The Freedom of a Vacation: Why Would We Give That Up?

Copyright JC Politi Photography


Without the ability to be gay and treat serious things lightly after the serious thinking is done and the decision is reached, I doubt whether any man could long carry the job of being President of the United States.
Eleanor Roosevelt

An article in the New York Times called “Vacation Sabotage: Don’t Let it Happen to You,” is interesting, especially in light of the robust discussions we have had on this blog about the challenges of finding work-life balance.

The article discusses things that we do to ensure that we are unable to relax, even when on vacation.It offers several helpful tips and suggestions.

We all know how this works and this article validates our experience. The first few days of vacation, it can be difficult to unwind. The last few days of a vacation, we dread returning to real life. Hopefully, we can find a few days in between, where we actually relax.

With the onslaught of technology, especially e-mail and smart phones, many of us remain connected even while on vacation. I am guilty of this myself. I don’t want to return to an avalanche of messages in my inbox, so I handle minor things while on vacation.

But I have considered the dangers of doing this. If something significant occurs and I learn about it while on vacation, what happens to the relaxation and disconnection that is meant to help prepare me to handle these crisis in a better way upon my return?

I lived in New York City when I graduated from college. I remember being overwhelmed by the intensity of the city. I thought Central Park would be a refuge from all of that, but I found the intensity still palpable; it like people were intensely relaxing.

I have written much here about the importance of slowing down and finding a balance between work and life. But if we cannot even give ourselves permission to disconnect when we’re on vacation, what hope do we have?

CopyrightJC Politi Photography

The good news in the article is that we seem to view three day weekends and one day holidays differently than we do vacations.

So, this 4th of July, for those of you in the United States, let’s commit to turning off our work messages completely.

Let’s enjoy the heat that slows everything to a snail’s pace and notice the coolness of the water when we swim and the savor the tastes of the food on the grill and a refreshing cold drink. Let’s take time to laugh with family and friends and play with our pets. Now THAT is freedom!

What do you think? Do we feel the need to remain connected when we are on vacation because of the expectations of our employers or do our employers have these expectations because we remain connected on vacation? Do you have trouble disconnecting when you are on vacation? Do you check e-mail when you are gone?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!


Filed under Business, Career Planning, Culture, Economy, Education, Health, Parenting, Peace, Photos, Relationships, Social Media, social pressures, travel

27 responses to “The Freedom of a Vacation: Why Would We Give That Up?

  1. Very nice. I didn’t slow down until I retired but we still continue to carry the feeling we should be doing. I like the need to have balance in life. Blessed be.

  2. I think a vacation means TIME AWAY … from everything … we all need to just leave the beeping, pinging and ringing behind every once in a while … and it makes no difference if it’s a day a week or a month,

  3. In the past I have had a hard time disconnecting but I vow with this new job to disconnect completely when on vacation. I deserve my vacation!

    • You do. And I will make the commitment with you! It is so hard. I know people who have trouble taking vacations – I don’t have that, but sometimes I think the price of a long vacation is to make sure no balls fall while I’m gone. A growth opportunity, huh? 🙂 Thanks for the comment! This and the my last post both make me think of your journey/destination question, especially as it applies to ambition. You are right, the journey is where it’s at!

  4. Good post! Perhaps your advice for the three day weekend might also work for longer periods throughout the year — just to unwind. Sometimes keeping up is an exhausting activity! There needs to be down-time when we re-charge the batteries!

    • I agree. The article recommends that we think of vacations as a series of three day weekends so we don’t kill ourselved trying to get out the door. That is always a challenge for me! Some people say it makes it not worth it to take a vacation, but I am DEFINITELY not in that camp! 🙂 Thanks for reading and being my biggest fan! 🙂

  5. I’m returning home to NH in a few days, so you’ve given me a reminder of what my priorities should be. I’m pretty addicted to checking my e-mail and now enjoy blogging, but I might put it all aside for the 4-5 days. Laptop will stay in Kentucky.

    • Good for you and glad I can be a good influence! Hopefully I will follow my own advice and walk my talk in September when I go on vacation. And in December when I go on vacation again! 🙂

  6. Amy

    With the onslaught of technology, some people have very little or no excuse not to remain connected… Checking emails is okay, just don’t do the real work.

  7. When we cannot afford to go somewhere for a vacation, Hubby prefers to add a few days to weekends, here and there finding the shortened work week almost as relaxing as a whole week or two. 🙂

    • That is a good way to take a break. Actually, we stay home for Thanksgiving and it is our favorite holiday. I really disconnect then. No travel, good food. We love it! There is something wonderful about a “staycation!” Thanks for the comment!

  8. Another great topic, Jen. Switching off is a discipline like any other. There is a real temptation to just do that one small extra thing. Doing that gives you a temporary sense of closure and satisfaction. However, I learned that the faster and more you do, the more unrealistic the deadlines and impositions become. This is whether it involves sacrificing vacation time or staying back after work. I’m not talking about a genuine urgent deadline, which is a different kettle of fish, but rather that thing that really could have waited, but which you chose to do. People have a way of finding a way to fill an empty cup. If that works for you then fine, but the long term benefits of really switching off for a couple of days far outweights that instant gratification hit of crossing something off your list. Just my two cents and hope your 4th of July goes off with a bang :)!

    • I couldn’t agree more. This is somethingI really need to work on, so this is like a great min-therapy session for me! 😉 You inspired me with your post yesterday and I am ready to disconnect tomorrow for the 4th. Baby steps! 🙂 And hopefully there wlll be no kettles of fish – I love that phrase! 🙂 Thanks for your comment and for reading!!

  9. I in no way ever felt guilty about going on a 2 week vacation. We either have the right to go on a 100% vacation or not. And the labor laws say we do. That settles it for me.

    • So simple and yet so complicated for many. Maybe the nurse in you understood the importance of disconnecting for health reasons. We could all learn from you! Thanks so much for your comment!

  10. Pingback: Do you Prioritize Your Life or Your Work? Maybe It Is Time to Rethink | newsofthetimes

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