Sarah May Bates
July 08, 2012 7:00 am

It’s tough to let go of work, routine and that list of things to do in favor of something that can feel much more stressful: relaxation. Vacations have gotten harder and harder to commit to, especially when you’re expected to respond to emails and texts within the hour. This “connected” way of living can slowly disconnect us from our bodies, keeping us half-somewhere else or anticipating where we’re going next. Time goes faster and personal reflection slips away. Vacation is one way we can schedule it back in again.

The benefits of a vacation are easy to forget when you haven’t had one in a long time. It can seem frivolous and almost irresponsible when you’re riding an epic wave of productivity. Besides a nice tan and some healthy stress-reduction, vacation can give us a renewed self-awareness that is separate from our constructed life. It’s a very specific reset button that reminds us of who we really are when everything else is stripped away. And it gives us more ability to stay in tuned with that person when we return to our work/home bubble. The better you know yourself, the easier life gets, the more confident you can be, and the more successful and happy you can be. And that is a worthwhile benefit.

Taking time for travel and relaxation also serves as a marker that will make this year of life more memorable. You will see change that has already occurred in yourself for the first time, and you will see where you’re headed much more clearly. Almost like drawing a line on the doorway when you were little: you wouldn’t see the change unless you compared it to the year previous, and without novel experiences it’s difficult to draw lines in our memories.

If you are one of those people that cannot feel comfortable relaxing and your anxiety pushes you to busy yourself constantly, try yoga, hiking, or swimming on your vacation. And when that wave of guilt tells you that you really should check your email, commit to saying no. Commit to your present, and know that the world will continue on whether you answer return emails or not. That muscle will grow stronger over time, and then it will feel natural, almost like a do-not-disturb setting on your brain.

Take some time to check-in and reconnect while vacation-season is still upon us. Get to a place that makes you feel far away from everything “home.” Even that’s just for a day, give yourself the chance to reconnect with the sun, sleeping in, and simply who you are.

Happy summer and happy Sunday, lovely people! xox Sarah

(Image via Shutterstock)

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