5 Best Ways to Use Your Vacation Time
Vacations are an invaluable way to recharge the batteries and recover from the mental and physical stresses of your job. Time away also gives us time to regroup, ponder our choices, and make plans that we don’t have time for when we’re immersed in our day-to-day scheduled lives. An added benefit of vacation is the ability to completely shift the way we use our minds and bodies if we choose.
If you’re in a facts, details or repetitive task oriented type of job, use your vacation to explore the creative side of your brain. Conversely, if you’re in a marketing, design, or development kind of job, you might want to focus on perfecting or learning a skill instead of creating something. If you sit all day long, include lots of activity or if you’re on your feet all day, try less physically demanding activities.
Immerse yourself in a hobby
Is there something that you love to do, but never seem to have any free time to do it? Maybe you love to paint, sketch, sculpt, fly fish, write music, garden, build things. Maybe you enjoy photography, tennis, cycling, gaming, or yoga. Whatever your favorite hobby, use your vacation to immerse yourself in it. Go on a yoga retreat, attend a tennis camp, take a fishing trip with your buddies, close yourself in your workshop/studio and create away, wander and take pictures or sketch everything you see. Completely throw yourself into doing that thing your love and forget your work responsibilities.
Try something new
If you’re like most people, you have a long list of things you always wanted to learn or try. Vacation is the perfect time to choose something from this “bucket list” and give it a try. You have free time; use it. Have you always wanted to try skydiving, rock-climbing, scuba diving, sailing, horseback riding? Maybe you want to learn a foreign language or sign language, or how to dance or play a new sport. Find a group class or try private instruction. You may even be able to find an intensive or weeklong course in your area. Go ahead, do it, sign up. Then learn, practice and have fun.
Would you prefer to use your vacation time to help others? There are lots of opportunities to do just that. Use your skills or just lend a hand, help build something, teach something, heal something, or beautify something. Join a Habitat for humanity crew. Do missionary work if that appeals to you. Teach in an impoverished village. Help treat sick children or care for endangered wildlife. Plant or harvest crops. Clean up or protect natural resources. However you choose to volunteer, your vacation will be valuable and meaningful.
Take an active vacation
Vacation is a great time to get away from the office and out into the natural world. Active vacations have become a popular choice for our increasingly indoor, sedentary working population. Go on a white water rafting trip down the river, hike the Appalachian Trail, take a trek through the rainforest, backpack through a canyon, go on a safari through the wilds, or join a bicycle tour. Choose something that interests you and excites you. Just make sure that you are in the proper physical condition before you tackle any kind of physically demanding expedition.
Do absolutely nothing
Maybe you’re just exhausted, burned out; you have no energy to even think about what to do you’re your vacation, let alone energy to engage in activities. There’s a vacation option for you too. Here it is…Do absolutely nothing. Give yourself permission to do, plan, try absolutely nothing for the duration of your vacation. It’s harder than it sounds. Often we think we’re doing nothing, but yet we still have a to-do list, a schedule and expectations. Stay home or go away, whichever allows you the most freedom and fits your budget. Then simply sit in a chair, on the beach, under a tree, take naps, walk and wander with no destination, and eat whenever you feel like it. This is a bit more complicated when you have a family, but if everybody is on board it can be an amazingly restorative way to use your vacation time.
Perhaps the hardest, yet most important aspect of any vacation is determining if, how and to what extent you can disconnect, from work, and the demands of a 24/7 connected world. Can you refrain from checking work email and voicemail? In addition, if you truly want to maximize your respite, set your computer and phone aside and give Facebook and Angry Birds a rest. Vacation time is so scarce and so valuable, whatever you decide, make the most of it.