Why You SHOULD Take a Vacation

Are you taking a vacation this summer?  No, I just have too much going on at work; I can’t afford it right now: I wish I was, but I just can’t swing it.  Those are comments that I hear a lot from my clients.  The perils of NOT taking a vacation have been well documented.  Dealing with stress and burnout top the list.

If I told you that I had a way for you to jumpstart your business, that you would discover ways to break the grind that you are in, and that you will come up with new creative business solutions, would you be interested?  If you are like my clients, you would be willing to listen at least.  And you probably have already figured out that taking a vacation is the secret.

Still not convinced?  This is the icing on the cake:  You will improve your health and longevity.  I am pretty sure everyone wants to live longer!  A State University of New York survey found that men who took annual vacations reduced their risk of death by 20 percent. And a study by Wisconsin Medical Journal found that women who took frequent vacations were less likely to become depressed, tense, or tired.

Hopefully by now, you are rethinking your resistance to taking a vacation.  It doesn’t have to be to an exotic place or expensive—it can even be a staycation.  My coaching client, Damon, from Maverick Window and Doors, turned a command performance at a family reunion into a vacation that did everything I promised and more.

Damon’s family reunion in Canada was an opportunity to not only rekindle some long-distance family relationships, but also some cherished childhood friends.  An extra bonus was the car trip with his college-bound son from Southern California to Canada— a unique opportunity for some quiet reflection road time and also time to just be with his son.

We talked about how having this reflection time was a great opportunity to visualize how he wanted his life to be when he got back.  We also talked about him purposefully making some “gratitude gifts” with his family and friends at the reunion.

I was anxious to talk to Damon when he returned.   He shared with me how valuable his reflection time was:  “I looked ahead—at my life as I see it, including my daily routine, myself, my health, my business and I just pictured a joyous, happy me.”  He realized as a result that there was a lot that he wanted to let go of.  “I can’t carry all this around all the time.”  He has wanted to do this for a long time, but now he has a compelling reason to really do it—he realizes that it will get him to the vision that he wants to achieve.  When he was in the middle of the grind, it was impossible to see that.

But the best part of Damon’s vacation was making the gratitude gifts.  When he openly shared with one of his childhood friends about how he felt, his friend looked at him with tears in his eyes and said, “That’s so cool that you would say that.”  Damon said, “I just had such a good, warm feeling.”

The summer is half over.  How about squeaking out some time to take a vacation if you haven’t already?  And while you are scheduling a vacation, schedule in some gratitude gifts to go along.

I’d love to hear your experiences of taking or not taking a vacation.  What do you think about making a gratitude gift on your next vacation?



p.s. I always am interested in what you think about these discussions. Please post your thoughts on the blog…your constructive criticism and support is appreciated!
Dr. Lynn K. Jones, Certified Personal and Executive Coach

Your Mojo Maven

Dr. Lynn K. Jones is a Certified Personal and Executive Coach. Her doctoral work completed at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University concerned organizational culture; she coaches, consults and trains organizations on what they need to do to create organizational cultures that are aligned with their vision and values.  An MSW@USC faculty member, Dr. Lynn K. Jones, MSW, DSW, CSWM, teaches Human Behavior and Social Environment.


  1. Kymberly on July 23, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Any chance you came across research showing women live longer with more vacations? Glad for those men, but I want to live longer too so I can take more vacations! Like that circularity? Like Damon, I got a chance to spend 11 days in a row with my daughter and teen nephew as we drove across the country to drop my daughter’s car and her at college. Time I will always remember!

    • lynnkjones on July 23, 2011 at 10:01 pm

      It is a problem that women never make it into these studies. What does that say about our society? I am pretty sure that the impact on women is the same as men, so keep on taking those vacays Kymberly! I loved hearing about your road trip with your daughter and your nephew. What a special opportunity.

    • Dragan on July 25, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      I’m always fascinated when people state “X” makes you live longer. In order to establish that, one would need to control for any other variable which is impossible. I’m sure vacations can be relaxing and help relieve some stress, but the living longer part isn’t convincing. The things people do day-to-day can have much more of an impact on their longevity than an occasional vacation. Thought I’d point that out.

      • lynnkjones on July 26, 2011 at 12:41 am

        Hi Dragan, You make a good point, but actually this study does have a lot of credibility. It was a large scale study of 12,000 men and they did control for a lot of variables. I didn’t report it in the blog, but the findings were actually not only that they reduced their risk of death by 20% BUT ALSO their risk of death from heart disease by 30%.
        Thanks for reading and adding to the discussion!

  2. Mystery novelist on July 25, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Vacations — real vacations — are elusive in the age of cells and laptops. When we’re always accessible at least part of us is always on the job. But turn off the electronics — that takes courage. And independence.

    • lynnkjones on July 26, 2011 at 12:42 am

      I agree! I wonder how much the risk of death is reduced by an electronics free vacation? Maybe they should study that next time!

  3. Calla Gold on July 31, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Vacations are incredibly important! Taking the time to take a break makes a huge difference both personally and professionally. We have to take a little time off to recharge and relax.

    • Executive Coach on August 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm

      And we can get so much more done when we do recharge and relax! Thanks for the good reminder, Calla!

  4. Cheap Social Worker on August 2, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Vacations are a crucial form of self-care, especially for us social workers! It’s a time away from the stress and anxiety associated with working, and a means to prevent burnout. Personally, if I didn’t take vacations, I don’t know how I would last in this field!

    With that said, I’m planning on taking a week long vacation at the end of this month. Can’t wait!

    • Executive Coach on August 3, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Awesome, cheap social workers on your week off! You are so right, that vacations are important for people in high-stress jobs like social work. So many social workers (and others) are struggling to makes ends meet. What are your suggestions for an affordable get-away from the job?

      • Patricia on August 3, 2011 at 6:54 pm

        I know many yoga studios have a one week (your first week trial) for $20 all you can yoga. For outdoors, I would think where you live matters…but museums usually have a free day! I had to interject…I am pretty good at going on the cheap. 🙂

        • Executive Coach on August 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm

          Great ideas! I am in Dallas today and discovered that the Arboretum has Dollar Days in August. (Only $! entrance in August.) So museums and other civic vacation spots are a great idea!

      • Cheap Social Worker on August 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm

        I’m actually going to Las Vegas during the weekday, so rooms are significantly cheaper. In fact, I booked 4 nights at the Flamingo for only $25 a night (Monday-Thursday). The amount I’m paying for airfare (with Spirit Airlines) is still more expensive than my hotel.

        I think two things social workers can do to save on some costs is to book early and book during the off season to make the most of your money. For social workers who are on a tight budget, even a short weekend trip camping or to a nearby town can do wonders in relieving the stress of work!

        • Executive Coach on August 7, 2011 at 2:55 am

          Sounds great, Cheap Social Worker. You are so right, a little advance planning can make vacations affordable. Wish I could do that more!

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