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Vacations Vs. Staycations:
Is Taking a Vacation More Trouble Than it’s Worth?

© 2012 Health Realizations, Inc.


It’s summer, the season for barbecues, swimming pools and of course the summer vacation. This year with the economy still sour, many people are scaling back, with 50 percent of Americans saying they won’t travel much this summer, according to a Gallup poll.


Once we’re on vacation, most of us have no trouble leaving work at work and enjoying ourselves. It’s the getting ready, and coming home, that present a problem.

Still, that leaves half of you who are likely planning to get away, a move that can do wonders for your stress levels and productivity once you get back to work feeling refreshed and well-rested.

At least, that’s what we’ve been told.

Take a study by the Families and Work Institute, which found that employees who are overworked (this would be those who do NOT take vacations) are more likely to:

  • Make mistakes

  • Be angry at their employers and colleagues who don’t work as hard

  • Have higher stress levels

  • Feel symptoms of clinical depression

  • Neglect themselves and report poor health

For some, vacations are what life is all about: a time to relax, rejuvenate and be your own boss, even if it’s only for one week a year.

As it turns out, however, relaxing is not the only word many would use to describe a vacation. Ironically, many instead call it stressful.

Vacations Stress Us Out

Ever heard someone say they need a vacation from their vacation once they returned home? Have you ever felt this way yourself? There could be several reasons why.

The Work Watch survey by Atlanta-based Randstad, a human resources company, revealed that even the thought of taking a vacation is stressful for workers.

Perhaps we are worried about an increased workload and the stack of assignments we’ll have waiting on our desk when we return. Or perhaps we’re worried we won’t even have a desk left to return to. Either way, both getting ready for the time away and coming back are stressful.

The worst part about taking a vacation, as you might suspect, is the first day back. A whopping 77 percent of those surveyed said this was the biggest source of stress, while 44 percent said the last day before leaving was the most traumatic.

Staycations: Get Away Without Going Anywhere


Relaxation is an essential tool for anyone needing or wanting to reduce their stress -- not just while you’re on vacation, but everyday.

There seems to also be differing opinions depending on age, with Generation Y employees (those between the ages of 18 and 34) finding it harder to give up their responsibilities. Thirty-five percent of Generation Y employees had difficulty giving up control of their projects while away, compared with 32 percent of Generation X (ages 35-44), 28 percent of those aged 45-54, and just 19 percent of those over 55.

Is it Time to Revamp Our Idea of “Vacations”? Consider a "Staycation" or Even a "Daycation"!

When you say “vacation” what do you picture? Disney World? A beach far, far away? Ski slopes? New York City? A spa somewhere in Arizona?

Clearly it’s different for all of us, but often “getting away” becomes a headache in and of itself. There’s planning, packing, preparing, not to mention the hefty costs. And while we’re on vacation, many of us cram as many activities into a day as possible, so as to squeeze every “relaxing” minute out of every day off. Some of us also choose to keep working even when we’re away.

It’s no wonder, then, that 50 percent of Americans need two days to unwind after returning from their vacation -- and 50 percent need more than two days, according to the Families and Work Institute study.
And what, then, is the point?

The purpose of a vacation is to relax and take time doing the things you love and enjoy most. Whatever those things may be.

Now here’s something to think about: a vacation does not have to mean jetting off to an exotic locale. You can get many of the same stress relief and relaxation, perhaps even more, by getting away for just one day or a long weekend, as long as it’s to someplace truly peaceful, such as a forest preserve, beach, your potting shed in the backyard -- even plopped in the tub listening to relaxing music.

Travel trends are going this way already, with families planning more day and weekend trips instead of weeklong vacations, according to the U.S. Travel Association. You’ve likely heard the terms “staycation” and “daycation”? Well, that’s exactly what they’re describing, and everyone from TV stations to retail outlets are trying to cater to those looking to “get away” while staying close to home.

So this summer, instead of stressing over how to find the time and money to plan an extravagant vacation, spend some weekends playing closer to home. There’ll be less stress, less expense especially with skyrocketing gas prices and likely more of the relaxation you've been longing for.


New York Times

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