Why family vacation is important
Family vacation. Talk about two words that can strike fear in the hearts of many parents who have had their share of “Griswold-worthy” family holidays where they were plagued with continual disasters in their attempts to have THE best vacation ever. (Do you remember those hilarious National Lampoon movies?!) And then there are parents who enjoy nothing but warm fuzzy memories of camping with their kids, conveniently able to block out the sunburns, mosquitoes and torrential downpours!
We’ve experienced the good, the bad and the ugly on our family vacations. But funny enough I wouldn’t change any of them, warts and all. It’s our opportunity to reconnect with each other, to break bread together, to play, to rest and when a “snafu” arises, we band together to make the best of a bad situation.
365 days fly by with one day blurring into the next, and each is filled with those responsibilities and routines often referred to as the “rat race”. Taking two weeks out of the year to reconnect with family and recharge your batteries so you can take on the world again is a necessity rather than a luxury, and it seems now more than ever.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in four Canadians work 50 hours or more per week compared to only one in ten a mere decade ago. Families are overburdened and stressed trying to meet their daily obligations with no time to catch their breath. On a recent flight the stewardess instructed us that in case of an emergency to apply our own oxygen mask first, before helping others. The same holds true in life; we can’t help our loved ones if we don’t take care of ourselves first.
Vacations are powerful. They can stave off burnout, allow you to rejuvenate your mind, spirit and body, and help you reconnect with your family. Sometimes we just need to rebel against the rat race and walk away from the cell phone and laptop and just smell the roses. What a great gift to give your children and spouse – your undivided attention. And there’s no better feeling than being able to capture a photo of your child’s impressive handstand in the pool because you were there to actually see it.
Recently a Denver software provider offered its employees $7,500 to take a vacation! NO I’m not pulling your leg. They encouraged their employees to go off the technology grid completely (no texting, email or phone), and NO working at all so they could fully disconnect, unplug and enjoy their time away from work. The generous bonus they provided was to ensure they actually got out of town for a change of scenery, with their family in tow. Wow!
Savvy employers like this one are fast figuring out that encouraging their employees to have a balanced work-life is key to their success. Clearly not all companies can be so generous, but those who encourage their employees to use their allotted vacation time often see employees return with a renewed sense of drive and productivity. And happy rewarded employees spread the word and attract other employees and in the end, employers benefit by having the “cream of the crop” to pick from.
A family vacation doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive; it’s about the time spent together that really strengthens family ties, and creates a wonderful sense of security and bonding. And in turn, strong families make for strong communities and workplaces.
Memories made on a family vacation are the building blocks for a happy and successful future. In my experience, our family vacations have had pretty long lasting impact on all areas of our lives, long after the pictures are put away in the scrapbook.