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Common Vacation Myths

1 December 2010

A myth has been defined as a fiction that sounds like a truth. Here are four common myths surrounding taking a vacation.

Myth #1: I don’t have time to take a break.
Truth: You can’t afford not to.

According to Dr. Gary Roberts in “Absence Proof the Workplace,” 69% of respondents in a recent American Psychological Association life stress survey say that they experience serious job stress. In a similar poll from 2007, nearly 1 in 5 respondents said they experience high levels of stress 15 or more days per month. The poll also found that one-third of the U.S. population experience extreme levels of stress on a regular basis.

What’s wrong with all this stress? According to Roberts, serious stress can lead to costly physical and mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, cardiovascular problems and compromised immune systems.

The best way to combat stress is to take care of yourself. Eat right, exercise, get a good night’s sleep and stay hydrated. Taking regular breaks at work and from work also contributes significantly to general well-being and builds up your immune system.

Myth #2: My colleagues (or dependents) can’t make it without me.
Truth: You’re afraid they’ll find out they can.

A vacation from work is a boundary you set with your job and your colleagues that shows you care about yourself and your family more than the status, prestige or additional income you may get from overworking and showing sacrificial commitment to your job. It shows that you are not defined by what you do. You have different priorities from your non-Christian counterparts.

Is that being selfish? Cloud and Townsend in their foundational work Boundaries note that there is a difference between selfishness and stewardship and that “appropriate boundaries actually increase our ability to care about others.” We are responsible to God for how we use the time and resources, even mental resources, he gives us.

Taking a vacation is good stewardship of the body and mind God has given you. God himself gave us the example of resting from our labor.

Myth #3: Vacations are too expensive.
Truth: You don’t have to go far, you just have to be gone completely.

Tip 1: Plan and budget. Even if it’s just a family weekend away, put a little money away each week or each month towards your vacation and set ground rules about spending before you go. 

Tip 2: Pull the plug. A general rule should be that if it has an on/off button, leave it at home or switch it off. This rule applies to both adults and children. If going “cold turkey” is not an option, set ground rules before you leave concerning times for checking email and for using electronic devices.

Myth #4: We’ll never agree on where to go.
Truth: With all the resources at your disposal, the possibilities for consensus are virtually endless.

Take advantage of the hundreds of websites that provide travel options for singles, families, retirees, and every demographic you can imagine. Instead of the usual options of a cruise or resort, consider renting a cottage in England or taking a family mission trip.

Even the worst vacation will eventually be only a memory. I remember my childhood family vacation to Disneyworld with fondness now even though at the time my sisters and I argued and fought over everything. My poor, brave parents.

In Conclusion

According to the International Labor Office, workers in the United States put in more than 1,800 hours on the job a year: 350 hours more than the Germans and slightly more than the Japanese. It’s time for us to put under the microscope what we call the “protestant work ethic” and make sure it’s not just an excuse for workaholism or consumerism.

Give yourself a break: take a vacation!

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2 Comments to “Common Vacation Myths”

  1. My German friends are appalled that most Americans only get 2 weeks a year off of work. It seems that two months is more typical here! And all the shops are closed on Sundays! I think we could learn a lot from the European model…

  2. I don’t remember any fighting…must have been the other two! 🙂

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