Cultivate a healthy balance between work and leisure:Vacation, helps to bounce back | Sunday Observer

Cultivate a healthy balance between work and leisure:Vacation, helps to bounce back

In another three weeks, it’s vacation time again, yet, we are caught in the same old problem: too much to do at home and at work. When we do find a free moment, we seem to use it to catch up on things undone. Getting away is not as easy as it used to be.

Years ago, we had a healthy balance between work and leisure. Now, the time away, i.e. vacations, weekenders, day trips, even evenings out, have deteriorated. It has taken its toll on one’s happiness, as well as health.

To retain the zest for living, the time utilized for rest, relaxation and retreat is necessary. Rest is for physical rejuvenation. Relaxation, for psychological recovery from the tired feeling that can’t be shaken.

Retreat is for social escape, for a quiet time to gain a perspective on what we stand for and what we want to be.

A vacation can be a blessing or a source of frustration. Here are five common vacation ruts.

Rut 1. Desperation. Like too many other achievers, you work hard to buy a nice home for your family, then find you cannot relax in it. The home becomes associated with its own demands and pressures - a psychological extension of your office. Vacations then become desperate flights just to get away for a rest.

Solution: Take a look at the people and the functions at the bottom of your list. Check how to take care of them. Ensure that what needs to get done, e.g. the garden, the three fish tanks and the dog - will get done. Then arrange quality time for you and your family. Learning to relax year-round at home, is a must, so you can do more than just rest on your vacation.

Rut 2.The Four-Day Limit.You and your wife depart for vacation. Then, no matter how much fun the two of you are having, a subtle anxiety begins to grow. About 96 hours after departure, a critical point is reached. Excuses are made and both of you head for home.

For such people, familiar surroundings and daily routines are associated with security.Subconsciously, you view change as a threat, instead of as the basis for stimulating new experiences.

Solution: Desensitize yourselves by gradually increasing the length of your vacations. Stay a bit extra, a day or two. Later, extend it to a week! Also, vary routines at home so you do not depend on them so much for emotional comfort.

Rut 3.Sop Time. By any chance, if you are a workaholic, you will find it extremely uncomfortable to break away from work. Eventually, as a sop to the family, you agree to a vacation. But you would not enjoy it.

Solution: Recognize that you are more than the work you do! Your family wants time with you more than it wants material things. Go on vacation more often, and let the breaks help you build an identity beyond your successfu1 achiever role.

Rut 4. The Pressure Cooker. You might be the type of person who creates a getaway itinerary so jam-packed that you must come home to rest. If every moment of the vacation isn’t filled with meaningful activities, it is considered time wasted. Because of the tight schedule, frustrations mount and irritability spoils the fun.

Solution: Accept that real relaxation lies in the enjoyment of experience, which does not necessarily have to be productive. Planning has its place, but tight scheduling can backfire. Listen to the needs of family members and compromise with them.

Rut 5. Home Again . . . And Again. It is one thing to visit parents and family members occasionally; it is quite another to spend all your vacations visiting relatives. Such visits are often motivated by all the wrong reasons: guilt, obligation, financial considerations.

Solution: Visit relatives from time to time, but add on a vacation as a family. Face the sense of obligation or guilt that may result; after all, you are breaking a precedent.

Additional tips

Now, after resolving your vacation ruts, consider these additional tips:

1.Choose something for everyone.You may need action; your spouse may want to take it easy; the children may need constant stimulation. Consider everyone’s needs, and get everyone involved in planning.

2. Pack ahead. The chores necessary for departure are taxing, and the days before leaving can be frenzied. Preparing ahead of time, even taking a day off to get ready, will let you depart rested and optimistic.

3. Break your routine. If you are sedentary, more activity would be satisfying. If your usual style is hyper, slow down.

4. Say no to work. Resist the urge to take your briefcase along! Don’t phone the office! And don’t let working vacations substitute for real vacations.

5. Get back to basics. Experiencing beauty and life’s small pleasures is important for emotional well-being. Plan a walk on the beach at sunrise or a quiet picnic in the woods.

6. Avoid hidden agendas. Too often, one family member has expectations, e.g. to renew a relationship, to have romantic interludes, but, does not share them. These fantasies will not come true unless you let the others involved in them.

7. Do not forge: Be realistic. You get sunburned on the beach. Children will bicker. Prepare for reality, or you set yourself up for disappointment.

8. Spend some time alone. Most busy people need time for themselves, at home, even if it is only 20 minutes a day. Find such time on vacation, too, and encourage other family members to do the same. Use these critical minutes to restore perspective and decide what you want out of life.

Let go

Time away is something you deserve for your years of striving and sacrifice. Yet, to have it you must make choices.

It means putting personal satisfaction higher than more money or status, giving of yourself to your family, or taking care of yourself physically and emotionally, so you can last over the long run.

When you get right down to it, you do have time for a good vacation, and you can afford to take one. So, let yourself go!

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