In America, working is everything. When you meet someone new, one of the first questions asked is, “what do you do?” It’s then funny that as we work, we’re always looking forward to our next break or vacation. We often fantasize about wanting a big adventure or relaxing getaway.
However, according to USA Today, the United States is the only developed country in the world without a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday. By law, every country in the European Union has at least four work weeks of paid vacation.
Those of us who work a part-time or full-time job value our vacation time greatly. This is not only because of how little time we get, but also because of how difficult it is to coordinate a vacation. When we think of the word “vacation,” we often pair it with the idea of a European tour or tropical getaway and always costing a lot of money. The thought of the steps it takes to go on a vacation often deters us or makes us want a vacation from our vacation.
As kids, we’re forced to take a vacation. Schools give students summers off, allowing them to take a much-needed break from working six hours a day, five days a week. I loved my summer breaks as a student. Since my parents are teachers, they also had summers off, allowing the time for family vacations.
We road tripped often, visiting family across the country, stopping at landmarks, and developing a closer family bond. I am so grateful for the vacations and time spent all together–it made me fond of traveling and open and respectful of all walks of life.
As I’m getting older and working more and more, I notice I have less and less time for taking breaks or vacations. In the US, jobs rarely support vacations, asking for longer hours, working more days a week, being on call, or making it difficult to request the days you want off.
Our culture of work is so baffling to many other countries. Over here, work is a supposed priority in our lives. We hear motivational quotes and speakers spouting, “work hard to get ahead,” “hard work pays off,” “time is money,” or “just do it.” I’m not insinuating one shouldn’t work hard, only that we often relate how hard we work to success.
Whenever I have a free moment, I often think, “I could be doing something more productive right now.” When we aren’t working, we feel we are being lazy or unproductive. This is how ingrained the culture of always working has affected us. We can’t simply take a break without these thoughts and worries always in the back of our minds.
Recently, I’ve realized how much work I’m always doing. Since I keep myself well organized and plan out my week, I don’t usually notice how little free time I have. I am currently a full-time master’s student, part-time employee, part-time freelancer, and full-time social media coordinator for Little With Great Love. It’s all of these jobs, and more, that I have to juggle and maintain, leaving me little time for breaks.
Why Should We Take a Break/Vacation
I’ve realized that if I don’t take a break, I burn out, not allowing me to give my best work. Taking a break/vacation is anything but lazy and unproductive. If we don’t do it, our work suffers, and more importantly, we suffer.
Life nowadays is always moving and nonstop. Like I said above, when we finally stop for a moment and have nothing to do, we feel like we are being unproductive and could be using that time for something else. Having moments of nothingness is not a bad thing at all; it’s, in fact, much needed.
In those moments of silence, we can really find peace. It gives us time to simply sit and listen to God in the silence. We tend to be afraid of silence, but “silence can lead us to a deeper sense of self. As we slow down and take times of silence, we calm the anxious spirit within. The transformation begins physically, as we slow down our heart rate, and our breathing deepens and slows,” perfectly written by my friend Tammi in The Calming Power of Silence.
Taking a vacation to somewhere we’ve always wanted to go to ignites a fire in ourselves. It makes us so happy, it motivates us, and sparks adventure within us. Getting away from our homes for one night can make all the difference in refreshing our hearts and minds. Even if you are working from home and can’t really “vacation”– just staying somewhere close by and working in a new location for a couple of days provides a small break and refreshing change of scenery.
How Do I Take Breaks Amongst the Madness of Life
When the quarantine, started I knew it would be hard to separate work life and home life, so I decided to stop all work at 8 pm. However, as I mention in my Getting Your Sleep Schedule Back on Track blog, I ended up sleeping in and going past my 8 pm cutoff time to finish assignments.
I decided to wake up earlier to relax in the morning, allowing me more time in the day to do my work, and stick to my 8 pm work cutoff. This is how I manage to take mini breaks in my days.
Planning my week, I try to give myself at least one day where I don’t do any work. This involves some sacrifice. I can either spread out my work in the week, giving me more time each day, or I can pile more work into one day to give myself that free day.
I try to use my free day for me time or quality time with my boyfriend. We usually take off Wednesdays and go to adoration together for a bit, then spend the day watching movies, going in the pool, or going somewhere laid back for a date. I look forward to these days, especially that they’re on a Wednesday. This gives me a nice break in the middle of my busy week–refreshing me to continue on.
Why Are Vacations Important
As I said before, when we think of the word “vacation,” we often pair it with the idea of a European tour or tropical getaway, which usually cost a lot of money. The thought of the steps it takes to go on a break often deters us or makes us want a vacation from our vacation. Often times we think of this time away as a luxury just because our definition of a vacation is a big trip traveling somewhere new.
Vacations can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. All that matters is that you feel detached from your normal working life. It’s funny that the word vacation has a definition of “an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling,” but its Latin root means to “be unoccupied.” We get all tied up in the where and what of vacationing that we don’t feel “unoccupied.” The whole point is to just be present.
Now, we all have different approaches to vacations. Some people want to sit and do nothing, some want to visit museums, and others want to eat, drink, and dance–it’s whatever gives your mind a break in a healthy way.
Personally, I love traveling and love to see new places and try new food and drinks that I can’t have back at home. This is what makes me feel detached from my hustle and bustle back at home and allows me to do something out of the ordinary. We don’t need to go to Europe to get this experience. We can simply go to a city or town nearby that you don’t usually go to. You will instantly feel detached and get that vacation feeling without spending a lot of money.
I’m on Vacation Right Now!
Can you believe it?! I’m writing a blog on my vacation, gasp! As you read above, I am a very busy person, juggling multiple jobs. Luckily, everything is work-from-home right now, and has been for months. I knew I couldn’t take the adventurous vacation I’ve been dying for, but I could go somewhere for a week and work-from-home there!
I’m sitting in my Aunt Lisa’s house (our LWGL founder) and feel so grateful to be able to sit here and work with new company and good food and drinks in the evenings. I encourage you, reader, to find time in your day for a break. I know you need it because I desperately did. I’m always here for you, and you can always contact me or anyone on the team through social media or on the site. You’re amazing and deserving of a break!