Why I Need a Vacation

| by Staci Barfield

I’m going on vacation next week – YIPPEE! It’s not anywhere fancy, just the beach (though the North Carolina coast is pretty incredible), but this will be the first time I have taken off more than two continuous business days in a year. And I am pretty darn excited. Each year, a group of friends and I celebrate the end of summer with a weeklong beach vacation where all professional (and some personal) responsibilities are checked at the door. No work emails, no work calls, no work period.

And I am already stressed about it…

What if my clients need something?
What if I can’t finish this project before the trip?
What if my dog doesn’t like his new sitter?
What if…? What if…? What if?

Really, what all these questions tell me is that I NEED this vacation.

A little over a year ago I wrote a blog post titled The Case for Taking a Break. In it, I argued for self-care in the form of time off. Yet here I am with building anxiety about taking my own advice. So, I have to keep reminding myself of all the reasons going away will not only be better for me, but also for my clients (and probably even my dog, Banjo):

  • I will be better for my clients when I am rested. Focus requires energy. Energy requires replenishment. Replenishment requires rest.
  • A change of scenery will bolster my creativity. The challenges faced by nonprofit leaders are new and different and I need to bring my A-game to help them think outside the box.
  • Time off has been proven to have significant physical and mental health benefits. I’m no good to anyone (or Banjo) if I willfully allow my mind or body to deteriorate.
  • Last year was hard…and we gave each other grace to get through it. This year has been hard, too – maybe even more difficult than before. But (in my opinion) we’re not giving ourselves or one another the same kindness and understanding shown so generously last year. After working a full year with only minor breaks, I need to give myself that grace.

Have you taken a real vacation this year? It doesn’t have to include travel, but it certainly should not include work. If not, think about giving yourself a break soon. You, your clients, your team, your family, and maybe even your dog will be better for it.

[Need more proof? Read Why Taking Vacation Time Could Save Your Life.]


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