Take a Vacation!September 06, 2010
Americans have a hard time letting go. Our workload, phones, computers, and, of course, our families, seem to take up every waking moment of our life. We often forget that we need time away for ourselves. The daily demands and hectic pace of life often leave us feeling overworked and, sometimes, underappreciated.
Women are often on double duty by also taking on the majority of domestic tasks such as budget balancing, shopping, and cleaning. Regardless of whether you are a mom who works outside of the home, a stay–at-home mom, or not a mom at all, the consensus is the same: Working women need a break.
Getting everything accomplished may make us feel like super women, but it tends to leave us mentally and physically exhausted. “Most people aren’t prepared to function with free time,” says Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, co-director of the Quality of Life Research Center at Claremont Graduate University in California. “We end up being overwhelmed with a sense that we need to fill each minute with quality stuff.”
The value of vacation in America seems to be ranked quite low in comparison with other countries. According to a 2009 International Vacation Deprivation survey by Expedia, “The U.S. has long held the dismaying distinction of being the country with the worst vacationing habits.”
It also says that women are more likely to feel guilty about taking time off of work compared with their male co-workers. Why should we feel guilty? We work just as hard, and typically, for less money.
In our current economy, some may lack the necessary funds to embark on a vacation outside of the state, let alone the country. Enter “staycations,” the art of vacationing while staying in the comfort of your own home. If you decide to vacation at home, shut off the phone and try to distance yourself from the everyday activities that leave you restless. Catch up with old friends, discover local parks, lounge at the pool, finish 20 crosswords, or do whatever activity makes you happy.
Aside from much-needed relaxation, there are many reasons to vacation, including reducing stress-related illnesses and depression and enjoying a higher level of productivity upon your return. I think we often forget that the world (or our office) will not fall apart in our absence. Our co-workers will go on, the work will be accomplished, and, if it isn’t, it will be there when we return.
This post is by AAUW fellow Maureen Evans Arthurs.