Travel: Recharge Your Batteries
It’s September already! The kids are back to school. The days are getting shorter. The pace of business has picked up, as everyone returns from vacation and drives hard for year-end goals. It’s an intense time of year.
But I’m still scratching mosquito bites and there’s a tent in my living room. You see, I just came back from camping at Stokes State Forest in upstate New Jersey. Research shows that taking a break is good for employees and I chose to do just that by roughing it.
I hadn’t been camping since I was a kid. I used to love it, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve opted for room service over warnings about bears. But my daughter loves being outdoors, so we borrowed a tent and packed up the Subaru with a cooler full of hot dogs and fresh Jersey corn on the cob. We set up our campsite next to a trout-stocked lake, under the shade of tall pine trees. Pretty idyllic really…
Our schedule was dictated by the rising and setting sun. And our days were filled with hiking in High Point State Park (you can see NY, NJ, and PA stretching out in all directions!) and at Bushkill Falls. Only able to charge our phones in the car, we minimized smartphone time and read real paper books, often by flashlight, snuggled up in sleeping bags.
It’s funny how the days stretch out when you don’t have any big plans or deadlines. It put me in touch with some really basic things I care about: time with my family, time in the sunshine, and time to just stop the rushing and planning. I admit that I spent an inordinate amount of each day sitting in a lawn chair, poking a fire with a stick, and I think it did me a lot of good.
It was not only a nice break, but it also helped me to recharge for the fall season. I feel less stressed and more focused. Apparently, I’m not alone. In her Forbes article, Yes, Travel Is Extraordinarily Good For You: Experts Show How And Why, Lea Lane writes, “Even after vacationing only a day or two, 89 percent of people are able to relax and leave work stressors behind.” What’s more, “Travel promotes brain health and builds brain resilience. Anytime you’re placed in a new environment your senses, your powers of observation, and your focus intensify. And getting away gives you a chance to clear your mind and put problems in better perspective. Burn-out is less likely when you prioritize travel.”
Travel is good for you. And healthier, less stressed employees are good for business. Companies can leverage that mutual benefit by offering travel incentives and rewards, as well as making it clear that it’s okay to take vacation. After all, it’s better for everyone for employees to be focused and energized, with a true sense of well-being. Maybe travel should be part of corporate wellness programs.
As for us, my husband and I are back at work. My daughter is back in school. We all feel a little healthier and more relaxed. We’ve cleared out the cobwebs and are ready to tackle new challenges. I think we’re going to buy a tent…