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Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Relaxing can be hard work

Do you find yourself on vacation lying on the beach, and all you can think about are the emails you are missing, or the projects that are piling up on your desk at work? Are you trying to focus on relaxing, but you are just getting more and more tense being away from the think you thought you hated—work! Tonight we’ll look at vacation-ational dysfunction and why it’s so hard to detach.

You talk about vacation-ational dysfunction. Tell us more about that?
• Well, first of all this is a term I created, but research from an Expedia survey showed that 53% of Americans say they come back from vacation rejuvenated.
• 30% say they have trouble on vacation dealing with work stress while they are away
• Many come back more exhausted than when they left for vacation
• Others say they are hooked into their blackberries and iphones so that colleagues and co-workers don’t know they are gone.
• Researchers are now saying that being in communication with the office is less stressful than not being connected

What can happen when people have trouble disconnecting with work?

• Studies show that some people suffer from “leisure sickness” and experience fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and muscle pain according to a 2002 survey from the Netherlands. Survey shows that 3% of the population suffers with these symptoms
• Weekend headaches account for 1/3 of all migraines and 1/6 of all tension headaches
• 19% of people say they cancel their vacations due to work concerns and pressure
• People get addicted to the adrenaline rush at work and can’t relax when they don’t get that fix of pressure.

So what are some suggestions for those who suffer from vacation-ational dysfunction?
• Go ahead and check in with the office, but limit your time to only one hour maximum
• “Just going with the flow” is hard for over-achievers. Have some sort of plan for your vacation time, but try to be flexible if you are not enjoying your activity
• Get physical and get those endorphins working. Exercise will help you cope with the “withdrawal” of focusing on work
• Create a “buffer time segment.” Don’t work right up to the time you hop on the plane or the moment you return. The pressure before and after only makes you more stressful and makes it harder to enjoy the actual vacation
• They can handle it. Trust your co-workers and tell them you will be on vacation and the limits under which you want to be contacted at work
• Practice being in the now. Mindfully focus on this moment and nothing else. Try to keep your thoughts on your vacation and being with others you love—it will be a huge difference

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