Right now, cruises are daunting, flying a minefield and collections subject to strict restrictions. Many of us have seen our earnings take a significant hit. Moving from state to state can mean quarantine, while crossing the Atlantic can be impossible this summer.
You may think that all this means now is a really miserable time to plan a vacation, but Tonya Dalton would like to strongly disagree. The productivity expert and author of The Joy of Missing Out thinks it is even more important to take a break in stressful times, even if it only means a stay at home with your loved ones and a pile of books.
Actually, a pandemic is the perfect time to take a vacation
It can be a tough message for many Americans to hear. Even before the pandemic hit, we were a famous holiday-averse nation, leaving hundreds of millions of paid vacation days on the table and working far, far more than employees of any other developed nation. It was always a recipe for burnout, but not finding time to decompress is even more devastating during high-stress periods like the one we are experiencing now.
"Let's recreate how we look on vacation," Dalton suggested to me recently. "Instead of thinking it's just this junk time gone, you choose to look at it as an investment in your own mental and sometimes physical well-being. It actually makes you more productive, excited and excited about the work you are going to do . "
Dalton sees the positive effects of enough free time in her own work to coach busy executives and entrepreneurs, but the destructive effects of jumping on vacation are also well documented by science. They include increased risk of depression, reduced total productivity and even in the long term less career development. I think everyone can use less depression and more energy and optimism at the moment.
The undercut benefits of staycations
Hopefully, all of this has convinced you not to continue working through the summer, but even though your willingness to take time off is strong, there are still practical obstacles. Financial constraints and an infectious virus may well prevent you from traveling far from home this summer. That's OK, according to Dalton, who believes that staycations actually have a couple of different benefits.
One, they're actually relaxing. "I think sometimes when we get on a plane and fly somewhere else, we feel we have to do all the things there. We have to check all the boxes, see all the sights, do all the experiences. And then you come back from your vacation, and you're like, "My God, I'm worn out. I need a vacation from my vacation, "says Dalton. (I totally agree.)
This is the time to explore less hard-charging vacation opportunities." Look at the meditation class you've been watching, try the new yoga series you've wanted to try out , or read the books that have been sitting on your bedside table for months and months, "Dalton suggests. She also recommends exploring the local attractions you plan to check out, but never getting around to visiting.
And even about relaxing shadows to boredom while out, it's also a net positive, according to Dalton. "Boredom is one of the best for our creativity. It's incredibly beneficial to allow time for brains to play and explore, "she says. Once again, research is backing her up.
So don't let a growing global pandemic prevent you from relaxing for a bit this summer. Look different to many of us in recent years, but it's more important to take time to disconnect from the power ever. Embrace the limitations, then get back to work and feel charged after what has been an undeniably tough first half.