It has always amazed me: the number of people who work throughout the year in a single job and do not avail themselves of earned vacation time. Through my years of corporate and other jobs, I had colleagues who would take a few Fridays off during the summer, or add a day or two on to a July 4th or Labor Day holiday, and that was it – leaving sometimes three weeks of vacation days unused and lost when not taken.
Summer is not the only time to take a vacation. Many people prefer fall vacations, and others prefer winter. However, I advocate taking a length of days away from one’s place of employment for the purpose of renewal and to become refreshed so that one can have a new perspective upon returning.
Granted, we are in a time when people are working multiple jobs, are covering for positions that have been eliminated, or have limited funds to enable them the luxury of doing much in the way of recreation. Here are some activities that are simple, inexpensive, and possibly free:
· Take a long walk in a park or countryside. Pause to examine the flowers, leaves, trees, and insects, up close. Take such a walk alone, in silence – without ear buds for music, and without the cell phone on.
· Create a picnic breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Have it in a park, yard, or meadow. Use lovely linens, dishes, glasses, flowers and make it fit for a king or queen. Do this for a party of 1 or for a friend(s).
· Open the windows of your house or apartment and listen to the birds chirp, to the sounds of the insects, and feel the breeze. Play soothing soft music.
· Begin a journal and make entries about your activities and feelings. Paste small photos, magazine photos, and memorabilia in it.
· Spend a morning or afternoon looking through a magazine, old photos, or picture book.
· Spend time in a library or bookstore browsing through books and magazines.
· Take a day excursion bus ride to a place of interest. Bus companies offer packages that include bus fare, entrance fee, meal, and guided tour. This way, you are carefree and do not have to drive.
· Spend an hour or more in an art store or hobby store. Browse and handle the merchandise.
· Treat yourself to a free afternoon or evening outdoor concert sponsored by your local band or municipal park and recreation department. Bring a lawn chair.
· Do something you have never done. Go somewhere you have never gone. Cook something you have never cooked. Eat something you have never eaten.
· Go to a toy store. Spend 1 hour browsing and playing with the toys. Buy yourself one item such as a ball, jacks, bubbles, or whatever strikes your fancy. Come home and play with it.
· Spend 1 hour in a fabric store or store where there are samples of textiles for interior decorating or upholstery. Spend time looking at patterns, feeling the textures between your fingers, and enjoying the colors.
When you return to work, see what you can retain in how you conduct your day.
© Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010