be a vacation, but a means to get over the guilt
The thing is that the guilt is caused and causes the release of the stress hormone cortisol.
Anything that involves physical exercise, on the other hand, releases significant amounts of dopamine and lessens the release of cortisol.
Maybe you want to take your dog for a walk, fix something in the yard, go for a run/walk while you listen to the music you like, go hiking with your friends and watch the sun goes down or whatever…
Spending time in nature restores our mental health and lowers blood pressure too so, go with that maybe?
With just a little break we realize how much we need a vacation, just as how much it means for our health. These are activities that help us get relaxed.
Practice meditation – find a simple position in which you can get your mind relaxed and just pay attention to your breathing for 5 minutes or so. Here you can find one that’s comfortable the most
Listening to music – let the music take away your worries. You can create a playlist with songs you love, close your eyes and enjoy some alone time.
Go for a walk – go get that fresh air and feel the sun touch your face. Be mindful of how you walk, what you see and feel.
Take a shower – hot or cold, whatever you like, will help you get your muscles relaxed. Also, it’s known that the best ideas come whilst showering.
Spend time with your pet – everyone who loves animals knows how happy we are around them. Being around animals helps the release of some more “happy hormones” release good hormones in people, so go visit your little friend.
Talk to someone – If the stress is overwhelming you, try talking to someone about it. It can be your therapist or anyone who you are comfortable with.
Sing and dance – free your mind and body while moving.
Painting – even if you don’t have a talent, you should try painting what’s inside your mind. That way you’ll be able to see it and realize how to deal with problems.
No technology for a day – take a rest from your computer and phone and leave them. You will see how much more time you have to finish the tasks and dedicate yourself.
You earned your vacation, so enjoy it! Don’t think of life being a pause from work, but the other way around. Life should always come before work… and after it.
Making time for yourself is one of the main things to do when it comes to your overall health.
You should consider yourself lucky to have a job you love, but that doesn’t mean that you should lose yourself in it.
Every time we skip our leisure activities, we waste our willpower which greatly affects our overall proficiency at what we do, thus generating guilt.
To conclude, life’s to short for guilt trips anyway, so do whatever you need to in order to relax.
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