People always make adventures sound fun, and, they are! I mean, you get to get out of your comfort zone, try on some new experiences, and push your envelope hoping at the end you come back refreshed and full of vigor and new resolve. However, most of us come back wanting a vacation to recover from our vacation! What I mean is- new adventures can be stressful all unto themselves, whether it is in work or play. While they can sound fun, there always seems to be a ‘price’ paid…
There was a study conducted that talked about how people that are under a lot of stress may actually harm their health dropping out of it for a vacation (http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/relaxing-may-be-hazardous-your-health). See, when we are under stress our body dumps a lot of chemicals into our system that helps us maintain the pace and we get dependent on those chemicals, just like an addict wants for a fix. This phenomena is called the Letdown Effect. So, when on vacation, those hormones and chemicals get a break, unfortunately, our system can’t handle it and ‘things’, bad things, start to happen. What this means is you should have a system of handling stress on a day-to-day basis and not expect your annual vacation to do it all. Sure, you will feel better, after, but who wants to feel crappy on vacation?
Does that mean vacationing should be avoided for all those Type A, stress junkies? No. However, I would advise a life size-up. A life size-up is a process of figuring out what you really want. Is it a high stress job? Or a life where a vacation won’t kill you or at least make you feel sick? I used to think my work world would fall apart if I wasn’t there more than a week. Granted the emails piled up but work still went on. My absence was like a pebble in the pond… immediately it started to fill from the water around it. I retired, in what seemed like ten minutes, and I had already been replaced. The regret? I wish I had spent more time enjoying the smell of roses and watching my kids grow instead of needing a break after a vacation to recover. They always seemed to survive without me and my stress really accomplished nothing.
Sure, the money was great, we had lots of lawn ornaments (my name for all the toys we had in the garage not being used because we were too busy) but they really weren’t worth it in the end. Time enjoying life- that is the real vacation. Precious time with those you love and fill your heart and soul with peace. Find the balance between work and life and give your work stress back to work. Your health needs you!