When was the last time you took nice long three-week vacation? When was the last time you went away for a while?

I know, it’s not easy. It’s likely you feel as if you’re just working and working and there doesn’t seem to be any end to it. But let me ask you, when are you planning on living? When are you going to create your precious moments, to begin enjoying life and to live out your dreams? When you retire? When you don’t have as much health, energy and drive to go and explore the world and truly experience things?

What happens when you don’t take time off to vacation? Most likely you feel burned-out, stressed and exhausted. Your productivity, motivation and creativity decreases, and your sick time increases. No wonder the pharmaceutical industry is booming with millions of prescriptions being written for depression, insomnia, and countless treatments for serious illnesses.

How can you be the best version of yourself or achieve your full potential when you’re so exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally, and disconnected from your soul?

You’re not alone…

According to a new study, 56 percent of Americans (135 million) have not taken a vacation in 12 months. In Japan there are approximately 10,000 documented cases per year of “death by overwork”, or karoosh [1].  Americans work 137 more hours/year than the Japanese do and 499 more hours/year than the French [2].

Did you know that the US is the only nation in the industrialized world with no minimum paid-leave laws? While in other countries, especially in Europe, every worker is entitled by law to 4 – 5 weeks per year of paid-leave due to the strong labor unions.  Just think about it… these are the statistics:

The USA vs. the World Average Annual Vacation Days:

  • Italy 42
  • France 37
  • USA 13

But the saddest part is and what bothers me the most about these statistics is that the US allows the fewest number of paid vacation days and most American’s don’t even take that time off.

  • The truth is that 26% of Americans take no vacation time at all [3].
  • Only 14% of Americans take two weeks or more at a time for vacation [4].
  •  88% of employees say they have a hard time juggling work and life [5].
  • 70% of working fathers and mothers report they don’t have enough time for their children [6].

THAT’s why I’m such a passionate advocate of going on vacation or just getting away, even if it’s only for a day. I’m passionate about traveling, spending time in nature, exploring foreign lands, their cultures, beauty and art. It’s what makes me come alive and inspires me to go for the big dreams. This world is an amazing place, you know.

I can honestly say that I have lived a rich life, a life filled with unforgettable experiences, awe, fascination and wonder… simply because I decided to follow my desire and chose to make it happen.  However, in trying to inspire other women to go out and experience all that, I feel a lot of resistance. Sadly, they’d rather work. It took me while to understand why…

I remember a day when I asked some of my European friends while soaking up the sun on one of California’s most gorgeous beaches, “So how do I bring up the topic of vacation in a way that people actually get it?” They smiled and said, “Wow, you’ve got an interesting job, that of having to convince people to take a vacation.” Well, my job is all about helping overworked professional women create less stressful lives.

Europeans often ask us, “How can you not take a vacation?” Because to them, time to rest and recharge is not seen as a luxury but as an absolute necessity. Europeans truly believe and often remark, “Work will always be there, but my health, my wellbeing, and my happiness may not.” 

 

 

Your mind probably is going crazy right now thinking, “What is she talking about? I don’t need a vacation. I need to work! I need to pay bills! And let’s not forget, I’m not allowed to take any time off.”

This is not your fault. It’s our conditioning. We’re only being rewarded and valued if we’re productive, which means if we’re working all the time. Work definitely has its place and so does rest, relaxation, our health, wellbeing, and sanity.

If you’re expecting the corporations or the government to give you more vacation time, good luck.  The laws are not in our favor.  Being fueled by corporate greed, companies are okay with their workers being replaced once they get burned out. They know very well how to make us feel guilty or even fearful when thinking about taking time off. This is all for the sake of bringing in more profits.

It is now time to stand up for your health, your well-being, for the quality of your relationships, and for having a life well lived!

It’s not about what others think and say about how you’re supposed to live your life. It is totally up to you to live your life to the fullest and to make things happen. It’s up to you to use the vacation time that you’ve earned and so deserve. Use it!

Instead of spending money on Prozac or Ativan, go to the root cause and take care of yourself. Nourish yourself. Invest in yourself. This is especially true if you’re ambitious about achieving outrageous success. How can you get inspired, make the right decisions, have plenty of energy and sustain your passion and creativity unless you’re in a relaxed and receptive mode? Someone stated: “With stressful mind you cannot think solution. Rather you cannot think” and they couldn’t be more right.

Taking breaks from our everyday life have shown to be profoundly healing. Vacation will help keep you healthy by lowering your stress levels. Vacation is highly restorative and rejuvenating–you’ll return to your life fully charged and with new-found outlook and motivation to work.

You have a right to be well rested, happy, and truly fulfilled. Do whatever it takes to get your life back. It is your responsibility.

It’s all about figuring out what would work best in your situation, whether that means cutting down on expenses, working fewer hours, or perhaps even creating your own business, one that not only inspires you but also builds a lifestyle with more freedom.

Take a vacation! Be free and adventurous. Play!

Carve out the time to reconnect with your loved ones, and most importantly… with who you truly are. Take time to determine what you really want to get out of this life.

A vacation will give you the space to be away from your responsibilities, worries and routine and to get a fresh perspective on your priorities.

This is a time to stop doing, and instead spend your time just being.

This is when you can get in touch with your gut feelings, your intuition so that you can make better decisions in the future and become more aligned with your true purpose in life.

This is how you can become a better, more loving, more relaxed and understanding wife, a better and more patient mother. Being in alignment with your purpose will put your focus on what truly matters to you as a human being.

 

The world is waiting for you.  But they need the best version of you, the most powerful you.

Stop and breathe. Have a quick getaway. Take a vacation!

Remember, life is to be lived fully.

Kristina

 

 

References:

  1. “Washington to Nation: Drop Dead on the Job,” Alternet, June 20, 2003
  2. ILO Report
  3. Boston College Survey
  4. The Families and Work Institute
  5. Aon Consulting, 2000
  6. Family Matters Survey; The National Partnership for Women & Families, 1998

 

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