CNN Money points to the results of a study indicating that Americans are forfeiting an average of four vacation days a year, up from just three days last year. The study suggests trades of vacation for cash, busy work schedules, and fear of reprisal led to those lost days.
While I haven’t forfeited any vacation days myself, I also haven’t taken any either since I started with my current employer two years ago. I have enough days saved up that I could take off and celebrate my favorite holiday–summer. But as the people around me start taking off whole weeks (and even months!), I’m feeling a bit of pressure to take a vacation myself. I’m just not the long vacation type of person, and apparently neither are the 37% of workers who have never taken more than a week off at a time.
So what are poor, overworked, vacation-hating people like us to do? Well, we’ll just have to find other ways of getting the benefits of a lengthy vacation without actually taking one. The key is to make the most of those days that you do manage to take off so that you feel like you were on vacation longer than you actually were. Here are some ways you can simulate the feeling of a long, restful vacation with just a few days off.
Five Ways to Maximize the Effects of Your Mini-Vacation
- Leave work at work. Finish up what you can before your vacation starts, and do your best not to touch any of your work again until you return. You might need to leave a contact number for emergencies, but only give it to a single person and make it clear that it’s to be used only as a last resort.
- Get away if you can. You’ll have a more relaxing vacation if the worries of work and home are far away. Even if it’s just the next city over, surround yourself with less familiar surroundings and you’ll find it easier to forget about what’s waiting for you when you return.
- Schedule some alone time. Even if your vacation is spent with family, you should still try to fit in some time just for yourself. Read a book, take a nice bath, or squeeze in a quick 18 holes on the golf course. The peace and quiet–however brief it may be–will do wonders for enhancing your time off.
- Avoid work-like vacations. Unless you know from previous experience that mountain climbing or exotic safaris are for you, stick with something less complicated like a luxury cruise or a trip to a bed and breakfast. It’ll give your body and your brain a better opportunity to recharge.
- Don’t start back on a Monday. Mondays are the hardest day of the work week, and having one be your first day back will suck all the fun out of your Sunday. Try to extend your vacation through Monday or even Tuesday to help your days off feel a little longer.
Have a tip for making the most out of your vacation? Take a few minutes off and leave your comments here or send it to Punny Money.