When is your next day off? And what will you do with it?

So, here we are, about half way through summer. Have you had your vacation yet?

There’s been a lot of chatter about us here in the United States who don’t take advantage of our vacation time. Project: Time Off tells us that while there’s been a slight uptick in the amount of vacation we take each year, 54% of us still left vacation unused last year. (Check their website here to read more of the details.)

The common reasons include the feeling that your boss will find you expendable if you go. At the same time, the people who take their vacations are considered better at their job and are more likely to be promoted and receive raises.

When I think about it, it seems like we shoot ourselves in the foot with the argument about being expendable. If it’s our insecurity that our boss will find out they can do without us, and that same insecurity keeps us from earning raises and promotions, what good are we doing ourselves?

We need our time off to keep stress from building up. To clear our heads. To regroup. And it doesn’t have to involve expensive travel and hotel unless you want it to. In fact, doing a big vacation can leave you more tired if it’s constant go-go-going! The right answer for you may be taking Friday’s off for the summer. Or it could be that making better choices on how you spend your weekends will take the edge off for you.

Can’t get away for long? How about a simple alternative?

·       Our state and national parks are beautiful and inexpensive, and there’s likely to be one not far from you.

·       Try a bed & breakfast instead of using a hotel. These are generally much more relaxing and comfortable than most cookie-cutter hotels. Make any trip more relaxing, or even the destination itself.

·       Get creative. Find an art fair to get inspired. Then take a class to learn a new craft.

·       Chill. Visit the library and pick out some light summer reading, grab a cold drink, and spend some time outside in the shade. Getting away from the air conditioner once in a while is a good thing.

·       Go on a picnic. You probably won’t remember the project you worked on last week forever. But I still remember an impromptu picnic that I shared with a friend when I was 19.  

·       Go to an outdoor concert.  

Just make sure you don’t over-program your time off.

All of us need time. To just. Stop.

 

What are some of your favorite, low-cost ideas for relaxing on your time off? Share them with us in the comments below!