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How to get the most out of your career vacation

Sonal Mishra
20th Nov 2016
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See you in a week! A stress, work and target-free week, where you can pamper yourself, unwind, rejuvenate and just relax! Isn’t this the best feeling in the world? The feeling of relaxation?

But wait! Did you know that an average employee uses only half of his or her allotted vacation time? If you are a professional in today’s corporate ecosystem, the odds are high that you haven’t taken a vacation for a while. That’s a shame! “During holidays, health and well-being increase quite rapidly, often just two days into a vacation,” said Jessica de Bloom, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Tampere in Finland, in an article published in WSJ.

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You work hard all year round. Sometimes, a weekend off doesn't seem enough to recover from the accumulated stress. This is when the idea of taking a vacation seeps into your mind. If you want to maintain your high performance, taking a vacation, once in a year, is highly recommended by psychologists and therapists around the world.

Vacations are the magical rejuvenation packages that our body and mind require from time to time. It’s a healthy way to come back to work more focused. But there are times when you might want to take a longer hiatus from work, to deal with what workplace stress has done to you. Such a career vacation can work wonders for you, even if you are just taking a long break to figure out where you stand in life or if you are making a career switch.

Read on to find out how you can make the most out of those prized, long vacations.

Personal Growth

Your career is important, but so is your personal development. A lot of people stop exploring and learning new things in life because of the daily grind. After all, how much can you push yourself in a day? And weekends are more about preparing the mind and body for the hectic week to come. Vacations are great way to give yourself a break from work and open the way to explore personal pursuits; these could be anything, ranging from pursuing your hobbies to reading books or spending some quality time with family. A career vacation can make you meet a part of yourself that you didn’t know existed. This break is a chance for you to take up activities that can help you grow personally as well as spiritually. Explore nature, learn about art, attend plays, be a part of community meetings - in short, do anything that is not related to your work.

Relax and Detach

A vacation to relax? Dare to unplug from the virtual world! At first, it might seem like an impossible thing to do, but with sheer dedication, two days into the no-gadget vacation, you’ll realise how peaceful your surroundings have become.

Detach from your work life. Stop stressing about your work and deadlines. Trust me, there’s nothing important that you’ll be missing in a span of five to eight days. And in case of emergencies, your colleagues would get in touch with you. So, until you get that emergency call, take a deep breath, empty your mind and simply enjoy the sun shining on your shoulders.

Boost your creativity

The moment you detach, you can attempt to look at your life from a fresh perspective. Take up an activity that triggers your creative mind. It can be as simple as writing about your experience or reviewing a random piece of music that you heard during your journey. Love to cook, but never got the time to learn about new cuisines? A vacation could just be the perfect time. You can easily find culinary classes nearby and enroll for a crash course to learn a few new dishes.

Engage the creative part of your brain, and walk this new path. You will stumble around the corners, but learn to make obstacles your friends. You will get your creative thinking abilities on point, while, at the same time, getting better at analysis and execution. With a new outlook, you will be able to generate ideas as to what you want to do with the next phase of your life. According to Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, “As an entrepreneur or business leader, if you didn't come back from your vacation with some ideas about how to shake things up, it's time to consider making some changes.” We couldn't agree more!

Get that bucket list out

Don’t we all have our own secret bucket list? Vacation is a time when you can actually start living your dreams, achieve your goals and satisfy your desires. Sadly, with so much social pressure and stress for pursuing career goals, somewhere down the line, we tend to forget about that bucket list that we hid in the most isolated corner of our closet. You visit it once in a while, but only as a memory and with regret that you couldn’t come around to make it really happen. Now is the time. Get that list out and start striking off the entries one by one.

Taking a vacation has its own benefits, but remember that it is not often that you come up with something grand and life changing. Not everyone experiences an epiphany and comes back with a groundbreaking idea to change his/her whole life. But remember to bring a small bit of the vacation back home so that you can move further with greater enthusiasm and a better perspective on life. Go ahead, hit that reset button and enjoy the adventure to come.

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