Taking a vacation and having a break is good for the body and mind. Stress is a leading cause of mental and physical health problems, and being self-employed, is more often than not, very stressful.
“What happens in the mind of a man, is always reflected in the diseases of his body”
Unfortunately, it can be difficult and stressful in itself, attempting to arrange and enjoy a vacation when you have a business to run. A working vacation or just a night away from home can usually be scheduled into most entrepreneur’s schedules. With this in mind, this article will look at why vacations are important and how, as business owners, we can maximize the stress-relieving properties that they offer.
Vacations are Good for Us
Stress relief is similar to diet and exercise, in that many of us know the benefits, we know what to do, but only a relatively small percentage of us eat healthily and exercise regularly.
In regards specifically to vacations, one study that followed 9,000 men found that those who take a regular annual holiday had a decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease over the period they were monitored. Suggested that vacationing is good for your health, or at least, associated with better health.
Maximizing the Positive Benefits of Vacations
Anticipation, Angela Carter once said, is the “greater part of pleasure.” By booking a vacation well in advance, the anticipation can act as a pressure release valve. During a tough day at the office or on the building site, looking forward and anticipating a vacation that you’ve booked months in advance can provide a sense of escape on the horizon. A study conducted by the University of Surrey found that people who take a vacation are happier than people who do not, but the happiness effect was at its most significant in the weeks before the holiday, not during.
In some cases, it can pay to plan. According to this Tedx Talk, planning five months ahead can provide the best value and cheapest deals on flights in many instances. Planning ahead and enjoying the sense of anticipation is great, but post-vacation happiness is also a significant mood enhancer. Those people who classed their vacation as either “relaxing” or “very relaxing” had significantly higher levels of post-vacation happiness for up to 8 weeks.
To enjoy a relaxing vacation, there are a few things that you should try to do; or not to do:
– Don’t check work emails
– Have realistic expectations – expect delays and noisy children!
– Spend time outside
– Consider a spa treatment
– Enjoy doing nothing
– Read a book
While relaxing vacations produce a noticeable increase in happiness when we come back home, this can be enhanced by storytelling or discussing your vacation with family and friends. You don’t necessarily have to show your friends all of your holiday photos – just recalling specific events can solidify happy memories and keep them front of mind for longer. Another way to capitalize on vacation memories is to print your favorite photos and frame them or add them to an album.
Tips for Business Owners
When you have dedicated many years to building up your business and your brand, it can be tough to take a step back away from the coal-face. It can also be difficult if you are a freelancer or a solopreneur; if you don’t work – you don’t get paid.
While a relaxing, work-free vacation is ideal, sometimes a change of scenery can be refreshing and produce well-being benefits. Even if you take a break and have to work during the day, you should still get the opportunity to explore or relax in the evenings.
If you want to work and explore, you could always hire a camper van or a motorhome and see if this lifestyle suits you. If you enjoy working and exploring, you could invest in a motorhome and enjoy impulsive getaways or leave on the road full time.
If you run your own business, then the following tips may also help you to enjoy a more relaxing getaway:
– Tell clients you are traveling
– Tell clients if you will be contactable
– Hire a virtual assistant to answer emails
– Hire a phone answering service to answer calls
– Schedule your social media and blog posts before you leave
– Set an email auto-responder (if you don’t hire a VA)
– Tell your bank you are traveling
– Tell your mobile phone network you are traveling
If you fly a lot with your business to visit clients and attend conferences, then using the same airline each time can allow you to build up loyalty points, which may make your vacation flights virtually free. You may also get exclusive perks; for example, with some airlines, if you are a frequent flyer, you won’t have to pay for bag or hand luggage, and you may even get free upgrades.
Having a list of items that you need to take can help with the preparation. Drawing up the list way before it’s time to pack can also help you enjoy the anticipation of the vacation. Researching can also be part of the fun. If you are traveling by car or motorhome, research your routes and stop-offs. It can be strangely thrilling to see a landmark or something simple like a café on your trip when you’ve seen it previously on Google Maps.
Keep security in mind if you are heading to a city with a work laptop or confidential work documents. If you have a motorhome, it may be worth investing in a smart doorbell or security camera.