Last month I said I was going to write a blog about vacation, but ended up not writing about it because I went on vacation.  Doesn’t it seem like I should feel guilty about that?  Actually no, there are big benefits to taking a vacation and I’m glad I took the time.

So what are the benefits of taking a vacation?  Here’s a partial list:

  • Reduce stress – People who take vacation come back less stressed. Vacations lower blood pressure, reduce the chances of a heart attack, and can keep you from saying what you really think to an obnoxious co-worker.
  • Gain fresh ideas – When’s the last time you came up with an amazing idea when you were really stressed? Vacations help us to relax and see things with a fresh set of eyes.  During one vacation I came up with the business concept of serving margaritas to patrons lounging in hammocks in Northern Michigan.  It may still happen.
  • Learn new things – There’s a line in a song that I like that says “The more I see the less I know.” Vacations expose us to new places, people, and customs.  We can learn a lot from these and use them to expand our horizons.
  • Quality time with family and friends – Having time away with the people you care about is a terrific way to build memories. (Like when Tami set off the fire alarm in our hotel).
  • Have some fun – Don’t we all want a little more of this?
  • Be a Facebook star – Show your vacation pictures on Facebook to impress your friends and show off to your neighbors.
  • Create a positive atmosphere at work – What do you notice about people right before or after they go on vacation? They are usually super happy.  That happiness is contagious and it impacts their co-workers in a positive way.  If you’re not super happy about going on vacation, then your absence might be the thing that your co-workers enjoy the most!

So with all of these benefits, why do the majority of Americans leave behind unused vacation time?   Many feel that there’s too much work to be done to get away, but often the opposite is true.  Going on vacation forces us to be organized, to delegate and develop the bench strength of our teams.

Great leaders lead by example and taking a vacation is a way to encourage others to do the same.  It also says “I trust you” when you turn over the reins and go off the grid.

So get out there and put on your hiking boots, yoga pants, swimsuit, or whatever and enjoy some time away during Michigan’s too short of a summer season.  The work will be there when you get back.

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