Creatures of Habit

Effective advice for lasting habit change

The Vacation Habit

Why aren't you using your vacation time?

Disclaimer: I realize that some of my readers can't go on vacation. Vacationing is a privilege of some. Unfortunately, it's not a right. This post is for people who can go on vacation, but who don't. Sigh.

I go on vacation a few times a year. Sometimes I hang out at home and sometimes I go away, but I always make a point of disconnecting from the office. I put an auto-reply on my email and I put a vacation message on my voice mail. I'm somewhat of a rare breed, apparently. That's because, although the value of vacations is fairly well-established, lots of vacation days go unused.

That's a shame.

Time to get a vacation habit!

Some of you are probably objecting. Perhaps you're saying: "But, hold on a second, I took some time off a couple of years ago and it was excruciating. I kept thinking about work. About what I was missing. I checked email more often when I was supposedly on vacation than when I wasn't."

I know what you're saying. That was me a number of years ago, when I started taking time off to travel or go on day trips with my family. It took a while to learn how to 'let go' of work. In other words, it took a while to acquire a 'vacation habit.' But, now, I have that habit, and it's wonderful. After a day or two of being away from work, I become my 'vacation self.' I focus on having fun with my children, recreational reading, and meeting new people.

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So, some simple advice: If taking time off doesn't feel right at first, not to worry. Keep vacationing and it will feel right. Along the way, you'll have new experiences, maybe sleep in a little, and have that entirely necessary time away from your job that will, I hope, cause you to return to work refreshed and motivated.

For more from yours truly, visit me at My Bad Habits. I am also on Twitter.

 

 

Ian Newby-Clark is a psychologist at the University of Guelph who gives research-based advice for lasting habit change.

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