I fell deeply in love with Canada. In fact, I’d say that whole trip put a new spark in my life. It’s amazing how traveling can inspire you, open your eyes to new things and just break up the routine in a healthy way.
On this trip for example I found the inspiration to start training for the perfect (in my mind) half marathon. This is a trail half with only around a hundred people in a beautiful location (an island off the coast of Vancouver) that requires you to bring your own water bottle (so less trash!!) and is mostly downhill the second half! I hope I have time to train for it. It’s at the beginning of Sept so I’ll be cutting it close.
The trip also inspired me to find a way to work from Canada for a month next year.
It’s Time for a Change 💗
It seems that everything in the US is depressing right now. We are living in a time when we need to honor and respect, even LOVE each other, no matter how different our values are.
I’m returning home on the back of the shooting in Highland Park. My heart just broke when I heard the news. Highland Park holds special memories for me. From my first date with my now ex-husband to outdoor concerts in Ravinia where we would sit on the grass with our wine and cheese listening to the sounds of Michelle Shocked (remember her??) and Los Lobos. It is a quaint town that always seemed so safe.
Our country needs change. As a people, it’s time we take a stand and start using our voices to preach kindness and love, and our actions to mirror the same. I like to think of it as every single person on the plant has a piece of the truth. If someone’s views are different from mine, say they believe the Earth is flat, there may be an aspect of the truth that they are bringing to the table that I haven’t yet thought of. It doesn’t mean that they are WRONG. They just have a different piece of the puzzle. They’re piece might fit in on the opposite side of the puzzle and doesn’t look anything like my piece, but we still need that piece to make the whole.
But Why Canada? 🦫
Canada was refreshing. It allowed me the time to get away from this constant barrage of bad news. It allowed me time to reflect on the value of humanity, and my purpose in the world.
Don’t get me wrong. No place is “perfect”… Canada has their problems, but they seem to be less. The nation comes together through protests, hearing the concerns of their constituents, and issues at hand. They are like a family that has conflict but everyone still speaks to each other, cares for each other and socializes on the holidays. Sure, they might not like Uncle Bob and Aunt Patty is an alcoholic, but they are family.
The US is more like the dysfunctional family where everyone is toxic!
Going to Canada on vacation was like spending the holidays with a new family, maybe slightly less crazy, and a refreshing escape from all the drama!
The Truth… ✨
The truth is I needed a vacation.
Here in America, over 30% of Americans don’t regularly take vacations, and slightly less have ever been on a 2-week vacation in their lives. Americans are addicted to work, and we have been named the “No Vacation Nation” by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
This is not good.
Here are 6 reasons to take a vacation:
A study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group found that professionals who were required to take time off were significantly more productive than those who spent more time working. In addition, employees report tasks they have to complete as part of their job are less effortful after vacation compared to before vacation.
But think about this in your own life. Are you more productive after you come back from vacation? I haven’t been yet, but it’s just because I got back 2 days ago. You need to give yourself time to integrate before that good ole productivity can kick in.
Improve Physical Health
There are some pretty profound statistics to support that taking vacations really improves your health!
A recent study by the World Health Organization found that working more than 55 hours per week was associated with a 35% increase in stroke and 17% increase in dying from heart disease. Another study found that vacations actually reduce the risk of heart disease. The study tracked subjects over a nine-year period and found a positive correlation between more frequent vacations and longer, healthier lives. They didn’t distinguish between great vacations and ho hum ones, just any old vacation will do apparently!
Men who didn’t take a vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to have heart attacks. This same study found that skipping vacation for just one year could increase your risk of heart disease…just ONE YEAR! I’m looking at you 2020!
Mindfulness is your ability to be fully present in the moment without judgment.
When you’re on vacation it forces you to get out of “autopilot.” You feel more present and stimulated. Everything around you is new. According to research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology meditation and vacation actually have overlapping positive effects. Both are associated with higher levels of well-being and increased focus on the present moment.
Now how about that?? If you’ve been a little lax on your meditation practice you have a fun alternative! But get back on it ASAP! No excuses! LOL
The stress of work and daily life raises hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and puts us into a state of “fight or flight.” This is helpful in the short term to deal with immediate threats but most of us have lives that keep us in this constant state of stress overload and chronic stress can have real impact on your health.
A study released by the American Psychological Association concluded that time off from work and normal life helps people to clear out the deleterious impact of stress and to increase our ability to shift into “rest and digest” mode more easily. Our body’s “rest and digest” mode is where healing can really occur. Feeling relaxed and in a positive mood state is correlated with better outcomes in all areas of life, so taking a vacation really is the ticket to a healthier, happier life.
Boost Creativity and Brain Power
Letting your brain have some down time really helps increase your capacity to learn and think creatively. This is why you tend to have your best ideas in the shower or while taking a walk. This is why it’s so important not to take work with you on vacation. It’s important to give your brain a true rest. This is why I chose not to blog over the past month or so. I really wanted to give my brain the break it needed to come back really jazzed about writing again! I notice a real difference in my sessions with clients this week too. They tend to be more deep and meaningful when I’ve had time off to really rest.
Studies out of the Columbia Business School suggest a link between travel and cognitive flexibility. And it’s cognitive flexibility that we desperately need in this country in order to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. It’s a skill a lot of us have really lost, apparently, as evidenced strongly by the disturbing events happening in our country right now.
Do you ever feel like your life is Groundhog Day? You wake up and it’s the same thing over and over again and you can’t get out of it? That’s burnout! You feel run down, mentally exhausted…like you just can’t go on. Vacation time has been shown to decrease this feeling of mental burnout and exhaustion. I would also encourage you to dive deeper into how you got burnt out in the first place. I know for me, it’s that I need to recommit to a daily and weekly self care routine. When demands get high it’s much harder to do this. But having boundaries with work, even if that work is raising your kids, is the ticket to not getting to this point of burnout, which can have huge negative consequences for your health.
While I do love Canada, there is no place like home. This vacation inspired me to make a plan for my next vacation. Let’s get inspired and plan our next vacation getaway!
I would love to hear from you, and know where your perfect vacation spot is?