National Plan for Vacation Day – I had no idea there was even such a thing???

So, I did some digging. It looks like this day (the last Tuesday in January) was launched in 2017 by the U.S. Travel Associations Project: Time Off Initiative, and then identified for annual observation starting in 2018. Whew! Seeing the years 2017 and 2018 in the mix of my digging helps me feel better; I’m only behind a year or two…in theory.

The truth is, I’ve rarely known of and planned for our year’s vacation days in January. There are a lot of reasons for this including variables that are unknown, the developing timing of tasks for different projects, finances, and the plain and simple fact that I simply never thought to do it. Now that it’s a day…an “official” day…it’s got me thinking about some connected benefits.

Benefit One: The Power of Reflection

Taking time to reflect on the previous year’s vacation(s) and time off can help ensure we stop to think, notice, and make connections between our vacation time and values. I have also been exploring with clients and within my family the difference between “wants” and “needs.” This can be tough…even for big people (a.k.a. adults). I find it’s not just young children who struggle with pulling these things apart sometimes. Taking time to sort out what a vacation represents in terms of “wants” and “needs” feels important.

Benefit Two: Create and Nurture Plans (and Dreams)

A study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, 2010, highlighted that being on your vacation is not always the happiest part. Planning for and/or anticipating your trip can actually bring pre-trip happiness as you look forward to the pleasant times ahead. The authors of the study also shared that post-vacation happiness was experienced only if the trip was relaxing. Hmmm…for some of us, this may mean creating an extra plan that includes specific ways to relax and definitely considering “un-plugging”. The author of The Happiness Track found that 41% of Americans that actually do take vacation are still plugged into work while away. Gulp!

Benefit Three: Keep Eyes Open Each Day

Seeing ourselves on vacation can act as more of an escape. Messy minds can create a lot of noise and we can find ourselves longing for days of relaxation, calm, connection, warmth, and fun. This next benefit isn’t new…it’s a known, it’s a given…yet, it can be hard to make happen. So, I’ve decided that today is not just National Plan for Vacation Day, but it’s also Start Again to Celebrate Today Day. What is this about, you ask? It’s like Hailey Bartholomew’s 365-day gratefulness project, but closer to more of a 336-day gratefulness project. I musn’t just focus on and plan for a next vacation. Notice and look differently. Pay attention to what is already here and happening in real time.

Where do I go from here?

I know there are additional benefits that I could (notice I didn’t write should here…I’m learning) identify and come back to. For now, I am holding tight to a couple of steps as my guiding word of the year, grounded, has me quite busy. And, I want to make sure I don’t just talk and write about things (knowing stuff), but do and be these things, as well.

  1. Take time to think about what vacation(s) and time off have brought to me/our family. (Keep your eyes open for a vacation timeline resource – I promise before 2020’s National Plan for Vacation Day!
  2. Announce Start Again to Celebrate Today Day! Identify 1 thing each day that I am grateful for during the next 336 days. Take a photo of the thing I am grateful for (when possible) and use my newly designed planning page (located in Growing Deep, Not Just Tall here) to help bring things to life!