Ever get vacation guilt? That feeling where guilt about lying around, ignoring your emails and not being productive creeps in? It happens and I daresay it’s happened to me. As much as I love vacation, as a small business owner, I tend to feel like the longer I’m on vacation the more my to-do list piles up. Apparently, it’s not just me because a US Travel Association study found that 40 percent of Americans leave paid vacation days unused. But the truth is, vacation is healthy – yes, it’s good for your health! Research shows that those who don’t take vacation get sick more often, are less productive, feel more stressed and anxious and are more depressed.
If you need a reason why you should take full advantage of your vacation time, here are three good ones:
One // Your stress levels will plummet. At the very least, most of us experience chronic levels of low-stress on a daily basis. By taking regular vacation time, you give yourself a break from your chronically stressful lifestyle. Chronic stress over time can disrupt every system of your body from your immune system, nervous system and digestive system. It increases the risk of stroke and heart attack and also speeds the aging process.
Two // The mental break will boost your creativity and productivity. Similar to the concept of taking a rest day from exercise to give your body a chance to rest and rebuild, giving your your mind a chance to reset and refresh can help you come back to work even more productive. Sometimes, a change of scenery is just what you need to feel more inspired and energized to get sh*t done.
Three // Your metabolism will benefit. It’s true! Your metabolism needs a break too. What does that even mean? If you’re someone who puts a lot of time and effort into eating healthy and exercising as part of your daily routine, you may be putting extra stress on your metabolism. That little break (i.e. skipping a few workouts and eating a few treats) can benefit your metabolism. Some people even find that they lose or keep their weight steady on vacation even though their daily routine isn’t as strict as it is at home.
David and I put these concepts into practice during our Summer trip to The South of France and Ibiza. People warned us that these locations would be swarmed with travelers in August but we didn’t find them to be any busier than usual. I think a big part of why this trip allowed us to relax and and experience fewer crowds was because of where we chose to stay.
In France, we visited St. Raphael, a resort town in southeastern France on the Cote de Azur. We stayed at Hotel Les Roches Rouges, a luxury, boutique property that was a little off the beaten path. The service at the hotel was stellar and the setting was pristine and there were so many little extra touches like the decor and bespoke welcome drinks that made this hotel special.
Most of our four days in the South of France were spent lounging pool and oceanside, but we took one day to drive to Saint Tropez where we visited the famous Place de Lices, an open-air market hosted every Tuesday and Saturday morning. Afer that, we spent the rest of the day at a local beach club where we had lunch and enjoyed the ocean.
All of the food we had in France was fantastic from fresh oysters in Nice to every morsel of the tasting menu at Le Terrace at Les Roches Rouges.
From France, we headed to Ibiza, an island off the east coast of Spain, for four more relaxing and picturesque days. Ibiza gets a reputation for its party scene but we didn’t experience that at all while we were there. We stayed at Ca Na Xica, a boutique hotel on the rural north side of the island surrounded by nature – lush greenery, fruit and olive trees, rich red soil and beautiful flowers.
What we appreciated about our time in both France and Spain is that we were surrounded by natural beauty. Both resorts used the natural surroundings to their advantage to create an oasis from the more touristy parts of the areas and their surroundings.
In Ibiza, we spent lots of time pool-side, a day at a beach club where we rented sunbeds, ate lunch and shopped the local fashions at the beachside stands and spent a day sailing on the Mediterranean to catch the Ibizan sunset.
The Ibizan vibe is super relaxed so the restaurants we went to were charming and laid back (think quaint garden-party) and although fresh, the food didn’t blow us away.
On our way back stateside, we spent one night in Madrid where we stumbled on a cute cafe for juice, smoothie and salad, strolled in Parque del Buen Retiro and ate dinner at the creative and sophisticated Bibo by Michelin-starred chef, Dani Garcia.
Of course, the hardest part of vacation is leaving. David and I make so many wonderful memories on these trips that it’s always difficult to say goodbye, but we come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle our respective work.
The next time that vacation guilt creeps in, remember that your vacation is healthy and yes, you need it (that’s why it’s there) so take it!