I just returned home from a week long stay in Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico with two of my best friends and we had the most fabulous time full of laughter, sun, & bottomless mimosas. We all three share similar struggles as our first year out of college continues to roll along, and we can't believe how blessed we all are to be able to get away from our jobs for a week to simply unplug and have some fun in the sun!
We had an incredible 5 night stay at Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda in Playa Del Carmen which was an absolute dream. We woke up each morning to the wind & the waves blowing through the air, before being greeted with mimosas by our favorite server, Ruperta, as we sat down for breakfast. Each day we walked from our snug little hotel room that sat approximately 30 feet from the beach, and we began our day-long descent into lounging on a beach chair- romance novels in hand. We attended different shows every night after eating at a different themed restaurant (Italian obviously being my favorite), as we chit-chatted over glasses of champagne. We watched choreographed dance numbers to Mexican salsas, Vegas-style rumbas, and even a Michael Jackson tribute. We drank ice cold mojitos in the blazing hot sun, and laughed until we cried while making memories that will last a lifetime.
I am so fortunate to have a job that allows vacation time, and I'm so blessed to work alongside such amazing employees that were so helpful during my absence. Although I am slightly dreading my alarm clock going off signifying that Monday morning has arrived, I feel refreshed and energized to start a new season at work!
Upon packing my bags for Mexico, I had a guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach that accompanied my excited butterflies. I was so ready to take a week long getaway with my girlfriends, but I also felt as if I was in the wrong somehow- taking a vacation when I should be working. It wasn't until I returned home that I realized feeling guilty about taking a vacation is just plain silly, and in all actuality- the only ones who should be feeling guilty are the ones who don't take vacations.
I felt it was imperative that I share why taking a vacation should not only be encouraged, but also commended! Here's a couple things to consider while you're pondering whether or not to book that flight: (Hint: do it!)
1. Taking a vacation can help you maintain focus
Some of us (me) may have a bit of clouded judgement by believing that we won't be as successful if we take time off, or we won't advance in our career as quickly as we would if we just worked straight through all of our allotted personal days. I can certainly get ahead if I come in early and stay late every day, right? Wrong. Your mind & your body need a break, and it's foolish if you don't give yourself one.
Studies actually show that taking a vacation can increase your workday productivity. It sounds a little confusing- not working for a week, and then coming back more energized than ever? But it's true. By taking time off from work to focus on your health and happiness, it's almost like pressing a refresh button. It's important to unplug every once in a while, because it allows you to recharge your mind and feel rested from the stresses that the everyday-routine can undoubtedly force upon us.
I'm hoping to form good habits early on in my career, and there is one belief that I hope sticks with me all throughout:
You can be successful & happy without having to give one or the other up.
2. Taking time off helps give you a positive outlook
If there's one thing that I'm learning very quickly during this first year in the real-world, it's that not making an effort to do what makes you happy can affect you in all areas of your life- not just what you do at work. Having a bad day, week, or even month at work can be pretty damaging to your relationships, self-care routines, and your mental health overall. Taking time off from the hustle & bustle of everyday life can significantly increase your positive thoughts, and in turn- recharge your soul.
Spending time under the sun with the warm breeze flowing through my hair, I never felt more at ease. Sure, I came home to over 100 emails waiting patiently in my inbox but that was the very last thing on my mind as I sat in the sand. I would breathe in the salty air, and look up into the blue skies that stretched for miles thanking God for this beautiful life that I am so blessed to live. I have a newfound gratitude for my happy heart, and taking a step back from my normally busy life was exactly what my mind needed. R&R is so important for our bodies, but let us not forget that it is just as- if not more so- important for our souls.
"Do Not Disturb" Floppy Hat (similar): AliExpress
3. Taking time for yourself helps you step back and see what's really important
It's so easy to get caught up in your daily routine, and forget what it is that makes you tick. Despite spending a third of our day at our desks, it's so important to never forget that we should maintain our focus on all that life has to offer.
You should never feel guilty for taking time for yourself, whether that relates to your job, your relationships, your friendships, or whatever.
Funny how we can give every last bit that we have to our job, friends, or significant other- and at the end of the day, we have nothing left for ourselves. Shouldn't self-care be at the top of our list? Whether you're headed to a tropical island or are going to the next town over for a quiet week at an Inn, you deserve it.
Just let go. Let your hair down. Live a little!
Who cares if we had a bad day at the office? Who cares if a co-worker is getting on our nerves? Who cares if something didn't go our way?
The glorious thing about work is that you don't have to let it consume you! The choice is all yours. When you leave the office at 5PM, close your laptop and don't open it until the morning. When you get home at night, open a bottle of your favorite Shiraz, and call your girlfriends for build-your-own pizza night. Turn off your email notifications while you're out to Sunday brunch. It can all wait. Your health, happiness, and sanity? It cannot.
Throughout this past year of immersing myself in work, I've learned so much more than I even imagined possible- including the near-frightening revelation that I may actually be addicted to getting things done. Crossing items off my to-do list, finishing a major task, and clinging on to that sweet feeling of success upon doing a good job is kind of like my drug. However I'm making the conscious decision early on in my professional career to never forget to take time for myself. No job is ever going to be more important than taking care of yourself, and that my friends is why me and the girls are already planning next year's getaway!
Don't sweat the small stuff, seriously. There are way too many adventures awaiting you, so don't let the everyday drab interfere with your life in the fab lane.