Professional women frequently think, “Vacation -- are you kidding? With all these work projects and responsibilities and laundry building up?” Yet, a vacation is probably just what is needed to enhance productivity and creativity at work, as well as better functioning in the family. If you are not sure you need a brief getaway, take this short quiz. Read these statements and count how many of them describe you:
1.) I’m snapping more at my spouse or family.
2.) I am not as productive at work.
3.) I have been getting more colds, headaches, or stomach upsets.
4.) At night I feel as though I’ve “hit the wall” and just collapse into bed.
5.) My husband and I are living friendly but separate lives.
6.) The household looks as though a tornado hit it.
If three or more of these statements apply to you, then you would benefit from a brief vacation. Here are six ways a getaway can help.
1.) Knowing you are going away increases your effectiveness at work. You get more focused and say no to the less urgent things at work -- like going out to lunch or running across town to that new wine store. The prospect of a vacation can also spark better family functioning. Suddenly, mom realizes, for example, that she is doing too many of the family tasks. Preparing for the vacation heightens her awareness that she needs to delegate some of the family responsibilities to her spouse and children.
2.) As work and family life get out of control, the stress hormone cortisol compromises health and effectiveness. Bodies need a break from being in overdrive for too long.
3.) Brains need a vacation from stress hormones. When there is a work problem, over-concentrating on it blocks out good ideas. The brain repeats a person’s problem-solving habits. Using the same techniques lessens the expression of new solutions. Remember when a “lightning bolt of an idea” hit you while driving, cooking, or taking a shower? This phenomenon happens when the brain is freed up to activate other neurons that permit new thoughts. So, try lying on the beach, strolling through a quaint town, or bird watching to allow the brain to relax its focus and invite in new plans.
4.) Busy professional, married women sometimes short-change their spouses emotionally. Vacations provide time to renew passion and closeness. A refreshed marriage produces the calming hormones that counteract the negative side effects of too many stress hormones.
5.) If you include your children on your vacation, you strengthen your relationships with them. When you and your children are having fun is one of the best times to introduce new family rules and responsibilities. During fun times because the brain’s pleasure hormones dominate, they can blunt children’s potential negative reactions to increased tasks and expectations.