Tune Out; Drop Out; Stay Out!

Essential for mental and physical well being.

HarmonyWhere oh where did summertime go?  So much for the lazy, hazy days of summer that the song espoused.  As I write this it is mid-August and school supplies are being promoted as are all the related back to school sales.  When I was growing up school started after Labor Day.  Now it begins in mid-August in North Carolina where I live.  Vacation time is cut short.

I recently returned from vacation.  Fortunately I have a terrific assistant – thank you Joyce – who enables me to leave and not think about work too much while I’m gone.  Leaving the country really helps me relax – I can disconnect from technology.  No email or internet access helps me relax.  When you own your own business this is important.  I admit, when vacationing in this country I am still tempted – and do often succumb – to checking email at least once a day.  Maybe this is the extra rational I need to take a cruise or go far out of my time zone?

Why has this practice of staying plugged in become the norm?  Remember when there was no internet, no email and we had hard wired phones?  No it wasn’t when dinosaurs roamed the earth!  It was in the 80’s!  What toll does being constantly connected take on us as human beings?  I think many of us have forgotten how to relax, or we feel some guilt when we do tune out.  Sad, really.  No doubt you have seen the medical reports and studies that say we Americans are over stressed and therefore are manifesting physical ailments due to stress related diseases.  Scary.

Friends of mine in corporate America discuss how many of their co-workers constantly log-in to read their work email and will even call the office to check on various things while they are supposed to be away on vacation.  Most of my friends find this behavior strange.  I do too.  What is the point of being on vacation if you aren’t able to unplug from work?  I wonder if these employees are afraid for their jobs, insecure, or perhaps they don’t have a real life outside the work environment.  What I know for sure is that these folks can’t possibly return to work after vacation feeling rested and refreshed!

How do you deal with unplugging from work?  Do you take a real break on the weekend?  Do you use up your allotted vacation days each year?  Statistics tell us that American workers tend not to use all their vacation time.  Do you feel guilty when you sit down to read a book, magazine or to just do nothing?  I hear the word “guilt” mentioned by many when discussing why they don’t take advantage of true ‘free time’.

What I do know is that we need to chill out from time to time.  Relaxing in ways that really afford us personal stress free time recharges our batteries.  Recharging makes us better employees, better friends, better parents and so forth.  Remember, for most of us, if we died tomorrow, there would still be work waiting at the office no matter how late we worked the day before!

Chillax – my new word combining chill out and relax, or take a nap!  Relax!  It’s a smart strategy for life, financial or otherwise.

About Sara Seasholtz

Sara Seasholtz, CFP®, was voted one of "50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte" by The Mecklenburg Times in 2011, and she's been a trusted financial advisor to her clients for over 30 years. Have a financial question?ASK SARA!

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