You need a vacation – admit it. You owe it to yourself. You work hard. You plow through everyday tasks and responsibilities with masterful dexterity and vigor. You are awesome. Sleep? What’s that? Take a break? No time. Can’t stop, won’t stop, right? Does that sound like you?
But will you take a vacation? According to Project: Time Off, an initiative of the U.S. Travel Association of which AAA is a national partner, every year more than half of Americans fail to use their time off – that’s a stock pile of 705 million unused vacation days! And certainly, the many business owners, stay-at-home moms and non-corporate folks of the world for whom “paid time off” is an illusion take even less time off.
Yes, there is lots to be done and seemingly not enough time to do it, but you can’t constantly operate at full-speed without a rest stop. That’s just not how people are programmed. Burnout is real. Like a wind-up toy that’s been cranked to capacity, you can only go so long at your strongest before you start to slow down.
Being overly worked can lead to mental and physical stresses that can be just as detrimental to your health as being sick. And it’s not just you who will feel it. All the reasons why you work so hard in the first place – your job, your family and friends – will start to be affected by it too. Don’t discount the importance of a much-needed, well-deserved dose of R&R. Whether you would like to get away with your family or are thinking of venturing out solo, you need a vacation so that you can stay your awesome self.
If you’re displaying more than a couple of the following signs, it’s time to get in touch with a travel counselor – and ASAP.
17 signs you need a vacation
1.You’re on edge. Your inner dialogue is full of irrational villain-esque criticisms and nitpicking of absolutely everything. Things you normally wouldn’t flinch at or may have never bothered you before are now driving you crazy. You might snap at your S/O for leaving their dishes in the sink or maybe you curse the phone every time it rings – don’t they know you are busy (Netflix binging)?
2.You, um, forget stuff. You have so much weighing on your mind that you start forgetting about other, sometimes important, things. You know those days when you put on two different socks, can’t remember where you parked or maybe even forgot to pick your kids up from school? Too many of those days are a clear sign that you need a vacation to recharge.
3. Your passport is looking a little empty. When’s the last time you used that thing anyway? Better check before you start planning a trip. It might be time to renew.
4. You’re low on sunshine. Your doctor might have told you that you are lacking vitamin D, which is a common deficiency. Approximately 90 percent of vitamin D is made naturally by the body from sunlight, so go somewhere far from the fluorescent lights above your cubicle and soak in some rays. Sunshine is the best prescription and thankfully it’s free, but saving on other prescriptions you need is easy too.
5. When you order a pina colada at happy hour but it’s just not the same. And getting caught in the rain is not fun either.
6. New vices. Whether it’s a drink after work, snacking throughout the day, overeating or sneaking in an occasional smoke break, you’ve picked up an unhealthy habit to deal with the stresses of one long day after another. You clearly need a vacation, but in the meantime try exercising to release tension instead.
7. Vacation commercials make you overly emotional. What a perfect life that couple is having, splashing around on the beach and clinking champagne glasses in an infinity pool. And here you are eating chips in your sweatpants, trying to determine if it’s where they are, how happy they look or how great they look in a bathing suit that’s making you the most envious right now.
8. You don’t care. Motivation is lacking and you’ve been feeling depressed.
9. The most excitement your sunglasses have seen lately is the glare on your commute home – which, incidentally, is causing everyone to drive 5 mph (not a good combination with No. 1). Maybe you lost your sunglasses on your last vacation a million years ago.
10. You’re always tired. Too much stress can lead to having trouble sleeping, which can lead to trouble staying awake at your desk. If you’ve become best friends with the snooze button (not the best practice, by the way), your body is telling you that you need a vacation.
11. You can’t think. You have a deadline to meet, but all you can think about is if it’s Friday yet and how much you and your bed should be together. You find yourself unable to concentrate, easily distracted and no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to get your brain to work.
12. When you forget what it feels like to function without caffeine. Must. Have. Another cup of coffee…
13. The closest you’ve been to a spa is your own bathtub. Maybe you lit some candles. Treat yourself to a real spa day – massage, facial, sauna – the works.
14. Daydreaming all the time. In meetings, you find yourself lost in thoughts of palm trees and steel drum bands. And on the road, traffic becomes a mirage of a desolate beach. Just try not to daydream yourself into the car in front of you.
15. You’re thinking about deleting your social media accounts because you’re even starting to bore yourself now. Why does it seem like everyone else has time for a vacation?
16. Your bank account is not balanced. As in, most, if not all of the things you pay for are bills and necessities and not enough fun things that make you happy. Treat yourself!
17. You keep revisiting old photo albums and living vicariously through your happy, vacationing self. Time to get started on creating some fresh, new memories.So what’s the verdict? Do you need a vacation? Whether your ideal getaway involves exploring faraway destinations, a road trip, family time at a theme park or lounging around on a cruise or in the Caribbean, use those vacations days this year and come back better than ever.
The first step is planning
Project: Time Off found that planners were more likely than non-planners to use their time off on travel. What are you waiting for? Stop procrastinating and start making your much-needed vacation a reality. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Create a tentative budget and a schedule. Penciling in the date not only gives you something to look forward to but it gives you a goal to work towards.
- Research the pros and cons of traveling to your desired destination during your preferred time frame. Will the attractions and activities that you are most interested in seeing be available?
- Book with a travel agent. In addition to providing in-depth expertise about destinations across the globe, these professionals have relationships with cruise lines, hotels and tour operators and often have access to special rates and added benefits that you can’t find anywhere else.
- Take advantage of your travel company’s exclusive travel discounts on car rentals, flights, hotels, vacation packages and more.
- It can take up to six weeks to get a new passport. Make sure you have enough time to get all of the necessary documentation needed before you go on your trip.
- Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect against unforeseen events such as personal emergencies, weather-related delays and cancellations, and more.
This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated.