Small changes make big differences.

Tuesdays with MOJO / Post Vacation Optimism

Marjorie Spitz Rento2 Comments

I am experiencing post vacation optimism (PVO) – a state I’ll define as an elongated period of contentment that extends way beyond expected after one returns to the day-to day from vacation.  No I have not become some hippy dippy “life is good” t-shirt wearing freak.   This is new for me, and I keep looking left and right to see if it’s going to wear off in a flash.  

Like most people, post vacation blues is typically part of my get-away experience.   You know, that time upon returning from a fabulous trip when one quickly goes from feeling euphoric, to “oh crap why did I ever leave only to come back to stacks of work,” and being totally overwhelmed.   Well that hasn’t changed – my work has piled up, and I am behind on phone calls and organizing.  Yet one week after returning from my Italian Adventure with my nephew, I actually feel…happy.   

What was different?  What was causing this new effect?  I planned well, but I always do so that couldn’t be it.  I did unpack right away, which felt good (I can often let a bag sit for a few days – much to the chagrin of my husband).  I got some rest (although I didn’t adjust to the jet lag until Sunday).  The day after my return I took the day to review some emails and do a few calls, but didn’t schedule a full day.   I got a great report from my knee doctor, even though I overdid the walking – who knew I was supposed to wear knee socks?  I spent quality time with the hubby, who had set up a whole new sound system for us while I was away, which was thrilling to come home to.  I saw some good friends over the 4th.   And of course, I had a fabulous time while away.

Perhaps the fact that I went back to work for one day and then had a three day weekend a good strategy, but I don’t think that had a huge impact.  Even though yesterday was a killer day – you know, one of those days when I thought I had everything under control, but realized I didn’t about an hour or two in – my PVO persisted.

Maybe it’s because I came back to the great news of marriage equality, the US Women’s soccer team win and shark week (love that Discovery Channel!).  But, there were also the troubles in Greece, dirty laundry and shark attacks.

After evaluating all of that, I realized I hadn’t done much differently than in the past.   The fact is, I feel giddy about my vacay, and content with being back, whereas many who are down after vacation feel resentful that he/she took the time off. 

I couldn’t pinpoint why, but no post vacation depression for me – not this time.  I’ll take it!

Post vacation blues is so common, that it often results in people not taking vacation at all.

According to Glassdoor's Q1 2014 Employment Confidence Survey – the average U.S. employee only takes half of his or her eligible vacation time.

A web MD article cites a survey by the U.S. Travel Association who found that 4 out of 10 Americans aren’t going to take their vacation days because “they’re not exactly enthusiastic about the work they’ll find on their desk when they return.”  They call it “Rise of the Work Martyr: A “Mountain of Work” That “Nobody Else Can Do.”

Rubbish!  No one is that important – get over yourselves people!

One needs time off to decompress, recharge, and reconnect with family. 

"Vacations are not trivial," says Frank Farley, PhD, a leading clinical psychologist, professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, and former president of the American Psychological Association. "In this workaholic America, we have to treat them as precious stuff ... keep alive the good feelings and relaxing times."

Studies show that there are not only significant health benefits to taking time off, but work benefits as well.  A break from work results in increased productivity, brainpower, focus and perspective.  In addition, it leads to shared family time and improved relationships.  Plus time to catch up on sleep, to breathe and to laugh.

Health Net cites that vacation actually decreases risk of heart disease, depression and stress. 

And a Forbes article shows how taking vacation will even help the economy.  Come on patriots support your country! 

Not convinced?  You can read about some more health benefits here.

So if you are one of those folks who is hesitant to take time off because “there’s too much to do” or you’re afraid of what you’ll come back to, I implore you to reconsider.  Life is too short, and you mean too much to me to waste it.  If you haven’t already, please spend 20 minutes planning a vacation.  Even a long weekend staycation will do!

Please share some photos, and if you are one of those post vacation blues sufferers you can try these tips for getting over them.

You never know – you may instead experience PVO.

I’m already planning next year’s trip with another nephew.  I can’t wait!

Happily yours,

Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™